Also known as Whooping Cough
Pertussis, also known as "whooping cough," is a toxin-mediated respiratory illness caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It is spread primarily by respiratory droplets (droplet spread) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The disease is of particular concern in infants because they have higher rates of pneumonia, hospitalization, and death compared with older children and adults. Pertussis vaccination reduces the frequency and severity of disease.
However, the protective effects of natural pertussis infection and pertussis vaccine wane with time. Unrecognized infections in older children and adults are the most common source of pertussis transmission to infants in the community. The primary strategy to prevent severe pertussis among infants is maternal vaccination during the 3rd trimester of each pregnancy.
Resources for the general public
- Pertussis information sheet, Public Health — Seattle & King County
- Pertussis facts, CDC
- Whooping Cough flyer for pregnant women, also available in the following languages:
Resources for health care professionals
- Pertussis is a reportable condition in King County: See disease reporting requirements.
- Issue Brief — Pertussis in Infants: Local epidemiology and prevention recommendations (Feb. 2015)
Pertussis clinical information (CDC):
- Clinical features
- Diagnosis and testing
- Pertussis PCR Best Practices
- Pertussis testing/specimen collection
Includes a video demonstrating proper techniques for collecting and transporting nasopharyngeal specimens for pertussis testing.
- Treatment guidance
- Infection control
- Bordetella parapertussis (CA Dept. of Health)
- Reporting requirements. Health care providers, health care facilities, and laboratories are required to report cases of pertussis in King County residents within 24 hours by calling 206-296-4774.