Whooping cough cases are up by 1660% on last year on the Northern Rivers.
Whooping cough cases are up by 1660% on last year on the Northern Rivers. Dmitry Naumov

Whooping cough outbreak has Northern Rivers on high alert

PARENTS and pregnant women are being warned to be vaccinated against whooping cough after the number of cases on the Northern Rivers has jumped by a massive 1660%.

North Coast Assistant Public Heath Director, Greg Bell said there had been 83 confirmed cases of the illness on the Northern Rivers this year, compared with just five at the same time in 2015.

Mr Bell said the Northern Rivers was one of the worst areas in NSW for whopping cough cases at the moment.

"We have got a large number of cases of whooping cough in our area and it's quite serious," he said.

"We are in the middle of a spike and we have been telling people that.

"The whole state is on alert for cases of whooping cough."

The last major outbreak of whooping cough on the Northern Rivers was in 2008 and 2009.

"After that outbreak we were lower than the state average for whooping cough for the past few years," Mr Bell said.

Pockets of unvaccinated people in the region was the cause for the rise and fall in whooping cough cases, Mr Bell said, because we do not have herd immunity to the illness on the Northern Rivers.

"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.



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