Sunday, June 12, 2011

Whooping cough warning for parents

whooping cough
PARENTS within the Young community are being encouraged to protect their children and ensure family and friends interacting with newborns are up to date with all whooping cough vaccinations.

This latest warning comes as the Murrumbidgee Local Area Health Network are faced with a whooping cough epidemic.

In this region alone, more than 500 cases of whooping cough have been reported.

“We have had 504 cases presented, 10 alone in Young this year – to give you an indication, at the same time last year we had 153 cases reported,” director of public health Tracy Oakman said.

What has health professionals even more worried is people who are neglecting to vaccinate their children, putting them at risk of more serious complications and even death.

“Toddlers, young children and adults can contract the disease but it is babies under six months that we are most worried about, because unfortunately they can die,” Ms Oakman said.

“Our data reflects a state-wide epidemic but there are a lot of cases reported across the country.”

While the prevalence of whooping cough continues to fluctuate, there are a surprising number of cases being reported each year.

In 2007, nearly 3000 people reported contracting the condition, in 2008 there were 8757 cases addressed by medical professionals.

In 2009 there was a record 12,575 cases reported. The highest number in five years.

Figures were down again in 2010 with 9272 reports of whooping cough across the state but if this trend is anything to go by 2011 will top this figure.

In the six months of 2011 more than 5000 cases of whooping cough, also known as Pertussis had been reported to GPs.

In the 13 days of this month more than 120 residents in NSW have reported suffering from the disease.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing.

The coughing can make it hard for the patient to breathe.

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