Whooping Cough

Pertussis Vaccine

While there is no lifelong protection against whooping cough, immunization by the pertussis vaccine is the best whooping cough prevention measure available. Vaccines currently licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent whooping cough and reduce related illness and death are available for children up to age 7, and for adults.
The children's vaccine is part of a routine series of childhood immunizations called DTaP (diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis vaccine). It is administered in five doses, given at 2, 4, 6, and 15 to 18 months of age, and between ages four and six. All five doses are recommended for maximum protection.
The adolescent and adult vaccines (Adacel® and Boostrix®) have the same components as the DTaP vaccine for infants and young children, but in reduced quantities.

Infants and Whooping Cough

Infants under the age of 12 months typically become more seriously ill as a result of whooping cough, and they are more likely to have whooping cough complications and be hospitalized than people in other age groups.
In the 1990s, about two-thirds of infants reported with whooping cough were hospitalized. Infants are more likely to have complications such as pneumonia or convulsions. Infants also are at greatest risk of fatal whooping cough. In recent years, 15 to 21 infant deaths from pertussis have been reported to the CDC annually.

Adults and Whooping Cough

Many people believe that whooping cough is a disease that only affects infants and children. The fact is, whooping cough in adults accounted for more than half of the reported cases of whooping cough in recent years. Yet whooping cough is still under-recognized among adults.
(Click Whooping Cough in Adults for more information.)
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Whooping Cough Disease

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