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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Mother holding baby.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

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 breathes which result in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.

Pertussis Topics

Mother holding infantAbout Pertussis

Causes & transmission, signs & symptoms, complications...

Nurse with syringe and vial of medicine.Pertussis Vaccination

Information on getting vaccinated, provider resources...

Healthcare providerClinicians

Disease information, clinical features, complications, laboratory testing & case definition...

Father holding infantFast Facts

Know the facts about pertussis...

Pertussis incidence graph.Surveillance & Reporting

Reporting & surveillance, outbreaks…

School kidsOutbreaks

The primary goal of pertussis outbreak control efforts is to decrease morbidity and mortality among infants...

Test tube analysis, looking for indications of bacterial growth during a 2005 laboratory test.Laboratory

Reference lab, pathogens studied, lab resources...

Hands holding a globePertussis in Other Countries

Global overview of pertussis, resources for travelers...

Stack of booksPublications & Materials

Publications, web features, podcasts, e-Cards, videos, print materials...

Pertussis For Kids

Pertussis disease

Pertussis leaves its victims literally gasping for air. At first, this tricky pretender might seem like a common cold—runny nose, fever, and cough...more


Pertussis (Whooping Cough) – What You Need To Know

Pertussis (whooping cough) is very contagious and can cause serious illness―especially in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. Make sure your infants and young children get their recommended five shots on time.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about pertussis? See these answers to pertussis frequently asked questions.

Pregnancy and Whooping Cough


Learn more about whooping cough vaccination during pregnancy...more

New Pertussis Strain

First appearance in the United States of pertussis strains that are missing pertactin.


Pertussis Vaccination

  • Pertussis Vaccine Basics
    Parents-to-be, Infants & Toddlers, Adolescents...
  • DTaP and Td/Tdap Vaccine Information Statements
    Vaccine Information Statements explain to vaccine recipients, their parents, or their legal representatives both the benefits and risks of a vaccine.
  • Vaccine Safety
    Vaccines are continuously monitored for safety and efficacy...




Web features, podcasts, electronic cards, videos, and posters related to pertussis...more

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