Friday 9 March 2018Media release3 minutes to read
Pregnant women and babies under one need to be vaccinated against pertussis (whooping cough), Medical Officer of Health Dr Cheryl Brunton says.
“There is a national epidemic of pertussis and the number of cases on the Coast is beginning to rise. Babies and children under the age of one are most at risk of serious illness and complications from pertussis,” she says.
“On time vaccination of babies and children against pertussis is their best protection against the disease. The vaccine is safe and free for pregnant women and can protect their babies until they are old enough to be vaccinated”
In February, six cases of pertussis were notified to community and Public Health: Five cases in Buller and one in Grey district. In the week ending 2 March, there were two cases in Buller, one in Grey and one in Westland.
Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly infectious disease that is spread by coughing and sneezing. It's caused by bacteria which damage the breathing tubes.
The symptoms usually appear around a week after infection. Pertussis tends to develop in 3 stages:
This stage is when you're most infectious. It lasts 1 or 2 weeks.
This stage usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks but can persist for up to 10 weeks.
During this stage, the cough gradually gets better. After several weeks the cough disappears. However, for months you may still get coughing fits whenever you get a respiratory infection like a cold.
See your doctor if you think you or a family member may have pertussis (whooping cough), particularly if they:
Babies under the age of one who get pertussis are more likely to become seriously ill and need hospital treatment.
Page last updated: 17 April 2019
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