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. UK Health Security Agency 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

Vaccination of healthcare workers

Data collection


Updates to this page

Published 31 July 2014
Last updated 28 May 2024 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Prenatal pertussis vaccine change from July 2024 letter'.

  2. Added 'Pertussis epidemiology in England 2024'.

  3. added 'Health Protection Report volume 18 (2024)'.

  4. Added 'Whooping cough: diagnosis information'.

  5. Added 'Pertussis outbreaks in nurseries and educational settings'.

  6. Added 'Pertussis: laboratory confirmed cases reported in England 2022'.

  7. Added Pertussis: laboratory confirmed cases reported in England 2021.

  8. Added laboratory confirmed cases reported in England 2020.

  9. Added 'Pertussis: occupational vaccination of healthcare workers' guidance.

  10. Added 'Pertussis: laboratory confirmed cases reported in England 2018' to the epidemiology section.

  11. First published.