Pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak - update October 2012


The number of pertussis (also known as whooping cough) cases continues to rise.

As of 25th October 398 whooping cough notifications were made to the HPSC. This compares to a total of 229 in 2011.

Of the 398 notifications made to HPSC in 2012; 244 (61%) notifications are laboratory confirmed; 125 (31%) cases were hospitalised; two pertussis related deaths have been reported in babies this year. The age group most affected by whooping cough disease and associated hospitalisation are infants less than 6 months of age (131 cases in total). All regions of the country have seen a marked increase in cases reported to the Departments of Public Health.

Vaccination recommendations

  • Infant vaccination
    • All babies should be vaccinated with the pertussis containing vaccine ('6-in-1' vaccine) at 2, 4, and 6 months of age.
  • Preschool booster
    • All children should receive a booster dose at 4-5 years of age. This is usually given by the school vaccination teams or by the GP (depending on the HSE area) school
  • Adolescent booster
    • All adolescents should receive a booster at 11-14 years of age. This is provided by the school vaccination teams for those in 1st year of second level school.
  • Health care workers in contact with pregnant women, babies, children and immunocompromised should get a booster vaccine
  • Other adults may wish to get the vaccine privately from their GP

People with whooping cough- guidance

  • Contact your GP if you think you have pertussis. Treatment may be indicated in the early stages of disease.
  • Stay away from young children and infants until properly treated.
  • Treatment of people who are close contacts of pertussis cases is also an important part of prevention.
  • Pertussis is a notifiable disease.

What does pertussis sound like? You can hear the cough by clicking here and following the link

For more information on pertussis please click here

More detailed information on immunisation information is located at