Skip to content
Infectious Disease

Pertussis (whooping cough)             

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease.  It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.  It is spread through the air in droplets produced during coughing or sneezing.

Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe.  After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breaths which result in a "whooping" sound.  Pertussis can affect people of all ages, but it can be very serious, even deadly, for babies less than a year old.

The best way to protect against pertussis is by getting vaccinated.  Are you up-to-date? Act now to get vaccinated! 

Alaska Surveillance Data

During 2016, 159 cases of pertussis were reported to SOE, yielding an incidence rate of 21.5 cases per 100,000 persons.  The 2016 incidence rate of reported pertussis cases in Alaska was nearly four times the national average incidence rate of 5.7 cases per 100,000 persons for 2015.  A few other states  reported a rate higher than in Alaska.


Resources for the General Public

  • About Pertussis from the CDC.  This website site offers extensive, updated information on pertussis for everyone, from kids to health care providers. Check it out now!
  • Pertussis Fact Sheet from the Alaska Division of Public Health

Resources for Healthcare Providers

Pertussis is a public health reportable condition in Alaska.  Reports must be made within 2 working days after being suspected or diagnosed.  Please call the Alaska Section of Epidemiology at 907-269-8000. 



Infectious Disease Program Resources

For Schools Child Care, and Camp Programs