Guillaume de Baillou (1536—1616), often called "the Sydenham of France," gave the first detailed description in his Epidemiorum et Ephemeridum Libri (duo) of an epidemic of whooping cough which occurred in 1578:

Fevers attacked children of four months, ten months, and a little older, and carried off an enormous number. Especially that common cough which is popularly called Quinta or Quintana, of which mention has been made before. The symptoms of this are severe. The lung is so irritated that in its struggle to drive out by utmost effort the cause of irritation, it can neither inspire, nor with any ease expire. The patient seems to swell up, and as if on the verge of suffocation with his breathing obstructed in midthroat. Why it is popularly called Quinta, is not altogether clear. Some think the word is a made-up term of onomatopoeic origin, from the sound and noise which they make when they cough like this. Others do not derive it from this source, but think the cough is called in Latin ‘Quintana,’ because it repeats at certain hours: and experience shows this is true, for they are free from this distress of coughing sometimes for an interval of four or five hours, then the paroxysm of coughing repeats, sometimes so distressing that blood is driven out by its violence, through nose and mouth. Very frequently the stomach empties it contents. I have never yet read any author who gives any account of this cough.1

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