Whoop­ing cough on the rise

Feilding-Rangitikei Herald - - Taihape - MIRI SCHROETER

The num­ber of whoop­ing cough cases has surged in Manawatu¯ amid a na­tional out­break of the disease.

There have been eight cases since July, but five of them were in Novem­ber and med­i­cal au­thor­i­ties are urg­ing peo­ple to get vac­ci­nated.

The disease is com­monly as­so­ci­ated with long cough­ing episodes and it can re­sult in death.

From the start of the year un­til Novem­ber 10, more than 1300 cases of whoop­ing cough have been recorded na­tion­wide.

Of th­ese cases, 82 in­volved ba­bies less than 1 year old. Half of th­ese ba­bies were hos­pi­talised.

MidCen­tral med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Craig Thorn­ley said the disease usu­ally started with a runny nose and an ir­ri­tat­ing cough.

‘‘Af­ter one to two weeks it typ­i­cally pro­gresses to a se­vere cough in in­fants and chil­dren.’’

The disease could be par­tic­u­larly se­vere in ba­bies and could re­sult in dif­fi­culty feed­ing and breath­ing, Thorn­ley said.

‘‘The disease is some­times known as the 100-day cough be­cause of the length of time it takes to re­cover from it.’’

The vac­cine is funded for all chil­dren and preg­nant women be­tween 28 and 38 weeks.

The Min­istry of Health is warn­ing that the longer im­mu­ni­sa­tions are left, the longer ba­bies are vul­ner­a­ble to the cough.

And with Christ­mas and New Year com­ing up, peo­ple need to be ex­tra vig­i­lant as they gather to cel­e­brate, in or­der to pro­tect young ba­bies, the min­istry says.

When preg­nant women are vac­ci­nated, they pass their im­mu­nity on to their ba­bies, pro­tect­ing them un­til they are able to be im­mu­nised at 6 weeks of age.

The of­fi­cial dec­la­ra­tion of an out­break comes just days af­ter med­i­cal of­fi­cer of health Dr An­drew Lind­say warned an out­break was be­gin­ning.

Be­tween Tues­day and Wed­nes­day, 21 cases of the cough were con­firmed in Nel­son and Marl­bor­ough alone.

Ear­lier in Novem­ber an out­break had med­i­cal staff on Wai­heke Is­land, near Auck­land, con­cerned.


The num­ber of whoop­ing cough cases around Manawatu¯ dou­bled Novem­ber.

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