Pertussis (Whooping cough) is a contagious respiratory illness that spreads easily from person to person. Outbreaks can occur in settings such as schools, childcare centers, hospitals or in large geographic areas. People of any age can get pertussis, however infants are at greatest risk for severe illness and death.
The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Two kinds of vaccines help protect against whooping cough, both of which also provide protection against other diseases:
Diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) vaccines
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccines
Babies and children younger than 7 years old receive DTaP, while older children and adults receive Tdap.
To learn more about these vaccines: Click Here
Information for Health Care Providers
Pertussis should be considered in children with respiratory infections and adults with persistent or violent coughs. Collect nasopharyngeal (NP) swab or nasal wash for pertussis testing via PCR or culture. Pertussis is a nationally notifiable disease and clinicians should report suspected or confirmed pertussis to the appropriate health department. Similarly, diagnostic laboratories should notify health departments of all positive pertussis laboratory results. State health departments then report confirmed and probable pertussis cases to CDC through National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System (NNDSS).