Whooping Cough (Pertussis)

Information for Early Learning Services (ELS)/ Kōhanga Reo staff and parents/ caregivers of children

Whooping cough (pertussis) is a serious and highly infectious disease. It is spread through the community by coughing and sneezing. Young children, especially babies under 12 months of age and those with a weak immune system (immunocompromised) can become extremely ill from whooping cough.

For further information, please read the following information sheets:


Information for schools, students and parents of students

  • Immunisation against whooping cough is effective and students are encouraged to be up-to-date with their immunisations. Parents should ensure young children and babies are immunised on time and that the first scheduled immunisations for babies are not delayed. All pregnant women can get a free whooping cough vaccine in the second and third trimester of their pregnancy.
  • If a student has any of the following symptoms they should see their doctor, nurse or health provider:
    • cough lasting more than 2 weeks
    • sudden coughing attacks especially if they end in vomiting, breathlessness, or a 'whoop' sound
  • People with whooping cough are infectious until they have had a period of antibiotic treatment - or if not given antibiotics, until 3 weeks after the cough has started. During this infectious period a student with whooping cough:
    • should not attend school
    • lshould take care, where possible, to avoid contact with women in the late stages of pregnancy (because of the possible risk to their newborns), babies and young children. 
  • Good hand hygiene is always beneficial and it is important to remember to cover your cough and not to cough on, or near, babies.