Doctors say pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease which is preventable by immunisation.
Doctors say pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease which is preventable by immunisation.

Immunise against whooping cough

CENTRAL Highlands’ parents are being warned to be on the lookout for symptoms of whooping cough after a sharp jump in the number of cases notified to Queensland Health.

Central Queensland Public Health Unit physician Dr James Smith said 182 cases of pertussis had been diagnosed so far in Central Queensland and the Central West.

This compared with 107 for the same period last year and 79 in 2009.

“Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious disease which is preventable by immunisation,” Dr Smith said.

“It is transmitted by direct contact with droplets from the nose and throat of an infected person.”

Dr Smith said the illness begins with cold-like symptoms which progress to a cough, or the child may simply begin coughing.

Severe coughing can cause the child to vomit after coughing or to lose their breath.

“Sometimes a high-pitched crowing (the whoop) is heard when inhaling,” Dr Smith said.

“The coughing can last one to three months.”

Dr Smith said immunisation and booster vaccinations were effective.

The booster shots are funded and available from family doctors and other immunisation providers for adults who have close contact with infants less than six months of age.

Eligible adults include parents, adoptive and foster parents, grandparents and any adult living in a house with infants less than six months of age.

“Mothers of newborn babies should see their family doctor or immunisation provider to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the birth of the baby,” Dr Smith said.

“Mothers of newborn babies should see their family doctor or immunisation provider to get vaccinated as soon as possible after the birth of the baby.”


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