Whooping cough cases double

AN OUTBREAK of whooping cough across the state has resulted in more than double the number of cases reported on the Fraser Coast compared to last year.

There were 55 cases reported in 2009 and there have been 139 cases reported so far this year.

Queensland Health is encouraging anyone who has contact with young babies to take extra precautions to protect vulnerable members of the community against the infection.

Newborn babies and young children are among the most vulnerable and can become extremely ill if exposed to the infection.

Dr Madhumati Chatterji, public health medical officer of the Wide Bay public health unit, said parents, grandparents and those who work with young children should be fully immunised against the disease.

“This includes siblings, friends and other family members and people who work with young babies such as child care or health care workers.

“Babies who are exposed to whooping cough are at risk of developing severe health problems such as pneumonia, seizures, brain damage, permanent disability or even death.

“Babies have died in Australia from this disease.”

Dr Chatterji said across Queensland there had been 114 notifications of infections in babies under six months.

Prevent the spread of whooping cough

Keep your baby away from anyone with a cough.

Ensure other children in the house are up-to-date with their whooping cough vaccination that is recommended for babies at two, four and six months of age with a booster dose at four years of age and a second booster for Year 10 students as part of the School Based Vaccination Program.

Make sure you and anyone who cares for your child have a booster shot for whooping cough. People can talk to their GP or other provider about getting a prescription for the vaccine. The vaccine is provided free for the parents of newborn babies.

Anyone with symptoms of whooping cough should see their doctor for diagnosis and treatment as early treatment can prevent the infection from getting worse or spreading.

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