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Who is at highest risk for suffering complications from Pertussis?

Updated February 18, 2023

Young infants are at highest risk for developing complications from pertussis. Complications of pertussis in infants include apnea, pneumonia, convulsions, encephalopathy (brain inflammation), and death. The CDC estimates that half of all babies under the age of one who develop pertussis will require hospitalization. Older children, teens, and adults may also be at risk for suffering complications from pertussis. Complications in older children and adults may include rib fractures from severe coughing, loss of bladder control, weight loss, abdominal hernias, otitis media, and fainting.   Pregnant women and persons with diabetes may also be at higher risk of developing pertussis complications. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: NVIC encourages you to become fully informed about Pertussis and the Pertussis vaccine by reading all sections in the Table of Contents , which contain many links and resources such as the manufacturer product information inserts, and to speak with one or more trusted health care professionals before making a vaccination decision for yourself or your child. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice.


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