Community Health



Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. A typical case of pertussis in children and adults starts with a cough and runny nose for 1 to 2 weeks, followed by weeks to months of rapid coughing fits that sometimes end with a whooping sound. Fever, if present, is usually mild.

The disease is treatable with antibiotics or vaccines. Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications, such as pneumonia, seizures, or brain damage, in infants, young children, and the elderly; especially those who are not fully vaccinated.

With proper treatment, most people recover from whooping cough without complications.

Immunization recommendations
The CDC recommends that children get one dose of DTaP vaccine (a combination vaccine that protects against 3 diseases: diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) at the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15 to 18 months, and 4 to 6 years. The CDC also recommends that children receive a booster shot of Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) at 10 to 11 years.

In addition to the above, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDH) recommends:

  • A single dose of Tdap for people 11 through 64 years of age for non-healthcare providers,
  • A one-time dose of Tdap for Td booster; then boost with Td every 10 years for people ages 19 and older who are healthcare providers


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