Pertussis - "cover your cough"

  • PERTUSSIS: Pertussis is often better known by the name “Whooping Cough” or the “100 day cough” in other parts of the world. It is a bacterial disease spread by coughing that can last for months and it is contagious for a period of up to three weeks. The California Department of Public Health declared Pertussis to also be epidemic in 2014. As Pertussis is widespread it is important that both children and adults are vaccinated and that booster doses are given periodically for both alike as protection against Pertussis gradually wears off. Pertussis has even been found in the population that has had boosters as well.

    What to watch for: Pertussis starts with cold-like symptoms, a mild cold that is prolonged for 5-7 days and then a persistent cough lasting weeks that typically becomes more aggressive. Coughing may produce a “whoop” noise or resulting in vomiting, choking or difficulty breathing. For any cough lasting longer than a week, follow-up with your physician or pediatrician.

    VACCINATION INFORMATION: Pertussis vaccination recommendations of the federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) can be found online at the following webpage: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/acip-recs/index.html.

    Children (ages 4-6) are required to have FIVE doses of DtaP (a vaccine against Pertussis) by the time they enter kindergarten (including junior kindergarten). Vaccination ideally starts in infancy at 6-8 weeks of life.Infants should be vaccinated as this disease can be fatal to infants.Students in 7th grade in California need to have met the requirement for a Tdap (PDF) booster - see http://shotsforschool.org.

    Adults are also recommended to receive a Tdap booster, especially if they are in contact with infants or are health care workers, but most adults have not yet received Tdap. Pregnant Women are recommended to receive Tdap (whooping cough booster) during the third trimester of pregnancy as it may pass some protection to the baby. 

    For the latest information on whooping cough in the state of California including the rates of vaccination at your school site, visit our source site listed below.

    What else can you do?
    Talk with your children about COVERING YOUR COUGH

    Encourage them to cover their nose and mouth when they sneeze or cough either into their arm or ideally with a tissue that can be thrown away. ALWAYS wash hands after coughing or sneezing or use a hand sanitizer.

    For more information on Pertussis:
    http://www.cdph.ca.gov/HealthInfo/discond/Pages/Pertussis.aspx