Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious disease that can cause a prolonged and sometimes severe cough illness. It is caused by the bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, and is found in the nose and throat of an infected person. An infected person has cough episodes that may end in vomiting or cause a "whoop" sound when the person breathes in air. Pertussis can occur at any age but severe illness is more common in infants and young children who have not been immunized.
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