Pertussis Facts: What You Should Know About Whooping Cough by Dr. Heidi Renner
Pertussis (whooping cough) is caused by bacteria that attach to hair-like cilia lining the upper respiratory system. Cilia start to swell, impairing breathing. Found only in humans, it’s extremely contagious.
It’s spread by a person breathing in particles from an infected person’s cough or sneeze. Symptoms begin very similar to a cold. You may not even know you have pertussis, but are contagious. It can be deadly.
The best protection is the DTaP vaccine. Vaccines are not 100 percent, but a person who's received the vaccine, even if they get infected, typically will have less severe symptoms.