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Pertussis (whooping cough) in California and New York State

Travel Health Notice

An increased number of pertussis cases (also called whooping cough) has been reported in California and in the state of New York, in particular Jefferson CountyPertussis cases occur around the world, including in Canada. Pertussis is a highly contagious disease that causes coughing spells which can last for four to six weeks. It is spread through droplets in the air from coughing or sneezing. This disease can affect people of any age, however it is more serious among young infants.

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) reminds travellers to make sure their pertussis vaccination is up-to-date.


Consult a doctor, nurse or health care provider, or visit a travel health clinic at least six weeks before you travel.

1. Get vaccinated
Canadians are reminded to keep all vaccinations up-to-date. 

  • Infants, Children and Adolescents:
    Vaccination is the most important preventive measure in controlling the spread of pertussis.  The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommends that infants be immunized at two, four, and six months of age with a booster at 18 months of age and four to six years of age.
    Adolescents should receive a booster at 14-16 years of age.
    More information is available in the provincial/territorial immunization schedules.
  • Adults: 
    Currently, only a single dose of pertussis (given as Tdap – tetanus and diphtheria vaccine combined with pertussis vaccine) is recommended in adulthood.   For adults who have not previously received a dose of pertussis vaccine, it is recommended that the diphtheria-tetanus (Td) booster dose be replaced by the combined Tdap vaccine.
  • Travellers and adults in regular contact with infants should be up-to-date on pertussis immunization regardless of their travel destination. 

2.Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette:
Cover your mouth and nose with your arm, not your hand, to reduce the spread of germs.  If you do sneeze or cough in your hand, wash your hands immediately or use a hand sanitizer. 

3. Monitor your health

  • If you develop symptoms similar to pertussis when you return to Canada, you should see a health care provider.
  • Describe your symptoms to your health care provider before your appointment. That way he/she can arrange to see you without exposing others to pertussis.

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