Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial illness spread by coughs and sneezes. People sick with pertussis have severe coughing attacks that can last for months.
Vaccination is the best defense against whooping cough. However, the immunity from vaccines wears off over time and pertussis booster vaccine rates in adolescents and adults continue to be low. As a result, pertussis continues to circulate widely in California, resulting in the hospitalization and death of young infants who are too young to get their shots.
In response to the high levels of disease and death from pertussis in California during 2010, CDPH is recommending that all Californians make sure that they are immunized against pertussis, especially if they are in contact with infants. CDPH has issued Pertussis vaccination recommendations-2010 (PDF) for health care providers to help with this effort.
Children need five doses of DTaP (PDF) by kindergarten (ages 4-6) and a TdaP (PDF) booster by age 11. All teens and adults are also recommended to receive Tdap boosters.
View personal stories of someone affected by Pertussis at ShotbyShot.org.