• M. J. R. Gilchrist
  • C. C. LinnemannJr


The term “pertussis” refers to a clinical syndrome that begins with a catarrhal phase of 1 to 2 weeks duration, proceeds to a paroxysmal coughing phase of several weeks duration, and terminates with a convalescent phase. This term was substituted for the common terminology, whooping cough, when it was widely recognized that a whoop is not present in all cases of pertussis. With the more recent recognition that not all infections are associated with intensive cough, it is apparent that the term “pertussis”does not adequately describe the spectrum of clinical illness caused by the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis. After a number of etiologic agents (adenovirus, chlamydia, respiratory syncytial virus, and the like) were isolated from patients with the characteristic constellation of symptoms of pertussis, the term “pertussis syndrome” was coined to suggest the possibility of other etiologies. More recent studies indicate that viruses do not cause pertussis (Keller et al., 1980). The scope of this chapter encompasses the spectrum of human diseases due to the Bordetellae, to the exclusion of other agents that might cause the pertussis syndrome.


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Pertussis Toxin Ciliated Cell Pertussis Vaccine Bordetella Pertussis 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. J. R. Gilchrist
  • C. C. LinnemannJr

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