Pertussis: Don’t leave patients exposed

Why you should vaccinate adults against pertussis—especially those with asthma.1-4

Know the Impact

Pertussis is highly contagious1

  • Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial infection that can cause serious complications, not just for children1
  • Transmission most commonly occurs person-to-person through contact with respiratory droplets, or by contact with airborne droplets of respiratory secretions5
  • One infected person can transmit pertussis to as many as 17 other people1

Pertussis is largely underrecognized and underreported in adults2

Incidence of pertussis in people aged 50+ is 42-105 times higher than medically reported cases.2


Pertussis spreads quickly and at a high rate1,6

  • Pertussis is one of the most poorly controlled vaccine-preventable diseases6
  • Pertussis has a substantially higher transmission rate than that of other highly infectious vaccine-preventable diseases1
Infected person
Transmitted to
20 15 10 5 0
  • Pertussis
  • Rubella
  • Diphtheria
  • Polio
  • Mumps

Know the risks

Pertussis can increase complications in adults with asthma3,4

  • Pertussis infection is more likely in patients with chronic respiratory conditions, like asthma3,4
  • Adults with asthma have a 4x greater risk of pertussis compared with people without asthma3,4

Pertussis hospitalization risk is the highest for adults with respiratory conditions3

  • Hospitalization for pertussis is more likely in adults with respiratory conditions like asthma3
  • In adults, pertussis-related hospitalizations were most frequently diagnosed as a result of asthma exacerbations3
  • More than 87% (102/117) of adults >21 years of age hospitalized for pertussis have at least 1 underlying medical condition7

Know the Effects

In adults, pertussis infection may lead to a spectrum of complications, especially in those with chronic respiratory conditions like asthma8,9

  • Prolonged cough illness
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Vomiting
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Rib fracture
  • Pneumonia

Pertussis can cause severe disease and be devastating8,9


Pertussis can have an economic impact on adults—especially those with asthma1,4

Adults may suffer severe and long-term outcomes from pertussis, as well as financial burden1,4

  • A study showed that adults lost a mean of 7 workdays due to pertussis9
  • Total societal costs related to pertussis in adults have been estimated at up to $1,950 per case1

Help prevent pertussis

Tdapa vaccination is critical and can have a significant impact in adults10

Tdap vaccination can help protect adults from the burden of pertussis, especially those living with asthma10

Tdap vaccination rates in adults remain lower than in other age groups, leaving adults at risk11,12

  • Many adults remain unvaccinated11,12
  • There is suboptimal Tdap vaccination coverage in adults compared with Tdap vaccination coverage in adolescents11,12

coverage rate

coverage rate

Help protect adults from pertussis—especially those with asthma—with Tdap vaccination.10