1. What is Pertussis?

  • Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is very contagious and most severe for babies2
  • Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with Pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a "whooping" sound2
  • Pertussis most commonly affects young babies and can be fatal, especially in babies less than one year of age2
  • The best way to protect against Pertussis is vaccination2


2. What are the Symptoms of Pertussis?

  • The most common symptom of Pertussis is a severe, persistent cough that may last for several months3,4
  • Other possible outcomes include5:
  • Pertussis may sometimes be diffcult to diagnose as symptoms often resemble those of other conditions6


3. What can be the complications due to Pertussis?

Adolescents may develop the following complications:

  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Rib fracture
  • Pneumonia3


4. How does Pertussis Spread?

  • It spreads from person to person, through airborne droplets of cough and sneezes7
  • It can spread easily in situations where people are in close contact, such as at home or in schools3,7
  • It is highly contagious. It has been estimated that 1 infected person can spread the disease to 11-17 unvaccinated people8


5. How do I know it is Pertussis Cough and How do you treat it?

  • Visit your doctor to get a thorough check up done
  • Your doctor may examine your ear, nose, throat for Pertussis infection
  • After necessary examination and assessment of the condition, your doctor may prescribe necessary medicines for the treatment


6. Who is at Risk of Pertussis?

  • Newborn babies
  • Adolescents
  • All adults9


7. My child is turning 10, is there a risk of Pertussis?

  • Neither DTP vaccine (given in childhood) nor past infection provides lifelong protection against pertussis putting adolescent kids at risk10,11
  • Pertussis can cause considerable disruption to the active lives of 10+ kids They may have to miss school5
  • Untreated pertussis cases may also lead to complications3


8. How do I protect my Child from Pertussis?

  • Avoiding close contact with infected persons
  • Vaccination - children aged 10 years and above should get a dose of Pertussis booster vaccine1,11
  • Please consult your Paediatrician for more information


  1. Centre for disease control website teens.html Accessed on Feb 2 , 2017
  2. Centre for disease control website Accessed on Feb 2 , 2017
  3. Pinkbook -DTP,Available on, Accessed February 2016.Marchant CD. Clin Infect Dis 2003;39;1581-1582
  4. Marchant CD. Clin Infect Dis 2003;39;1581-1582
  5. Lee GM et al. Clin Infect Dis 2004;39(11);1572-1580
  6. Miller et al. Commun Dis Public Health 2000:3(2);132-134.
  7. Centre for disease control website Accessed on Feb 2,2017
  8. Zepp F et al Lancet Infect Dis 2011;11(7):557-570
  9. Tina Tan, MD et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J 2005;24: S10–S18
  10. Wendelboe et al. Pediatr Infect Dis J2005:24;S58–61
  11. Pertussis vaccines:Position paper of Indian academy of Pediatrics,Indian Pediatrics,Volume 50,Pg 1006,Nov 2013.

Information appearing in this material is for general awareness only and does not constitute any medical advice. Please consult your physician for any question or concern you may have regarding your condition.

GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Worli, Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai-400030
Date of preparation: March 2017 IN/BOO/0007/17(1)