10 May 2012
Exposure to Whooping Cough at Middlemore Hospital
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) has received notification that a health professional working at Middlemore Hospital maternity services has been diagnosed with whooping cough (Pertussis).
Whooping Cough is a highly infectious disease caused by bacteria which is easily spread through coughing and sneezing, much like the common cold. However, when contracted by vulnerable groups, such as babies and infants (those under 12 months of age) and women in the last three months of their pregnancy, whooping cough can lead to severe illness and rarely, death.
Upon notification, ARPHS, working closely with Middlemore Hospital, initiated an immediate response including seeking expert advice from infectious disease physicians. Mothers who may have been exposed to whooping cough while at hospital were contacted directly by ARPHS, by phone and letter, and advice provided regarding symptoms and antibiotic prophylaxis. General Practitioners (GPs) of those who may have been exposed to whooping cough in hospital, have also been informed in writing and appropriate management advice provided.
All Lead Maternity Caregivers (LMC), including GP’s and postnatal Midwives of the indentified
contacts, were provided with information and guidance on treatment of mothers and babies should they visit for advice and on what they can do as the LMC to protect those in their care from Pertussis.
In addition, ARPHS has provided advice to Lead Maternity Carers throughout the region(through the three metro District Health Boards).
Clinical Director, Dr Julia Peters says “we fully understand that these mothers may be concerned about the health of their newborn babies. We encourage them to be vigilant for symptoms and to contact their GP immediately if they have any concerns. Auckland Regional Public Health Service is also available on: 09 623 4600 or www.arphs.govt.nz”
For Media Information Call:
021 243 2421