Pertussis: guidelines for public health management

Guidance for healthcare professionals on the public health management of pertussis (whooping cough).


Guidelines for the public health management of pertussis (December 2016)

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These guidelines, which update the 2012 Health Protection Agency (HPA) guidelines for the public health management of pertussis, are based on a recent review of all currently available scientific evidence and consultation with experts where required.

The important changes to the guidance published in July 2016 and updated in December 2016 include:

  • updated epidemiology of pertussis in England since the introduction of the pertussis immunisation programme for pregnant women in October 2012
  • available laboratory methods to confirm clinically suspected cases of pertussis
  • pertussis vaccines for post exposure management and outbreak control
  • revised definitions of the priority groups for public health action
  • revised definition of the recommended exclusion period, which is reduced from 5 days to 48 hours
Published 25 October 2012
Last updated 9 December 2016 + show all updates
  1. Updated antibiotic section and clarification of change of exclusion period.
  2. Updated serology section in guidance and clarification of age groups for use.
  3. Revised guidelines for the public health management of pertussis.
  4. First published.