Pertussis, also known as "whooping cough," is a highly contagious respiratory infection. Pertussis causes violent coughing which can make it hard to breath. Pertussis affects babies and young children most commonly and most severely. Many suffer the intense fits of coughing that may end with a “whoop.” From 2003 to 2015, young children under age 10 accounted for 51% of pertussis cases in Oregon, and five infants have died.
The best way to protect against pertussis is to get vaccinated.
- Vaccination is routinely recommended for infants over 2 months of age, children, adolescents and adults.
- To protect the babies who are at highest risk of pertussis, all pregnant women should be vaccinated with Tdap during each pregnancy. Vaccination during pregnancy allows the mother to make antibodies that cross the placenta and may protect the baby even before the baby can be vaccinated.