Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Information

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Information

Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease that is most serious for young children, especially for those under 12 months.

Children and infants are most at risk of serious illness from whooping cough especially if they are too young to have been fully vaccinated. People who have had a full course of vaccinations or a booster vaccination within the last 10 years are most likely to be protected. Immunity to whooping cough wanes over time even if you have been vaccinated and even if you have had the disease.

Health Line

Whooping cough facts:

  • highly infectious disease transmitted easily by coughing and sneezing
  • incubation period is usually 7 - 10 days but can be up to 21 days
  • symptoms begin with a slight cough and runny nose for up to 14 days before bouts of coughing begin
  • severe bouts of coughing may end in vomiting
  • coughing can last up to 3 months

If you notice these symptoms please see your doctor. Antibiotics (azithromycin) can be prescribed to treat the infection and after 2-5 days of treatment you will no longer be infectious.

On-time vaccination with all the childhood vaccinations is the best way to prevent illness in children.


Pregnant woman can receive the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination for free in their last three months of pregnancy to protect their baby from pertussis.

Advice for Health Professionals

General Advice on pertussis