Whoop­ing cough case num­bers rise

Bay News - - NEWS -

Yo‘ ‘

ur baby needs to have three doses of the vac­cine to be pro­tected against whoop­ing cough— even if you were im­mu­nised dur­ing preg­nancy.’’

Dr Luke Brad­ford

Moth­ers and preg­nant women are be­ing urged to take ad­van­tage of free im­mu­ni­sa­tion for their chil­dren as a whoop­ing cough out­break con­tin­ues to af­fect the Western Bay.

Whoop­ing cough, also known as per­tus­sis, is a se­ri­ous ill­ness that can be es­pe­cially dan­ger­ous for ba­bies and young chil­dren.

So far this year au­thor­i­ties have been no­ti­fied of 231 peo­ple in the Western Bay of Plenty hav­ing caught the dis­ease, in­clud­ing 172 in Tau­ranga.

This com­pares with just 75 in Tau­ranga for the whole of last year.

The Western Bay of Plenty Pri­mary Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (PHO) and Toi Te Ora Pub­lic Health say moth­ers can pro­tect their chil­dren against the dis­ease by vis­it­ing their fam­ily doc­tors for free vac­ci­na­tions.

Tau­ranga GP and PHOco-chair­man Dr Luke Brad­ford says preg­nant women should get a free vac­ci­na­tion for them­selves be­tween 28 and 38 weeks of preg­nancy.

“The whoop­ing cough vac­cine is safe for use in preg­nancy,” Dr Brad­ford says.

“The vac­cine it­selfwill not get passed on to baby, but the mother’s im­mu­nity to whoop­ing cough will.”

Dr Brad­ford says that ba­bies, af­ter they were born, should get their free vac­ci­na­tions at 6weeks, 3months and 5months of age.

“Your baby needs to have three doses of the vac­cine to be pro­tected against whoop­ing cough— even if you were im­mu­nised dur­ing preg­nancy.”

Toi Te Ora Pub­lic Health’s Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Dr Neil deWet says it is im­por­tant for par­ents to en­sure their chil­dren are kept up-to-date­with all the rou­tine child­hood im­mu­ni­sa­tions.

He says whoop­ing cough could be a “very se­vere” ill­ness for young ba­bies.

“Older chil­dren and adults who get whoop­ing cough are less likely to be se­ri­ously ill, but can spread it to oth­ers,” he says.

For that rea­son, it was best for peo­ple­with whoop­ing cough to stay away from work, school or preschool un­til their doc­tor told them it was safe to re­turn.

Dr de Wet says this was usu­ally af­ter a short pe­riod of an­tibi­otic treat­ment or, if not given an­tibi­otics, three weeks af­ter the cough started.

Wash­ing your hands of­ten and cov­er­ing coughs and sneezes can also help pre­vent whoop­ing cough from spread­ing, Dr de Wet said.

It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant not to cough near ba­bies, aswhoop­ing cough is spread by cough­ing and sneez­ing.

PHOTO/FILE

Toi Te Ora Pub­lic Health’s Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer of Health Dr Neil de Wet says it is im­por­tant for par­ents to en­sure their chil­dren are kept up-to-date with all the rou­tine child­hood im­mu­ni­sa­tions.

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