Whooping cough is transmitted by bordatella tussis. Infection is air borne after coughing. The pertussis toxin is the pathogen.
As a result of the vaccination the number of asymptomatic virus carriers increases which leads to an increased infection risk in babies (Impfen, Routine oder Individualisation, Arbeitsgruppe für differenzierte Impfungen2 Aufl. März 2000, S. 22)
After an average incubation period of 7-10 days the disease starts like a normal cough. In the following weeks, however, it gets consistently worse, mainly during the night. There are three stages of the disease:
1st stage catarrhale: An untypical cough which lasts for approx. 1-2 weeks.
2nd stage convulsivum: During this phase the typical cough starts (staccato cough), which is accompanied by vomitting. Inhalation is loud.
3rd stage decrementi: after 4-6 weeks the symptoms start to slowly disappear again.
Babies often have a different clinical pictures, but accompanied by life-threatening apnea. Whooping cough is not as dangerous for older children. Babies are at risk. The coughing fits frequently entail vomitting and therefore babies are at risk of suffocating.
Mainstream medicine treats whooping cough with antibiotics. The course of the disease however can only be influenced in a very early stage. If the antibiotics are administered later they only reduce the duration of contagion. Cortison is used for babies.
There can be middle ear infections and pneumonia. Babies should be watched carefully due to the danger of suffocation.
A timely homeopathic treatment can lower the risk of adverse effects.Immunity after the disease seems to weaken in old age as adults also contract whooping cough.