Skip to main content

Whooping Cough (Pertussis) in Michigan

What is Pertussis (Whooping Cough)?

Photo of woman holding baby with two medical professionals standing next to her.

Pertussis is a respiratory illness that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. The disease starts like the common cold, with runny nose or congestion, sneezing, and mild cough or fever. After 1-2 weeks, severe coughing begins. Infants and children with the disease cough violently and rapidly, over and over, until the air is gone from their lungs and they're forced to inhale with a loud "whooping" sound. The coughing can last for weeks, even months. Adults and adolescents typically have a milder form of pertussis; however, they can still easily spread the infection to others, including infants and young children. Pertussis is most severe for babies; more than half of infants less than 1 year of age who get the disease must be hospitalized.

Click here for Information for Health Care Personnel
Click here for Information for Individuals and Families (including pregnant women)


Why be Concerned? 

Photo of a father holding his toddler.Pertussis activity is on the rise in the United States and here in Michigan. The good news is that pertussis is preventable and the public can protect themselves and their families through vaccination. In Michigan, there has been a worrisome steady increase in pertussis over the past decade, peaking in 2010 with over 1,500 cases reported, and again in 2014 with over 1,400 cases reported.  Cycles of higher pertussis activity often occur every 3-5 years. In the U.S. there were over 48,000 cases reported in 2012.  In subsequent years there have been between 15,000 and 33,000 cases reported annually.


How can Pertussis be Prevented? 

Photo of a woman getting a vaccination shot.

The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated.  Make sure infants and young children get their recommended five shots on time. Protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time. Adolescents and adults need to be revaccinated, even if they were completely vaccinated as children. This is especially important for families with new infants. To best protect the infant, pregnant women should be given Tdap during each pregnancy between 27 and 36 weeks gestation.



Information for Health Care Personnel  

Disease Information 
Clinical Information on Pertussis 
Pertussis Chapter - Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine Preventable Diseases (Pink Book) 
Pertussis Chapter - MDHHS Vaccine Preventable Disease Investigation Guidelines 
Pertussis is Peaking: Take Action!
Best Practices for Health Care Professionals on the Use of PCR Tests for Diagnosing Pertussis
Specimen collection videos from CDC

Letters from MDHHS
Letter to Emergency Departments on Tdap Vaccination
Letter to Birthing Hospitals on Tdap Vaccination
Letter to OB/GYNs on Tdap Vaccination
Letter to Hospital CEOs on Tdap Vaccination

Vaccine Information 
Immunization Schedules
ACIP Recommendations on Use of Tdap for Pregnant Women
Tetanus Prophylaxis Guidelines
Recommended Immunization Schedules for Children, Adolescents, and Adults
Updated Tdap Recommendations - Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Additional Tdap Vaccine Information
CDC Immunization & Pregnancy Chart for Providers
Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations
Health Care Personnel: It's Time for Your Tetanus Booster
Tdap Vaccination Strategies for Adults and Adolescents, including Health Care Personnel - Joint Commission

Quick Looks
Using DTaP/IPV/Hib (Pentacel®)
Using Pediarix® (DTaP/IPV/Hep B)
Using DTaP Vaccine
Using Td Vaccine
Using Tdap Vaccine

Standing Orders 
Standing orders for administering DTaP vaccine to children younger than 7 years
Standing orders for administering Td/Tdap vaccine to adults
Standing orders for administering Td/Tdap vaccine to children ages 7 years and older

Vaccine Information Statements (VIS)
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis
Foreign Language VIS

Information for Individuals and Families  

Disease Information 
Pertussis Disease
Hear What Pertussis Sounds Like
What You Need to Know

Vaccine Information 
About Pertussis Vaccine

Vaccine Information Statements (VIS)
Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis
Foreign Language VIS

Educational Materials and Resources 
Posters and Flyers
Protect Babies from Whooping Cough Infographic
Why get vaccinated against whooping cough? Francesca's story
In the battle against whooping cough, she needs more than cute
Got Flu and Tdap Vaccines? Posters for Health Care Personnel
Cocooning Poster: Protect this baby from flu and whooping cough
Pertussis and Pregnancy Detailed Flyer
Pertussis and Pregnancy posters
CDC Vaccines and Pregnancy Flyer
Protecting Your Baby from Pertussis
Surround Your Baby With A Vaccinated Family - English
Surround Your Baby With A Vaccinated Family - Spanish
Parents: Protect Yourself and Your Children from Whooping Cough!
Grandparents: Protect Yourself from Pertussis
School & Child Care Settings: Protect Against Flu and Whooping Cough 
Multimedia Resources from CDC

Additional Resources
Video of Adult with Whooping Cough (The New England Journal of Medicine)
Pertussis Videos
Unprotected People Reports - Pertussis
Shot-by-Shot Story Gallery