Pro­tect­ing kids from win­ter ills

Manukau Courier - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMILY FORD

Sara Tara’s life changed when she had her first son, Quinn, nearly three years ago. At only five months old, the young­ster, who’s now two, was sick with bron­chi­oli­tis dur­ing his first win­ter.

It was a tough year for the Ma¯ngere mother, with Quinn in and out of hos­pi­tal with the res­pi­ra­tory con­di­tion, which com­monly af­fects new­borns in win­ter.

‘‘I would spend half the night hear­ing him with a cough that sounded like a freight train. It was re­ally scary,’’ Tara says.

‘‘I didn’t think they could get such an ill­ness so young but of course they can, they’re so weak when they’re lit­tle.’’

When Tara was preg­nant at the be­gin­ning of this year, get­ting the chance to pos­si­bly pre­vent her sec­ond son, Ju­lian, from suf­fer­ing the same fate was a no-brainer. She’s one of the many women world­wide who are part of a vac­ci­na­tion trial against RSV, a res­pi­ra­tory virus which causes things like bron­chi­oli­tis and pneu­mo­nia in young chil­dren.

The trial is be­ing done at hos­pi­tals in Auck­land, Welling­ton, and Christchurch and is given as ei­ther a live vac­cine or a placebo to women in their third trimester of preg­nancy ahead of their ba­bies’ first win­ter.

Kidz First Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal pae­di­a­tri­cian Adrian Tren­holme has been lead­ing the study for Coun­ties Manukau Health for the past two years. Hav­ing worked at Mid­dle­more for more than 30 years, he knows the prob­lems the hos­pi­tal faces with res­pi­ra­tory ill­nesses each win­ter.

‘‘We have a prob­lem with this dis­ease and we need a vac­cine for it. When you be­long to a com­mu­nity you be­long to the so­lu­tion,’’ Tren­holme says.

The trial has given Tara a sense of re­as­sur­ance of young Ju­lian’s health and she en­cour­ages other ex­pec­tant moth­ers to take part if time al­lows.

‘‘I wouldn’t wish it [bron­chi­oli­tis] on my worst en­emy . . . If you can pre­vent it why wouldn’t you.’’

Mid­dle­more Hos­pi­tal is look­ing for more women who are ex­pect­ing ba­bies from March to July 2018 to par­tic­i­pate in the trial. Women who are 18 to 40-years-old, have had fewer than five chil­dren, and with no se­ri­ous med­i­cal prob­lems are en­cour­aged to talk to their mid­wife about tak­ing part.

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