Well, here’s a terrible bit of reporting on the whooping cough epidemic in California from local CBS News.
Infants and young children are most vulnerable to whooping cough.
Symptoms vary by age but include a cough and runny nose for one or two weeks. The cough then worsens and children may experience rapid coughing spells that end with a “whooping” sound.
In infants, symptoms may not include an apparent cough, but could include episodes in which the child’s face turns red or purple.
In adults, symptoms may include a persistent cough for several weeks.
And that’s it. Sounds pretty harmless, doesn’t it – the cough gets worse and makes a funny sound, and/or the child might turn red or purple in the face. What CBS doesn’t say is that the rapid coughing means the child can’t inhale. The cough pushes the breath out and it keeps going and it’s rapid, so the person coughing can’t breathe in. That’s bad! It’s like drowning; it’s like being suffocated or strangled; it’s terrible and can be lethal. That “whooping” sound that seems so amusing is the desperate noise the cougher makes as she finally drags in a breath with the little strength she has left. It doesn’t sound anything like a whoop to me, it’s a roughly voiced gasp rather than a whoop.
Why would they describe the disease so incompletely and misleadingly?