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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Outbreak 2011 -2012

As of June 2012 this is spreading rapidly through Auckland. By 1 January 2012 there have been 322 cases of pertussis notified and over 1,500 contacts requiring follow up in the Auckland region.  This outbreak has now reached such significant numbers that containment is no longer feasible and a different approach is needed.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) will now be focussing on protecting those at greatest risk of adverse outcomes from pertussis, and promotion of pertussis immunisation.  Isolation of sick patients and widespread immunisation are the only options.

A number of resources have been developed such Fact Sheets which can be accessed by downloading from the ARPHS website here 

MEDIA RELEASE 7 June, 2012

 

Public urged to protect their families from whooping cough

In response to a large scale outbreak of whooping cough (Pertussis), Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is urging the public to think and act to protect their families.

From 1 January 2012 to 31 May 2012 there have been 322 cases of whooping cough reported in Auckland. This is five times higher than for the same time last year.

Dr Andrew Lindsay, Medical Officer of Health said “notifications of whooping cough have increased rapidly with a third of this year’s cases in May alone, which shows the scale of the outbreak in our region.

“Whooping cough is very contagious and can have severe impacts on babies and infants, it is very important to look at how you can protect your family, friends and the people you work with”.

Children under one-year-old, who are the most at risk of severe illness, have accounted for seven percent of cases and 62 percent of hospitalisations nationally.

On time vaccination is the best way to protect babies and infants. The free vaccination programme in children starts at six weeks then followed at three months and then at five months of age. Babies will not be protected until they have received all three doses. If you are not sure if your child’s vaccinations are up to date – ask your doctor.

Older children and adults can be a source of infection too.  Older children should have further vaccinations at age four and 11, and adults living with (or expecting) a new baby should also strongly consider getting the booster. The vaccinations at age four and 11 are free on the national immunisation schedule. Adults will normally need to pay for their boosters.

“If you have a cough – stay away from babies and infants. If your work brings you into contact with babies, infants or pregnant women then we strongly recommend getting a booster if you have not had one in the last 10 years.” said Dr Lindsay

Nationally, there have been more than 3,400 cases reported since August 2011 when the current outbreak began.

More information is available at www.arphs.govt.nz

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