A 6-month-old is being evaluated in the emergency department. The child appears cyanotic, has a whooping cough, and is vomiting. The nurse suspects the child has


• Pertussis or "whooping cough" is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It causes severe coughing fits (a "whooping" cough) and vomiting that can last up to 6 weeks.

• Pertussis can be prevented with the DTaP, a vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. If a patient already has pertussis, it is treated with antibiotic therapy.


• Mycoplasma pneumonia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Rickettsia do not cause a whooping cough.

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