Whooping cough, or pertussis, infects babies, children and adults and looks a lot like the common cold at first — runny nose, sneezing and a mild cough or fever, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After one to two weeks, severe coughing episodes can begin and continue for weeks and even months. It is not for nothing this illness has been called the "100-day cough."
Infants are among the most vulnerable to dying from the disease. More than half of babies younger than a year with whooping cough are hospitalized.
Physicians recommend early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics. Vaccines can help prevent the disease.
— Trine Tsouderos
Whooping cough facts
Serious disease often looks like common cold at the beginning
A patient is vaccinated against whooping cough (pertussis), at a pharmacy (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)