Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
May 13th, 2015 | by: Webmaster | Category: Diseases

image2Pertussis (“whooping cough”) is a very contagious disease that can affect persons of all ages. It is caused by a bacterium, Bordetella pertussis, and is spread through the air by respiratory droplets from a person coughing or sneezing. Persons with pertussis can have severe coughing attacks that can lasts for months. Infants too young for vaccination are at increased risk for life-threatening problems related to pertussis. Over 10,000 cases were reported in California in 2014, including 2 infant deaths.

In the beginning stages, the symptoms of pertussis may be similar to those of a common cold (runny nose, mild cough, low-grade fever) but they gradually progress over the next several weeks to fits of coughing, often accompanied by a whoop-like sound when breathing in. The cough may be so severe that it may lead to hemorrhages in the eyes and brain. Protection from pertussis through vaccination is provided by the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis) vaccine. The vaccine is usually given to children at 2, 4, 6, 15 to 18 months of age and prior entering school at 4 to 6 years of age. Tdap vaccine is recommended for adolescents and adults 11 through 64 year-olds who have not previously received it. Further, because of recent outbreaks of pertussis, the following groups should get a dose of Tdap:

  • 7- to 10-year-olds who have not had all recommended doses of DTaP
  • Adults who are going to be around infants (grandparents, healthcare personnel, day care workers), including those who are 65 years of age and older
  • All adults who have not had Tdap previously should get a dose in place of their next Td vaccine
  • Pregnant women should get one dose of Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation during each pregnancy


CA DPH Pertussis (Whooping cough) information

LA County Guidance for Providers