Pertussis is an infectious disease, caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis and easily transmitted from person to person.¹ It is important to know the disease to know how to prevent it and how to protect pregnant women and babies. Check our list and find out all about this disease.
1) Not a serious disease – Myth
Pertussis is a major cause of infant mortality.¹ Most cases and deaths are concentrated in children under one year of age.¹ In addition, its complications can include sinusitis, pneumonia, otitis media, weight loss, urinary incontinence, rib fracture, and fainting.³
2) Mothers are the main transmitters for their babies – Truth
In 39% of cases the mothers are responsible for the transmission of pertussis during the first months of the baby’s life.²
3) Mothers need to get vaccinated – Truth
The protection of the baby against pertussis can start in the belly, because when the pregnant woman takes the vaccine against pertussis, besides protecting her, can help to protect the baby through the transfer of antibodies that happens during pregnancy.12
4) Do other family members need to get vaccinated? – Truth
Anyone close to the baby can transmit the disease by eliminating droplets when coughing, sneezing or talking.1,4,5 Vaccination of the whole family is essential for a safety net for the baby.2,6
5) Do vaccines taken during pregnancy present risks for mothers and babies? – Myth
The vaccines recommended for pregnant women do not present a risk of causing infection in both the pregnant woman and the baby. In general, there are no reports of serious adverse events. The most common are redness, swelling, and pain at the site of application.7-11,14,15
6) Is vaccination the only method of prevention against the disease? – Myth
In addition to vaccination, maintaining good hygiene habits such as washing your hands with soap frequently and covering your mouth and nose with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing are also important for the prevention of pertussis.13
So what? Now you’ve managed to get all your doubts out of the disease, huh? So stay tuned and be sure to protect yourself. Vaccination is also an act of affection. #VaccinCough
1.BRAZIL. Ministry of Health. Boletim epidemiológico, 2015. em:
2. WILEY, KE. et al. Sources of pertussis infection in young infants: A review of key evidence informing targeting of the cocoon strategy. Vaccine,31(4): 618-25, 2013.
3.DE SERRES, G. et al. Morbidity of pertussis in adolescents and adults. The Journal of Infectious Diseases, 182(1): 174-9, 2000.
4.CENTERS FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL. Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Questions and Answers. Available at:
5.CENTERS FOR DISEASE PREVENTION AND CONTROL. Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Causes and Transmission.2017. Available at:
6.KORPPI, M. Whooping cough – still a challenge. J Pediatr (Rio J), 89(6):520-522, 2013.
7.BRAZILIAN SOCIETY OF IMMUNIZATIONS. Pregnant Vaccination: Successful protection for mother and child. 2018. Available in:
8.BRAZILIAN FEDERATION OF GYNECOLOGY AND OBSTETRICS ASSOCIATIONS. Vaccination Program for Women. São Paulo: FEBRASGO, 2017. 170p.
9.BRAZILIAN SOCIETY OF IMMUNIZATIONS. Vaccines. Available in:
10.KHARBANDA, E.O. et al. Maternal Tdap vaccination: Coverage and acute safety outcomes inthe vaccine safety datalink, 2007-2013. Vaccine, 34: 968-973, 2016.
11.CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. Pregnancy and Whooping Cough. Vaccine Safety. 2017. Available at:
12 GKENTZI, D. et al. Maternal vaccination against pertussis: a systematic review of the recent literature. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 102:F456-F463, 2017.
13.CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. Pertussis (Whooping Cough). Prevention. Available at:
14.BRAZIL. Ministry of Health. National Calendar of Vaccination. 2019. Available in:
15.CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Whooping Cough Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know. 2018. Available at:
Material aimed at the general public. Please consult your doctor.
NP-BR-BOO-PRSR-190011 – SEPTEMBER/2019