Tuberculosis is a chronic illness characterized by slight fever, progressive weight loss, sweating at night, and chronic cough, often productive of blood-streaked sputum.

Table 23.8 Pertussis


Runny nose followed after a number of days by spasms of violent coughing; vomiting and possible convulsions

Incubation period

7 to 21 days

Causative agent

Bordetella pertussis, a tiny Gram-negative rod


Colonization of the surfaces of the upper respiratory tract and tracheobronchial system; ciliary action slowed; toxins released by B. pertussis cause death of epithelial cells and increased cAMP; fever, excessive mucus output, and a rise in the number of lymphocytes in the bloodstream result


Inhalation of infected droplets; older children and adults have mild symptoms

Prevention and treatment

Acellular vaccines, for immunization of infants and children; erythromycin, somewhat effective if given before coughing spasms start, eliminates B. pertussis

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