More than 100 whooping cough cases on Northern Rivers
CASES of whooping cough continue to rise across the Northern Rivers with more than 100 people now testing positive for the illness.
North Coast Assistant Director of Public Health, Greg Bell, said an additional 18 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) had been detected in the past week.
Over the years, Mr Bell said the number of whooping cough cases fluctuated from 101 in 2016, to eight over the same time in 2015, to 21 at the same time in 2014.
He said spikes in the number of cases had been noticed in the three to five-year age group and the nine to 12-year age group.
Mr Bell warned adults about being complacent if they think they have whooping cough, as they can easily pass the illness on.
“If people suspect they have the illness we hope they don’t just say that’s whooping cough, I’ll just have to put up with it; they need to go and get a swab and get tested,” he said.
“It could be something else, some other sort of respiratory problem, or if it’s whooping cough it can be hit with antiboitics so the person will become not infectious to anyone around them.”
Mr Bell said he hoped the ‘no jab, no pay’ legislation would make more unvaccinated Northern Rivers residents get immunised.
“Whooping cough is always in the community, even when you have got high immunisation rates you still get little waves of the illness,” he said.
It is crucial that mothers in the third trimester of their pregnancy and anyone who is not vaccinated against whooping cough get immunised, Mr Bell said.
Any affected person can spread whooping cough by coughing infected bacteria into the air which can be inhaled by others.
Symptoms of Whooping Cough
>Whooping cough usually begins like a cold with a blocked or runny nose, tiredness, mild fever and a cough.
>The cough gets worse and severe bouts of uncontrollable coughing can develop. Coughing bouts can be followed by vomiting, choking or taking a big gasping breath which causes a "whooping" sound. The cough can last for many weeks and can be worse at night.
>Some newborns may not cough at all but they can stop breathing and turn blue. Some babies have difficulties feeding and can choke or gag.
>Older children and adults may just have a cough that lasts for many weeks. They may not have the whoop.