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The pathology of pertussis has long been in doubt; this is well shown by its varied and uncertain therapeutics. The definition of the malady is usually based upon its most prominent symptoms—the characteristic paroxysmal cough and consecutive whoop. The cause of this characteristic cough and whoop has never been positively located. It is said by some to be a local irritation involving the pharyngo-laryngeal space, set up by some external influence, possibly bacterial; some, that in addition the morbid irritant is absorbed through the lymphatics and blood vessels and produce a systemic febrile state, and some that it is a vague commingling of various elements, local and general, physical and nervous, and still others that its phenomena are entirely reflex. There is no doubt regarding its infectious nature, but the peculiar mode of this infection is still veiled in uncertainty. It may be from exhalations from the vomited matter or
RADCLIFFE SJ. PERTUSSIS AS A NEUROSIS.. JAMA. 1896;XXVII(17):901-902. doi:10.1001/jama.1896.02430950021002f