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Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a contagious disease that affects the respiratory tract. Historically, the very young who were not immunized against the disease became infected. However, because immunity acquired from vaccination or having the disease wanes over time, there are periodic outbreaks of the disease in infants and young and older adults.
Healthcare professionals have several important roles in caring for a patient with pertussis. In ambulatory care settings, they are often first to detect the disease, and community health nurses and other healthcare professionals provide patient care and support to the family and caregivers during the illness.
Another significant contribution made by healthcare professionals is the education of the public about the need for vaccination of adolescents and adults as well as vaccination of infants and preschoolers. Reducing the disease reservoir by vaccination will reduce pertussis outbreaks and save lives. The purpose of this course is to provide the healthcare professional with an understanding of pertussis, including its incidence, transmission, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, complications, and prevention. The course is relevant to a broad range of healthcare providers employed in public health agencies, schools, community health clinics, and such institutions as hospitals and long-term care facilities. The references and resources identified throughout the course provide additional information about pertussis.
- Describe the transmission of pertussis.
- Identify the clinical features associated with pertussis.
- Describe how a diagnosis of pertussis is determined.
- List treatment strategies for pertussis cases and their contacts.
- Recognize complications of pertussis in different age-groups.
- Describe vaccines used in the prevention of pertussis.
Eileen S. O’Neill, PhD, RN, is professor emeritus at the College of Nursing at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Her areas of expertise are pathophysiology, advanced practice nursing, and nursing inquiry. Her clinical practice area is care of the adult patient. Dr. O’Neill’s research program centers on clinical and patient decision making, including the role of technology in improving patient care. She has been published in several leading nursing journals.
- Contact hours will be awarded for up to one (1) year from the date the course is ordered, unless otherwise indicated with an expiration date.
- You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
- Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
- All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.