A whooping cough, or pertussis, outbreak is always a serious problem because this illness is highly contagious and affects young infants significantly, even causing death.

Dr. Luis Castagnini, M.D., MPH Infectious Disease, Blank Children’s Hospital says, “Whooping cough is a respiratory illness caused by a bacteria that is highly contagious. It is transmitted between adolescents and adults and from adults to young infants.”

Initial symptoms, similar to the common cold, usually develop about a week after exposure to the bacteria. Severe episodes of coughing start about 10 to 12 days later. In children, the coughing often ends with a “whoop” noise. The sound is produced when the patient tries to take a breath.

Dr. Castagnini says, “Whooping Cough is a preventable disease for most of the population but not for infants who are less than 6 months of age. There are currently two types of vaccines against pertussis and we encourage a booster at age 11 to boost the immunity and prevent outbreaks in adolescents and adults.”

Click here for more information on whooping cough from Blank Children’s Hospital.