Whooping Cough (pertussis) is an extremely contagious respiratory infection which causes uncontrolled coughing and vomiting and can be particularly dangerous for babies under the age of 12 months.
Whooping cough is spread through respiratory droplets, which can be transmitted in the air through coughing and sneezing, or from close contact with an infected person. In a household where someone has whooping cough, an estimated 80-90% of the non-immunised contacts of that person will acquire whooping cough.
A history of having this disease does not mean life-long immunity, therefore vaccination is still necessary. Whooping cough vaccination is available for free to children through the National Immunisation Program Schedule and to pregnant women in their third trimester (preferably at 28 weeks) and is available at the surgery. Family members and people who have close contact with babies in the first weeks of life are recommended to have a whooping cough vaccine 2 weeks before having contact with the baby – this is available on prescription from a doctor.
For more information on whooping cough and the whooping cough vaccine: