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Pertussis is an infectious disease caused by Bordetella pertussis.


India ranks #1 in Pertussis cases reported worldwide*. An increase in the number of pertussis cases has been noted since early 2000, ranging from 61 to 92.9% in infants 0–3 months old in South and South East Asian countries.


Avoiding close contact with infected persons, hand hygiene, covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and Vaccination can help prevent the disease.

Age of vaccination

For infants, pertussis vaccination starts from 6 weeks of age. For preventing neonatal pertussis,additional vaccination may be required during pregnancy. Consult your doctor for more information on pertussis vaccination during pregnancy.

What is Pertussis?


Pertussis (also known as whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease which can be very serious, especially for young children. It is a respiratory infection characterized by repeated coughing fits, difficulty in breathing and the associated ‘whoop’ noise when gasping for breath.

The most common symptoms an infant is likely to present with are cough with or without associated whoop, difficulty in breathing and other symptoms which may be difficult to diagnose.

How can my baby catch pertussis?


Pertussis is spread through the air by infectious droplets so it is easily transmitted by other people coughing or sneezing or being close to a person with the disease.

Who is most likely to spread pertussis to my baby ?


Many newborns get pertussis from older brothers or sisters, parents (especially mothers), other family members, or caregivers who might not even know they have the disease

What could happen to my baby?


Pertussis can cause serious and sometimes deadly complications in babies and young infants. The coughing fits can last for several weeks or months. Infants and young children can be distressed and may turn blue due to difficulty in breathing. In very young babies the cough may not be particularly noticeable, but there may be brief periods when they stop breathing. About half the babies under a year old who catch whooping cough may need to be cared for in hospital.

Why is my newborn baby vulnerable?


Newborns and young infants under 2 months of age are at highest risk of serious complications. Newborn babies have inadequate protection against pertussis at birth or in the first few months of life, leaving them unprotected and highly vulnerable.

How do I protect my baby from pertussis?

  • Avoiding close contact with infected persons
  • Hand hygiene
  • "Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing"
  • Vaccination during pregnancy and childhood

Tell me more about Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy?


In order to protect the mother and newborn infant against pertussis and its complications, pertussis vaccination can be provided during pregnancy.

What are the benefits of Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy?


Infants are not adequately protected against pertussis at birth.
The vaccination against pertussis begins only at 6-8 weeks putting them at risk of pertussis disease and complications at birth or in the first few months of life.

Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy helps pass on the protection from the mother to the newborn baby.

Is Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy safe?


Based on the available evidence, pertussis vaccination during pregnancy is found to be generally well tolerated. The most common side effects observed include mild to moderate pain, swelling and redness at the injection site.

What are the other ways to protect my newborn against Pertussis?


There are different strategies to prevent pertussis in young infants which includes vaccination of mothers, family members and close contacts. Please contact your doctor for more details.

When should I receive Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy?


Information appearing in this material is for information purpose only and does not constitute any medical advice. Please contact your gynaecologist for more details on the appropriate time to receive pertussis vaccination during pregnancy or any concern you may have regarding your condition.

*- Data refers to overall Pertussis cases reported in India

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