Whooping Cough | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes it?

Bacteria (germs) cause whooping cough. Whooping cough is highly contagious, which means other people can easily catch it from you.

Whooping cough bacteria are released into the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. You can get whooping cough if you breathe in these bacteria. You can also get it if you touch a surface (such as someone’s hand) that is coated with the bacteria.

You should see your doctor if you think you have whooping cough or if you have been around someone who might have it.


Pertussis: A Disease Affecting All Ages by DS Gregory, M.D. (American Family Physician August 01, 2006, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20060801/420.html)

Funding and support for this material have been provided by GlaxoSmithKline.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 05/14
Created: 09/06