Whooping cough epidemic raises new fears

GET a whooping cough booster shot if you have not already had one.

That is the urgent message from the North Coast Area Health Service and general practitioners on the Far North Coast.

Whooping cough is in epidemic proportions in the region, with over 1000 reports of the disease registered with the area health service last year - six times more than in the previous five years.

Public Health director Paul Corben said the North Coast community was severely affected because of low rates of immunisation.

“Immunisation is safe and an effective way to combat whooping cough, even though it is less effective than vaccinations for other diseases,” he said.

Mr Corben said the vaccination for whooping cough gradually wore off after 15 years and he was therefore urging adults to get booster shots.

Mr Corben said a person with whooping cough was highly infectious for three weeks from the time they were infected with the disease.

“A five-day course of antibiotics will render the infected person non-infectious, otherwise it is three weeks and the disease can be debilitating,” he said.

For information call the service on 6620 2100.



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