Friday, April 8, 2011

Research Paper on Pertussis

Research Paper on Pertussis

The 1940s was the beginning of the end for pertussis. Both preventions and many new treatments were discovered that both eased the symptoms of the disease and sped up recovery time. In the beginning of the century a vaccine became available to prevent the disease. The 1940s saw pertussis lose its death grip on the young American children, a fact evidenced by the dearth of reports on the disease after 1949. In present-day America there are less than 4,000 reported cases of whooping cough each year and even fewer deaths, thanks to immunization. Before the vaccine was discovered, however, at least 200,000 cases of pertussis were reported every year, many of which resulted in death.


Pertussis is the disease more commonly known as Whooping cough. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. In the twentieth century, whooping cough was a common childhood disease and one of the leading causes of childhood mortality. The symptoms of pertussis include sneezing, fever, and of course, coughing. A person infected with pertussis experiences numerous and rapid coughing fits in an attempt to expel mucus from the bronchial tubes. These coughing fits are then followed by a rapid intake of air which produces a “whoop” noise that gives the disease its common name. The fits and the rapid air intake are especially violent for babies and young children and accounts for the deaths of the children. A study done by Dr. Louis A. Laurie found that children who had whooping cough before the age of two and who managed to survive still suffered ill effects. They were often mentally retarded or had slowed development. These children showed “œdefinite behavioral, intellectual, and personality changes later in life, apparently as a direct result of this affliction.”

Laurie believed that such an early case of whooping cough produced “organic lesions” in the brain, which were responsible for the developmental problems.

Methods of treating the disease in the 1940s included exposure to gas vapor, raising levels of vitamin A and providing doses of streptomycin and aureomycin. The beneficial use of gas vapors was discovered in Germany. Citizens had noticed that the air around the gas works had a soothing effect on those suffering from whopping cough. With this information, experiments were set up in the municipal gas works in Leipzig. In the gas works were

…two playrooms containing sandboxes for children filled with aluminum earth that has been used as filter for cleaning gas particularly of sulfur and aniline compounds. These are held in the sand portion of the aluminum earth the gas has passed through.

These gas vapors, or rather, the sulfur and aniline compounds did indeed seem to ease the coughing fits of pertussis sufferers and also seemed to speed their recovery.

Vitamin A was found to be very valuable in fighting whooping cough by Dr. August B. McCord and his colleagues C.P. Kastampes, B.P. Farber, and A.M. Brooks. In experiments done with rats, they found that the rats

deficient in vitamin A have little chance of survival when inoculated with whopping cough germs, while those receiving adequate amounts of the vitamin, found in cod liver oil, recover from the disease.

The doctors also discovered that the protein tryptophane had a direct affect on the levels of vitamin A found in the rats. Rats who possessed the protein retained a much higher level of the vitamin than those rats that did not.

In 1947 and then in 1949, streptomycin and aureomycin became the cures of choice. Streptomycin was first reported to be effective against whooping cough in Buffalo. Doctors even reported that if the treatment was given to the child before they began to whoop (roughly ten days after the beginning of the disease) “the disease can controlled without whooping.” Aureomycin was reported to be successful in defeating the disease after it seemed whooping cough had become resistant to streptomycin. The use of aureomycin was a big discovery because it wasn't only effective against whooping but also against other “numerous bacterial infections and those of rickettsial and virus origin”.

Treatment was a major step towards crushing whooping cough, but the best way to overcome it was never to get the disease. This was made a lot easier in 1941 when the vaccine for pertussis was combined with the diptheria toxoid. Since getting immunized against vaccine had become almost de rigueur for the American population there was definite advantage to combing the two: combining the doses' speeded up mass vaccination procedure and reduced the number of inoculations needed by a child, while giving protection against two disease hazards that are confronted at about the same age.

Another plan of treatment was to inoculate expectant mothers who had not had the disease and therefore were not immune to pertussis. Since mothers pass immunities to their offspring, the newborn babies would be protected during the very fragile first months of life until they could be vaccinated and build their own immunities. This was very important because whooping cough had such a high rate of infant mortality and “less than 30 per cent of women and about 15% per cent of babies have an immunity against this disease.” The treatments and preventions worked because by 1949 Brooklyn reported “3, 847 cases of whooping cough with twelve deaths' for the last 11 months.

The 1940s began the end of the reign of pertussis. Starting with the combination of the diphtheria and pertussis vaccines in 1941, whooping cough hit a decline that continued through to 1949. 1949 saw some of the lowest number of cases of pertussis reported and the lowest number of deaths. Research in the 1940s to fight pertussis also found ways to treat pertussis and to shorten its grasp. Thanks to the discoveries of the 1940s, pertussis is no longer the fearful epidemic it once was, thanks mainly to the vaccine which has been combined with the diphtheria and tetanus vaccines, commonly called the DPT vaccine. Even today, however, pertussis is a real threat in countries that have not been immunized. Over 300,000 people, mostly children, die of pertussis each year.

Warning!!! All free online research papers, research paper samples and example research papers on Pertussis topics are plagiarized and cannot be fully used in your high school, college or university education.

Order Custom Research Paper on Pertussis
If you need a custom research paper, research proposal, essay, dissertation, thesis paper or term paper on your topic, will write your research papers from scratch. Starting at $12/page you can order custom written papers online. We work with experienced PhD. and Master's freelance writers to help you with writing any academic papers in any subject! High quality and 100% non-plagiarized papers guaranteed!