Pertussis: guidance, data and analysis

The symptoms, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of pertussis (whooping cough).

Pertussis (whooping cough) is a respiratory disease that is vaccine preventable. It is caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacterium. Pertussis can cause serious and life-threatening complications. This includes pneumonia, difficulty in breathing (apnoea) and seizures. Severe complications and deaths occur mostly in infants under 6 months of age.

Pertussis is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. This means health professionals must inform local health protection teams of suspected cases. PHE collects data on notifiable diseases. This data helps healthcare professionals track outbreaks and trends in disease occurrence over time.

Immunisation is the most effective way to protect against pertussis.

Diagnosis and management

Immunisation for pregnant women

Data collection


Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 22 June 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Pertussis: laboratory confirmed cases reported in England 2018' to the epidemiology section.
  2. First published.