Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
People of all ages can become ill with pertussis and some can become very sick. Children younger than 6 months of age are the most vulnerable to serious illness and even hospitalization if they develop pertussis. The most effective prevention against pertussis is vaccination. Vaccination of household members and other close family and friends helps protect infants. Pregnant women should receive a Tdap, the pertussis booster vaccine, during each pregnancy to help decrease the chances of the baby being exposed to pertussis. Babies and young infants are further protected when both parents, caregivers, siblings and healthcare workers stay up to date on pertussis vaccinations. California schools require that all students entering 7th grade provide proof of receiving Tdap.
Pertussis begins with the symptoms of a cough and runny nose for 1-2 weeks followed by weeks of coughing fits. Fever is not usually seen unlike most other respiratory illnesses. People with symptoms should see their health care provider for testing, diagnosis and potential treatment.
- Fact Sheet | Spanish
- Whooping Cough factsheet (CDPH): English | Spanish
- Information for pregnant women: English | Spanish
- Is it Just a Cough? Poster (CDPH): English | Spanish
- Protect Babies from Whooping Cough (CDC): English | Spanish
- Pertussis Poster for Parents and Grandparents (CDC): English | Spanish
The best tool for prevention of pertussis is vaccination.
There are vaccines for infants, children, preteens, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Both vaccines also protects against the diseases: tetanus and diphtheria.
- Children should get 5 doses of DTaP vaccine at the following ages: 2 month, 4 months, 6 months and 15-18 months and 4-6 years.
- The Tdap booster vaccine is recommended at 11-12 years of age and for adults who has not previously received a dose.
- IMPORTANT: Pregnant women should receive an additional Tdap booster vaccine during each pregnancy regardless of vaccination history.
The best place to get vaccinated is at your regular health care provider or clinic. Other locations are provided in Contra Costa to receive pertussis containing vaccine.
- Pertussis Vaccination: Where to Get Vaccinated
- California School Tdap Vaccination Requirement
- Find out where to get vaccinated
Information about Pertussis Vaccines - Vaccine Information Statements (CDC):
- Personal Stories of Pertussis Disease (Shot by Shot)
- Pertussis Videos (Immunization Action Coalition)
- Preventing the spread of whooping cough (pertussis) English | Spanish Protejiendo de la Tos Ferina
- Pertussis Radio PSA (CDPH) English | Spanish Tos ferina (Pertussis) PSA
- Pertussis PSA (CDC) English | Spanish Tos ferina (Pertussis) PSA
- Recognizing and Preventing Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (CDC) English | Spanish Reconocimiento y prevención de la tos ferina (Pertussis)
- Contra Costa Pertussis Press Release – Press Release – Jul 16, 2013
- Protect Our Babies from Pertussis – Healthy Outlook – May 05, 2010
- Shots Not Just for Pre-Schoolers – Healthy Outlook - May 30, 2004
- Pertussis Guidance for School Settings - 2018
- Pertussis Exposure Letter - template: English | Spanish
- Report any suspect or laboratory confirmed case of pertussis; and
- Immediately report outbreak by phone to Contra Costa Public Health Communicable Disease Programs at 925-313-6740.
Schools & Child Care Settings