Whooping cough spike in region

Tayler NealeAlbany Advertiser

A spike in cases of the deadly whooping cough in the Great Southern in 2017 has renewed calls from local health authorities for pregnant women to ensure they are vaccinated against the respiratory infection.

The Great Southern has recorded 65 cases of pertussis so far this year, compared with 41 at the same time last year, according to the WA Country Health Service.

WA Country Health Service regional director David Naughton outlined the symptoms of the respiratory infection.

“Whooping cough is an infection that usually begins just like a cold, with a runny nose, watery eyes and sometimes a mild fever,” he said

“Coughing then develops, usually in bouts, followed by a deep gasp or ‘whoop’ in infants.

“Sometimes people vomit after coughing.

“It can be very serious in small children who might go blue or stop breathing during coughing attacks and may need to go to hospital.”

Mr Naughton said pregnant women should get the vaccination after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

“To reduce the risk of whooping cough in young infants, vaccination is recommended for pregnant women during their third trimester of every pregnancy,” he said.

“Parents, grandparents and carers of babies should also consider being immunised against pertussis.

“Children are scheduled to receive three doses of a pertussis-containing vaccine at two, four, and six months of age, followed by a booster dose at 18 months, four years of age and in Year 8 at school.”

Albany woman Sarah McLaughlin, who works as a dietician, recently received her pertussis vaccination.

“I work in the health profession so I think it’s important to get the vaccination,” she said.

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