Some statistics about whooping cough

Miscellaneous statistics about whooping cough

Here are some basic facts and figures about whooping cough from official sources. To get more detail or know my comments and interpretations just follow the indicated links. 

 England and Wales

 During the 1940s, before whooping cough vaccine was available there were over 100,000 cases in England and Wales every year and the mortality rate was about 1%. After immunization became commonplace the numbers fell dramatically but rose again in the 1970s and 1980s as the vaccine uptake dropped to 40%. Now uptake is about 94% and incidence is once again low especially in younger children. Case numbers have apparently  risen in teens and adults over the last 20 years and make up half to three quarters of cases but this is mainly a result of more cases being diagnosed and confirmed because of increased awareness and easier testing. Peaks tend to occur every 4 to 5 years. Recent UK cases are shown in News

 About 5 deaths per year are recorded but the number has now dropped dramatically as a result of the pregnancy booster shot. Zero in 2017 and 1 in 2018. In 2004 there were 504 notifications. In 2011 there were over 1000 notifications. The increase is probably due to increased awareness and the ability to diagnose it by recently developed testing methods. In 2012 there were 9741 laboratory confirmed cases with 14 deaths. During 2016 there were 5945 confirmed cases, dropping to 2947 in 2018. The total in 2019 was 3681.

Since the Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions applied from 23rd March 2020 the incidence of whooping cough has fallen by over 90%.

There is underdiagnosis and under-reporting in all countries. The true numbers can only be guessed but are many times greater than official statistics.

United States 

The total number of cases in 2018 was 13,439 cases, 2017 18,975 cases, 2014  32,971, and in 2012  over 41,000. This is the highest number for about 60 years. There were 18 reported deaths. In 1999 there were 7,288 cases. In 2000 there were 7,867. The CDC has an excellent website with up to date information and recommendations on the treatment and prevention of whooping cough (pertussis). USA CDC site.

World Health Organization

What they say about whooping cough. WHO on whooping cough 

Bordetella pertussis genome

If you want to get really intimate with Bordetella pertussis visit The Sanger Centre and download the whole DNA sequence. Pertussis genome

It is my opinion, based on my research, that the actual number of cases that occur is at least 10 times the number reported.This is based on the fact that I have studied every case of whooping cough that I have detected in the community in which I work since 1977. This is in Keyworth, England, a community of 11,000. In England communities like this are often served by a single medical practice, making it possible to study such things accurately.

Details of the Keyworth Whooping Cough Study 

 UK Health Security Agency whooping cough information (excellent resource for incidence etc) (opens in new Tab).

This page has been reviewed and updated on 20 March 2023