Vaccination against B. pertussis is the best way to prevent infection.
The original vaccine against pertussis containing whole-cell components was developed in the 1930s and was in wide clinical use by the mid-1940s. Whole-cell pertussis vaccines are no longer used in the United States but are still used in many other countries.
The vaccination used in the United States today consists of purified, inactivated components of B. pertussis cells. These acellular injections are offered in different dosages and compositions based on the recipient's age.
Pediatric formulations for pertussis (DTaP) include diphtheria and tetanus along with pertussis vaccine.
The adolescent and adult version (Tdap) also include tetanus with the pertussis as well as a reduced amount of diphtheria as compared to the pediatric version. There are also booster vaccines specifically formulated for adolescents and adults.
Specific schedules for administering these vaccines should be adhered to in order to provide the most successful immunity. Current vaccinations do not provide lifelong immunity and boosters are recommended to help prevent infection.
A summary of vaccine recommendations from the CDC are available at: