Whooping cough cases prompt warning
PREGNANT women and parents are being urged to be aware of the symptoms of whooping cough and ensure they and their children are vaccinated.
The health warning comes after the latest data from the Townsville Hospital and Health Service reveal between January 1 and April 14 this year, there were 10 cases of whooping cough, down from 16 cases during the same period the previous year. Five cases were recorded during the same period in 2017.
Northern Queensland Primary Health Network is encouraging the community to take control of their health and ensure they are up-to-date with their vaccinations so they have the best protection possible against preventable disease.
"Whooping cough is a highly infectious bacterial lung infection that can affect people at any age that easily spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes," Northern Queensland Primary Health Network CEO John Gregg said. "Whooping cough can cause serious health issues in babies and young children, especially those who are not vaccinated."
Mr Gregg said people who were not vaccinated were at high risk of catching whooping cough.
"When babies catch whooping cough, the symptoms can be serious," he said. "Young babies could get pneumonia (lung infection), have coughing fits, and many have trouble breathing."
Townsville Public Health Unit director Dr Steven Donohue, Director said all pregnant women should receive a booster vaccine at about 28 weeks which gives babies some immunity from their mother when they are born.
He said the vaccine for children is scheduled at two, four and six months.
The early symptoms of whooping cough are often similar to those of a common cold and may include:
- runny or blocked nose
- watering eyes
- dry, irritating cough
- sore throat
- slightly raised temperature
- feeling generally unwell.
These early symptoms of whooping cough can last for 1 to 2 weeks, before becoming more severe.
The second stage of whooping cough is often called the paroxysmal stage and involves intense bouts of coughing and symptoms may include: intense bouts of coughing, which bring up thick phlegm; a 'whoop' sound with each sharp intake of breath after coughing; vomiting after coughing and redness or blueness in the face from the effort of coughing.