Whooping Cough (Pertussis) in Children

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This

Whooping cough, or pertussis, mainly affects infants and young children. Caused by a bacterium, it is characterized by paroxysms (intense fits or spells) of coughing that end with the characteristic whoop as air is inhaled.

  • Whooping cough caused thousands of deaths in the 1930s and 1940s, but, with the advent of the vaccine, the rate of death has declined dramatically.
  • Whooping cough usually affects children younger than 1.
  • Seventy-five percent of children affected are under age 5.
  • Thirty percent of children affected are under age 1.

The Respiratory Diseases Division at Children’s Hospital Boston is made up of clinical pulmonologists, pulmonary nurse specialists, physical therapists and social workers who work together to care for our patients. Two physicians are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with emergency situations. We have a nursing line to help answer questions, and a prescription line to provide prompt medication refills.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944