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​There have been increasing cases of Pertussis (whooping cough) in San Diego and nationwide. Because no vaccine is 100% protective, even immunized persons can become ill with Pertussis, but the symptoms are usually milder.

How Pertussis is Spread​

Pertussis is spread through the air when an ill person coughs or sneezes. Infants and young children are at highest risk of life threatening complications from the disease. Their symptoms most often include cold symptoms such as runny nose, slight fever, and occasional cough. The cough becomes worse, turning into coughing spasms that may be followed by:
  • a whooping sound on breathing in
  • vomiting or gagging
  • choking or turning blue


In older children and adults, Pertussis symptoms include aggravating coughing attacks that last for two weeks or longer and may be accompanied by vomiting, gagging, and sticky mucus production. These attacks may worsen at night. Between the coughing attacks, the person may feel well and have no symptoms.

What To Do

If you have been informed of a known Pertussis exposure or you start showing symptoms of Pertussis:
  • Consult your healthcare provider. This disease is treated with specific antibiotics.
  • If you are treated for Pertussis, you should stay home until completion of five days of antibiotic therapy to prevent spreading the disease to others.

Protect Yourself

To help protect against getting ill from Pertussis:

  • Check your immunization records to see if you have received your childhood vaccines (Dtap). Also check to see if you received the adolescent/adult vaccine Tdap within the last 10 years.
  • Wash hands frequently.

More Information

If you have questions or want to learn more information about Pertussis, visit the websites: