Whooping cough risks for adults
Whooping cough spreads through the bacteria Bordetella pertussis, and anyone exposed to it can get sick. Getting vaccinated with a Tdap vaccine can help protect you from the disease.
Understand the risk for adults
People of all ages—not just kids—can get whooping cough and should understand the risks of the disease to protect themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2019, nearly a quarter of reported whooping cough cases in the US were in persons 20 years of age and older. Further, 61% of adults with whooping cough missed an average of 10 work days.* Getting vaccinated against whooping cough can help prevent the illness.
*In a study of 203 adults with whooping cough.
While whooping cough is often less severe in adults than in infants, in some cases it can still lead to serious complications.
Whooping cough is contagious
The bacteria that cause whooping cough spread easily through coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. People are most infectious during the first two weeks after the cough begins.
Whooping cough is known to spread within households. Babies often catch it from siblings, parents, grandparents, and other members of their extended family.