The best way to prevent pertussis is to get vaccinated. Pertussis or whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory tract infection. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP. There are several formulations of vaccines used to prevent diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis. Some are combined with vaccines to prevent other diseases.
Health officials now recommend that adults and adolescents receive one dose of the Tdap booster vaccine to protect against whooping cough. Pertussis is found only in humans and is spread from person to person. People with pertussis usually spread the disease by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others, who then breathe in the pertussis bacteria.
Symptoms of pertussis usually develop within 7-10 days after being exposed, but sometimes not for as long as 6 weeks. Pertussis can cause severe coughing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep. It can lead to weight loss, incontinence, rib fractures and passing out from violent coughing.