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Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vaccines & Immunizations

Vaccines and Preventable Diseases:

Pertussis Disease In-Short


A respiratory disease caused by bacteria

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Runny nose, sneezing, low grade fever, cough, similar to the common cold. After 1-2 weeks, may progress to stage characterized by bursts of numerous rapid coughs (paroxysms). A final recovery stage with coughing may last weeks or months.

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Bacterial pneumonia and rib fracture. Other complications of adult pertussis occur rarely. Infants are at highest risk for apnea, pneumonia, seizures, encephalopathy, and death.

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Spread by coughing and sneezing.

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Pertussis vaccine (contained in Tdap, DTP, and DTaP) can prevent this disease.

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Who Needs to be Vaccinated?

Does my infant need this vaccine?

Yes, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends 5 doses of diphtheria and tetanus toxoids and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine for infants and children.  One dose of DTaP vaccine is recommended at each of the following ages: 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, 4-6 years old.  DTaP vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.  
See also: childhood immunization schedule
See also: Who should not be vaccinated?
See also: DTaP Vaccine Information Statement (VIS)


Does my pre-teen or adolescent need the vaccine?

The preferred age for routine vaccination with Tdap is 11 or 12 years old. Adolescents aged 11 through 18 should receive a single dose of Tdap instead of Td for booster immunization against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis if they have completed the recommended childhood DTP/DTaP vaccination series.
See also: Adolescent immunization schedule


As an adult, do I need the vaccine?

  • If you are 19 through 64 years old and have not previously received a dose of Tdap, a single dose of Tdap should replace a single dose of Td for booster immunization if the most recent tetanus toxoid-containing vaccine was received at least 10 years earlier.
  • Adults in close contact with an infant aged under 12 months who have not previously received Tdap should receive a dose of Tdap; an interval as short as 2 years since the most recent Td is suggested.
  • Healthcare personnel in hospitals and ambulatory care settings with direct patient contact who have not previously received Tdap should receive a dose of Tdap; an interval as short as 2 years since the most recent Td is recommended.

See also: Adult immunization schedule
See also: Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations Adobe Acrobat print-friendly PDF file (exit) NEw july 28

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 Return to main Pertussis Vaccination page

This page last modified on September 24, 2008
Content last reviewed on June 1, 2007
Content Source: National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases

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Vaccines and Immunizations