Of the babies who catch whooping cough before they’re a year old, around half will need time in hospital.1
How do people catch this disease?
By breathing in tiny droplets spread by the coughs and sneezes of people infected with the bacteria that cause whooping cough.3,4
Which countries are affected?
Cases of whooping cough occur all over the world but around 95% are in developing countries.3
What are the symptoms?
Initially mild fever, sniffles and dry irritating cough. Bouts of uncontrollable coughing lasting several minutes occur as the disease develops. Coughing may be severe enough to cause vomiting. Sometimes people find it difficult to breathe between coughing bouts and their gasping for breath causes the characteristic “whooping” noise.3,4
How serious is the disease?
Children under 6 months are particularly at risk of complications such as pneumonia, fits and kidney damage. If breathing is interrupted there’s a risk of brain damage. The disease can be fatal with babies, though deaths are rare (1%).3,4
Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?
You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection: