Pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak - update December 2012


As of 7th December, 444 whooping cough notifications were made to the HPSC in 2012. This compares to a total of 217 for the same time period in 2011. Young babies continue to be most at risk of severe disease and hospitalisation, 32% of all notifications have occurred among babies less than 6 months of age.

In response to the ongoing outbreak the National Immunisation Advisory Committee (NIAC) have recently issued new guidance to GPs relating to the immunisation of pregnant women and close contacts of preterm babies.

  • Pregnant women should be offered Tdap vaccine between 28-32 weeks of pregnancy to enable protection of the very young baby via the transfer of maternal antibodies.
  • Close family adult contacts of babies born before 32 weeks are also recommended vaccination if not vaccinated. Siblings of these babies should be age appropriately vaccinated.
  • Health care workers in contact with infants, pregnant women and immunocompromised individuals are recommended a booster dose if they have not received a booster in the past 10 years.

For more information on pertussis vaccination please click here.