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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Facts About Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Whooping cough (also called pertussis), is a serious infection that spreads easily from person to person. The infection causes coughing spells that are so severe that it can be hard to breathe, eat, or sleep. Whooping cough can even lead to cracked ribs, pneumonia or hospitalization. In the past, whooping cough was kept at bay by infant and childhood immunization. It is now known that protection from childhood whooping cough vaccination wears off by the teen years. Adolescents and adults are at risk for the infection.

Experts estimate that up to one million cases of whooping cough occur each year in the United States, across all age groups.

Health officials now recommend that adults and adolescents receive a Tdap* booster vaccine to protect against whooping cough. It is especially important for those in contact with infants younger than 12 months of age. This is instead of the previously recommended Td (tetanus-diphtheria) booster

Whooping cough can be:

  • Spread before symptoms appear.
  • Passed to vulnerable infants - those who have not yet received any or all of their vaccines. For babies, complications can be severe, even deadly.
  • Tough to diagnose because early symptoms may appear like the common cold or bronchitis. The classic symptom is a "whoop" - the sound of someone gasping for breath during a bad coughing spell. But you can have the infection without the "whoop."    

    Fact:

    This serious infectious disease is on the rise in the United States, across all age groups.

    Fact:

    Protection against whooping cough from early childhood vaccines wears off. Adolescents and adults are at risk for infection.

    Fact:

    Whooping cough causes coughing spells that can affect breathing, eating and sleeping. The infection can even lead to cracked ribs and hospitalization.

    Fact:

    Adults and adolescents can spread whooping cough to young infants who have not had all their vaccines. Babies are at greatest risk for serious complications, even death.

    Fact:

    Two booster vaccines for whooping cough are now available. One can be used for adults and adolescents. The other has been approved for adolescents only.

     
    Learn more about pertussis in adults and the vaccine to prevent it.

Resources

Adolescent Vaccination Recommendation: Tdap

adolescentvaccination.org

Cocooning and Tdap Vaccination

Immunization Action Coalition

NFID Journal-Based CME: Pertussis Series

Sponsored by IDSA, NFID, PIDS, and NVPO, online activities are designed to update and discuss current knowledge, practice gaps, and challenges in the causes, treatment, and prevention of pertussis. Credit available until October/November 2014.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

CDC resources (including clinical resources, patient education tools, and outbreak information)

Preteen and Teen Vaccines

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tdap Vac Video

Indiana Immunization Coalition, Inc.

The Joint Commission Pertussis Monograph

Tos ferina (Pertusis) - Informacion para los padres

Pertussis information in Spanish for parents from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics

Whooping Cough - Also Known as Pertussis

In-depth information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) - Information for Parents

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics

Whooping Cough (2012) - 30 Seconds