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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

California is experiencing an increase in the number of reported illnesses due to pertussis. People of all ages can become ill with pertussis and some can become very sick. Children younger than six months of age are the most vulnerable to serious illness if they develop pertussis. The most effective prevention against pertussis is vaccination. Pregnant women should receive a Tdap, the pertussis booster shot, during each pregnancy. This helps decrease the chances of a young infant being exposed to pertussis. Young infants are further protected when both parents, caregivers, siblings and healthcare workers stay up to date on pertussis vaccinations. California schools require that all students entering 7th grade provide proof of receiving Tdap. Symptoms of pertussis begin with a cough and runny nose for 1-2 weeks followed by weeks of coughing fits. Fever is not usually seen. People with symptoms should see their health care provider for testing and diagnosis.

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