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Pertussis—a serious disease that every parent and person in close contact with infants should know about

As a mother, father, family member, or other caregiver, it is important to understand the role proper immunization plays in protecting you and the infants in your life from Pertussis. In recent years, reported cases of Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, have been on the rise. Research has shown that immunity to this easily transmitted disease begins to wear off by early adolescence, leaving people susceptible to infection.


Pertussis is a highly contagious disease

Symptoms of Pertussis may include:

  • Symptoms similar to a common cold
  • Severe cough that can make breathing difficult
  • Cough can last up to 8 weeks or longer
  • Choking spells and/or vomiting

It may take up to 4 weeks before the symptoms start to get better, and full recovery can take several more weeks.


Pertussis doesn’t start with a loud cough

The disease starts with symptoms similar to a common cold. After about 10 to 12 days, the coughing becomes severe. In children between 6 months and 7 years of age, coughing fits are often followed by a “whoop” sound. This sound is less common in very young infants, adolescents, and adults.

Until recently, vaccination against Pertussis was only available to infants and young children. However, the protective effects of Diphtheria, Tetanus and acellular Pertussis (DTaP) vaccine wear off, leaving adolescents and adults susceptible to Pertussis. Fortunately, there is now a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine available for adults and adolescents 10 through 64 years of age.

Now that you have learned more about Pertussis and understand the role immunization plays in protecting you and your family, talk to your health-care professional to see whether getting a vaccination with Tdap vaccine is right for you.

Carroll County Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a single dose of Tdap booster for everyone 10 through 64 years of age. Including the following:

  • All health care workers, especially those in contact with infants less than 12 months of age
  • Adolescents 10-18 years of age
  • Adults between the ages of 19 and 64 years of age
  • Adults, such as parents, grandparents less than age 65, and child care providers who will be in close contact with infants younger than 12 months of age
    Public Health
    608 N. Court St.
    Suite A
    Carroll, IA 51401

    Suite A is located in the alley between Court St. and Clark St. behind United Bank of Iowa.

    Phone: 712-775-2660

    Fax: 712-792-0254

    [email protected]


    Office Hours:
    Monday - Friday
    8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Megan Owen-LPN
    Carey Kersey-MS, LPN

    Public Health Directors