Report Confirmed or Suspect Cases Immediately to the Local Health Department.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. Pertussis is caused by bacteria that live in the mouth, nose and throat of an infected person. Pertussis can occur in people of all ages, but is most severe in infants less than one year old. More than half of these infants who get the disease must be hospitalized. The first symptoms are like the common cold such as sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and fever. However, within two weeks, the cough becomes more serious episodes of coughing spasms followed by a high pitched "whoop" sound when the person tries to take a breath. Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics and prevented with a vaccine.