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Diseases & Topics

Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

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Pertussis Monthly Report : January 1 - May 31, 2016 (PDF, 301 KB)

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a vaccine-preventable, highly contagious respiratory disease caused by bacteria. It is spread person to person, primarily through coughing and sneezing.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths that result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies under 1 year of age. If you or your child develops a cold that includes a severe cough or a cough that lasts for a long time, it may be pertussis. The best way to know is to contact your doctor.

Vaccination is the best way to protect against pertussis. There are vaccines for babies and children, pre-teens, teens and adults, especially pregnant women. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap.

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