In a follow-up to a report on the pertussis situation on the Pacific island of Guam two weeks ago, The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) received three new case reports of pertussis, or whooping cough in three children.

Pertussis infographic/CDC
Pertussis infographic/CDC

The newest patients include a 2 year old, 11 year old, and 12 year old child.  This brings the total cases to 14 on the island.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory disease. It is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis.

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 (WATCH). Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

The best way to protect against pertussis is immunization.

There are vaccines for infants, children, preteens, teens and adults. The childhood vaccine is called DTaP, and the pertussis booster vaccine for adolescents and adults is called Tdap. Talk to your healthcare provider about getting vaccinated against pertussis and read more about pertussis prevention.