Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 7: Infectious Diseases

7.3 Respiratory Tract Infections

7.3.7 Pertussis Prophylactic Treatment for Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Content in the standard was modified on 7/05/2022.

Staff and children who have been exposed to someone with pertussis (whooping cough), regardless of immunization status, should be treated with preventive (prophylactic) antibiotics. Also, exposed staff and children should complete all age-appropriate vaccines. Staff and children who have been exposed should work with their health care provider or the local health department to decide on the appropriate treatment and when they may return to the early care and education program.1–3 

Pertussis can cause severe symptoms in infants that can put them at risk for severe disease.2 Preventive treatment is recommended for high-risk people within 21 days of exposure to someone who is infected. High-risk people are at a higher risk for developing severe illness, or exposing others who may develop more severe illness. Preventive treatment for children and staff can reduce spread in early care and education programs.1
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Inclusion/Exclusion/Dismissal of Ill Children Notification of the Facility About Infectious Disease or Other Problems by Parents/Guardians Immunization Documentation Immunization of Staff Informing Public Health Authorities of Pertussis Cases Exclusion for Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pertussis (whooping cough), postexposure antimicrobial prophylaxis, information for health professionals. Web site. Last reviewed November 18, 2019. Accessed March 1, 2022.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Section 3: Summaries of infectious disease, pertussis. In: Kimberlin DW, Barnett, ED, Lynfield R, Sawyer MH, eds. Red Book: 2021 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2021:578-589

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing Infectious Diseases in Child Care and Schools: A Quick Reference Guide. Aronson SS, Shope TR, eds. 5th ed. Itasca, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2020


Content in the standard was modified on 7/05/2022.