PertussisWhat is Pertussis?
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious disease caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria. It is named for the "whooping" sound made by small children who have the disease.
Pertussis is dangerous for very young children. More than half of infants under 1 year of age who contract the disease are hospitalized. About 10% of children with pertussis also develop pneumonia.
There has been a significant increase in the number of pertussis cases since the 1980s. In 2007 there were more than 10,000 cases including 10 deaths from pertussis nationally. Santa Rosa County has seen a dramatic increase in the number of pertussis cases in the past year compared to previous years.
- Runny nose
- Mild fever (under 102°F)
- Vomiting caused by excessive coughing
- Coughing (especially a bad cough lasting more than 2 weeks)
- Shortness of breath
What Does Pertussis Sound Like?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has some examples of what pertussis (whooping cough) can sound like:
How Does Pertussis Spread?
Pertussis is spread by an infected individual coughing or sneezing near others who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria. The vaccine for pertussis is not lasting as long as doctors originally thought, so even if someone has been fully vaccinated for pertussis as a child, they can still get the disease. This is why many infants who get pertussis are infected by older siblings or parents who might not know they have the disease.
The best prevention is vaccination!
- Wash your hands often.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
- If possible, keep infants away from anyone who has cold symptoms or is coughing.
Vaccination Schedule for Pertussis
|Between 15 and 18 months||DTaP|
|When a child enters school (4 to 6 years old)||DTaP|
|11 or 12 years old or an adult who has not received a Tdap||Tdap booster|
What is the difference between DTaP & Tdap?
An upper case letter signifies a full dose; a lower case letter means the dose has been reduced.
DTaP = a full dose of Diphtheria, Tetanus, and acellular (contains only part of
the bacterium) Pertussis
Tdap = a full dose of Tetanus and a reduced dose of diphtheria and acellular