JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Pertussis in young infants: a dangerous disease with non-specific signs]

Judith E Nooitgedagt, Adilia Warris, K D Djiem Liem, Louis van 't Hek, Stefanie S Henriet
Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde 2013, 157 (4): A5573
23343739
Pertussis, or whooping cough, caused by Bordetella pertussis, still occurs despite vaccination. Most of the cases occurring in adolescents and adults are mild or have a subclinical course, but these patients can be a source of transmission to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated infants. Symptoms of infant pertussis are often not specific, but pertussis can be fatal. In this article, we present one case of unvaccinated twins who each presented with initial signs of a viral respiratory disease. Within a few days, each developed rapidly progressive respiratory failure complicated by refractory pulmonary hypertension due to malignant pertussis. Both patients died eventually. It is important for paediatricians, general practitioners, midwives and gynaecologists to be alert to coughing in their patients. More efficient vaccination strategies should be discussed to prevent both the transmission of B. pertussis and the occurrence of severe and fatal pertussis in young infants.

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