What is Pertussis Disease (Whooping Cough)?
- Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacteria respiratory disease.
- Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent couging which often makes it hard to breathe.
- After coughing fits, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths, which result in a "whooping" sound.
- Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.
- Pertussis is a highly contagious disease and can affect up to 80% household contacts.
What are the symptoms?
- Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 5 to 10 days after you are exposed, but may not develop for as long as 3 weeks.
- First week or two, early symptoms may include:
--Subtle onset of runny nose.
--Low grade fever.
--Mild, occasional cough.
--Apnea or stop breathing when asleep.
- After 1 to 2 weeks, symptoms may include:
--Fits of many, rapid coughs followed by a high-pitched "whoop" sound.
--Throwing up during or after coughing fits.
--Very tired after coughing fits.
How does Pertussis spread?
- Pertussis is spread from person-to-person.
--Coughing and sneezing.
--Spend a lot of time near one another and share breathing space.
--Some babie get pertussis from older siblings, parents, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease.
- The best prevention for pertussis is vaccine, but no vaccine is 100% effective.
Where can I find more information?
- Ask your doctor or your local county health department.
- Email the Alabama Department of Public Heatlh, Immunization Division, at email@example.com.
- Go to cdc.gov and type 'pertussis disease' in the SEARCH box.
Who should get pertussis vaccine?
- There are 2 vaccines which protect against pertussis. DTaP for children up to 6 years of age and Tdap for people 7 years of age and older.
- People who have not been vaccinated and are in contact with a baby.
- Babies beginning at 2 months of age, followed by a total of five doses through age 4-6 years.
- Adolescents aged 11 through 18 years should receive a single Tdap.
- Adults aged 19 through 64 years should receive a single Tdap.
- Pregnant women should receive a Tdap for each pregnancy.
- Anyone who has not receivied the full five doses of pertussis vaccine.
- Either if you are exposed to pertussis and/or have the disease, you should still recieve vaccine containing pertussis.
- All adults are recommended one dose of Tdap as soon as possible, especially if pregnant or in close contact with infants.
What are the vaccine side effects and risks?
- Mild (common) problems after the vaccine may include:
--Pain, redness, and/or swelling where shot was given.
--Local reactions such as pian, redness, or swelling.
- Moderate (uncommon) problems after teh vaccine may include:
--Seizure (jerking or staring).
--Non-stop crying, for 3 hours or more.
--High fever, over 105ºF.
- Severe (very rare) problems after teh vaccine may include:
--Serious allergic reaction.
Where can I find more information?
- Ask your doctor, or local county health department.
- Email the Alabama Department of Public Health at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Go to cdc.gov and type 'pertussis vaccinee' in the SEARCH box.
- Read, print, and share our Pertussis Fast Fact Flyer to learn more about pertussis disease and vaccines.
News Release: Public Health warns of increased pertussis cases in Alabama (08/14/2017).
- General Pertussis Information
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Information for Health Professionals
- Vaccine Information Statement
Page last updated: January 26, 2018