What are the symptoms of the catarrhal phase (stage 1) pertussis (whooping cough)?

Updated: May 02, 2019
  • Author: Joseph J Bocka, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

The initial (catarrhal) phase is indistinguishable from common upper respiratory infections. It includes nasal congestion, rhinorrhea, and sneezing, variably accompanied by low-grade fever, tearing, and conjunctival suffusion. Pertussis is most infectious when patients are in the catarrhal phase, but pertussis may remain communicable for 3 or more weeks after the onset of cough.


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