Whooping cough (pertussis)

  • Whooping cough is a highly infectious disease that can be a life threatening for babies and young child.
  • Vaccination is the best way to prevent whooping cough. Make sure children are up-to-date with their vaccines.
  • It usually starts with cold-like symptoms and a cough that worsens into severe bouts of uncontrollable coughing.

Young infants infected with whooping cough may stop breathing or turn blue, have apnoea (pauses in normal breathing), pneumonia, feeding problems and weight loss, seizures, brain damage and, in some cases, death.

Older children and adults can also become infected with whooping cough and, while their symptoms are usually less severe, they can pass the infection to others, including infants too young to be immunised.

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