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    Infectious Disease Prevention Section
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    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
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Communication Toolkit for Pertussis
The following have been designed for use by local and regional health departments in Texas to address pertussis. Most of the documents have been made available in .doc format so that they can be modified as needed by each jurisdiction. Documents intended for the public (as opposed to healthcare professionals) have been translated into Spanish.

Pertussis Fact Sheet (English (PDF, 697 kb) and Spanish (PDF, 271 kb)

The target population for the fact sheet is the general public. It can be used as a handout at conferences, given to cases and contacts, given by physicians to patients, and placed on websites. The fact sheet can also be found online at:



Letter to Physicians (Health Alert (.doc): Once an outbreak is identified, it is vital to notify local area physicians and hospitals as soon as possible. There are multiple purposes for this letter:

  • To reduce transmission of pertussis during an outbreak by raising the physician’s index of suspicion for pertussis, thereby treating more patients early in the course of their illness.
  • To ensure complete and prompt reporting by healthcare providers.
  • To ensure appropriate testing and treatment of pertussis suspects and contacts, and appropriate exclusion from school/work for cases.
  • To remind health care providers of the importance of vaccinating patients appropriately.

Given the specific situation, certain aspects of the letter can be removed or highlighted (e.g. in an undervaccinated community, the immunizations piece may be the most critical).

The letter should be sent out under local health authority/local health department letterhead whenever possible. During an outbreak, it is recommended that all pediatricians, family practice physicians, internists, infectious disease physicians, general practitioners, obstetricians/gynecologists, hospitals, and urgent care facilities within the local jurisdiction be notified of the outbreak. Generally, the scope of the alert should not be limited to a small geographic area (zip code, school district, etc.) because many clients travel outside of their residential area to visit their physician of choice. In some cases, the regional office may need to send out letters to surrounding counties. Please let your DSHS regional office and central office know if you distribute a health alert.

Pertussis Vaccine Recommendations (English (.doc) and Spanish (.doc): This handout can be included with the letter to physicians, given as a handout to the public, or used on the web. This handout is intended primarily for healthcare providers but can be used to provide summary pertussis vaccine information to anyone interested. The source for the content of this handout was found at:

Pertussis Testing (PDF, 69 kb): The handout can be included with the letter to physicians, given as a handout at healthcare conferences, and included on websites. This handout is intended for healthcare providers only. This handout is also available on the web at:

Notification Letter to Parents/Guardians for School and Daycare (English (.doc) (Pertussis sample letter_daycare) (.doc) and Spanish (.doc) (Pertussis sample letter_daycare SPANISH): The letter is meant to inform parents and guardians of an outbreak at their child’s school. Letters to parents should (1) notify parent/guardian about the potential exposure, (2) educate parent/guardian on how to recognize signs and symptoms of pertussis, (3) communicate the potential consequences of not treating pertussis, and (4) provide information about what parents need to do to protect their child. This letter can be sent from the school or the local health authority/local health department or both. The CDC also has a modifiable template for notifications that includes information for parents and providers, available in English only:

Pertussis Press Release (doc.)  News organizations will be interested in running stories about pertussis during outbreaks. The document provides some suggestions for key points to include in a press release or news story. Many example articles can be found by conducting an internet search on pertussis. If you plan to issue a press release, please share a copy with your DSHS regional office and central office, as we may also receive media questions.

DSHS RESOURCES DSHS Immunization Branch- Literature & Forms Online Ordering - Online ordering available for vaccine preventable disease literature and forms.

DSHS Vaccine Preventable Disease Surveillance Guidelines- Resource for Local and Regional health staff who are conducting VPD investigations.

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Fact Sheet

DSHS Epi Case Criteria Guide- Resource for Local and Regional health staff to help determine case criteria and case classification.



CDC Pertussis Homepage new window

Best Practices for Health Care Professionals on the use of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) for Diagnosing Pertussis new window - A compilation of best practices intended to help health care professionals optimize the use of PCR testing for pertussis by avoiding some of the more common pitfalls leading to inaccurate results.  


Pertussis (PDFPDF, 771KB) new window -Pertussis Information from Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases, The Pink Book


CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Pertussis-Related Publications:

  • Updated Recommendations for Use of Tetanus, Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (Tdap) in Pregnant Women and Persons Who Have or Anticipate Having Close Contact with an Infant Aged <12 Months--Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), 2011 (WebHTML | PDFPDF, 207KBnew window
  • FDA Approval of Expanded Age Indication for a Tetanus Toxoid, Reduced Diphtheria Toxoid and Acellular Pertussis Vaccine (WebHTML | PDFPDF, 207KBnew window 


PCRCDC Commentary- Pertussis Diagnosis:  Avoid the Pitfalls of PCRnew window    (5:44 minutes, Date Released:  02/28/2011)                                                                                     

Learn how to optimize the use of PCR testing for pertussis by avoiding some of the more common pitfalls leading to inaccurate results.  (Note:  Sign up for a free Medscape account, if you do not already have an account,  in order to view.)



Immunization Action Coalition (IAC)- Pertussis Questions & Answersnew window

IAC Pertussis Videos-new window Several videos of children with pertussis

IAC Pertussis Case Histories-new window Stories of those affected by pertussis



Parents of Kids with Infectious Diseases (PKids)- Silence the Sounds of Pertussis Campaignnew window

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Vaccine Education Centernew window:


Last updated February 21, 2017