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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) 

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. People with pertussis have severe coughing attacks that can last for months. Infants too young for vaccination are at greatest risk for life-threatening cases of pertussis. Over 9,000 cases of pertussis were reported in California during 2010, the most in over 60 years, including 10 infant deaths.  Pertussis continues to circulate throughout California and the rest of the world.

Make sure that you have been vaccinated against pertussis.  Booster doses are needed throughout life because protection after pertussis vaccine or disease wears off over time.

  • Young children need five doses of DTaP (PDF) by kindergarten (ages 4-6).    
  • Students in 7th grade in California need to have met the requirement for a Tdap (PDF) booster - see http://shotsforschool.org
  • Pregnant women are recommended to receive a Tdap booster during their third trimester of each pregnancy, even if they got it before pregnancy.
  • Adults are also recommended to receive a Tdap booster, especially if they are in contact with infants or are health care workers, but most adults have not yet received Tdap.
  • Pertussis vaccination recommendations of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) are http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html 
Information For Health Professionals
Data and Surveillance
Last modified on: 7/21/2014 1:59 PM