DHB warns whooping cough is in the district
Hawke's Bay DHB is warning of several confirmed cases of whooping cough (pertussis) in CHB.
Whooping cough is a very infectious disease that causes coughing fits. It is caused by a bacteria that is easily spread by coughing and sneezing. Immunisation against whooping cough is available.
Whooping cough can be serious in babies and young children, especially those who are not fully immunised. They can stop breathing and turn blue during coughing fits, get pneumonia, a lung infection, convulsions or brain damage.
Most babies under a year old with whooping cough will need to go to hospital. A few will need to go into intensive care. One of every 100 babies with whooping cough will die.
Teenagers and adults can also get complications like pneumonia, but whooping cough is usually less serious in these ages, especially if the person has been immunised.
People with heart or lung problems or with immune system problems are more at risk of complications.
The best way to prevent whooping cough is to be up to date with immunisations. This means getting immunised against whooping cough.
Protection from this immunisation decreases over time, and people can get whooping cough years after their last immunisation or infection. Because babies are most at risk, pregnant women should get a whooping cough booster vaccine for free, between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy, in every pregnancy. The mother can then pass her immunity on to her baby to help protect them until they are old enough to be immunised themselves.
Other adults can have booster vaccinations for a cost, if you work with, care for or live with babies under a year old, or have heart, lung or immune system problems.
■ For further information on whooping cough contact your doctor or Hawke’s Bay District Health Board Population Health on (06) 834 1815. You can also phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 at any time of the day or night to speak to a registered nurse. For more information on immunisations, go to www.immune.org.nz
Immunisation is advised as whooping cough cases are confirmed in CHB.