This website has been developed and funded by Valneva UK Limited and is intended for a UK audience only.

Whooping Cough

Whooping Cough illustration

What is whooping cough?

Travellers around the world should watch out for this menacing microbe that affects the lungs and airways. Following initial cold-like symptoms, it causes cough bouts which can last for several months and may leave you gasping for breath.

Whooping Cough illustration

Risk areas for Whooping Cough

Map of risk areas for Whooping Cough
  • Key fact

    Of the babies who catch whooping cough before they’re a year old, around half will need time in hospital.2

  • How do you get whooping cough?

    By breathing in droplets spread by the coughs and sneezes of people infected with the bacteria that cause whooping cough.1

  • Which countries are affected by whooping cough?

    Cases of whooping cough can occur all over the world.3

  • What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

    Symptoms usually develop within 5-10 days and start with fever, sneezes, runny nose and sore throat.1,2 After a week or so, bouts of uncontrollable coughing lasting several minutes can occur. Coughing may be severe enough to cause vomiting. Sometimes people find it difficult to breathe between coughing bouts and their gasping for breath causes the characteristic “whooping” noise.1 It can take a few months before the coughing stops.2

  • How serious is whooping cough?

    Children under 6 months are particularly at risk of complications such as dehydration, breathing difficulties, pneumonia and fits. Emergency treatment may be required.1

  • Can I prevent getting whooping cough?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
    • Pregnant women are advised to have the whooping cough vaccine. This protects babies during their first weeks of life.1

Ready to get started? Check now for your nearest travel health clinic.

Get vaccinations and friendly advice from the UK's largest network of travel clinics*.

* This list is not exhaustive and other travel health providers are available.

Get started, for your free online assessment!

  1. NHS. Conditions. Whooping cough. November 2019. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (Whooping Cough). About Pertussis. Signs and Symptoms. August 2017. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  3. World Health Organization. Immunization Monitoring Pertussis reported cases. October 2020. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)

UK-BOTB-2100018 May 2021