FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
7 June, 2012
Public urged to protect their families from whooping cough
In response to a large scale outbreak of whooping cough (Pertussis), Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) is urging the public to think and act to protect their families.
From the 1 January 2012 until the 2 July 2012, there have been 411 confirmed and probable cases of pertussis (whooping cough).
Dr Andrew Lindsay, Medical Officer of Health said “notifications of whooping cough have increased rapidly with a third of this year’s cases in May alone, which shows the scale of the outbreak in our region.
“Whooping cough is very contagious and can have severe impacts on babies and infants,
it is very important to look at how you can protect your family, friends and the people you
Children under one-year-old, who are the most at risk of severe illness, have accounted for
seven percent of cases and 62 percent of hospitalisations nationally.
On time vaccination is the best way to protect babies and infants. The free vaccination programme in children starts at six weeks then followed at three months and then at five months of age. Babies will not be protected until they have received all three doses. If you are not sure if your child’s vaccinations are up to date – ask your doctor.
Older children and adults can be a source of infection too. Older children should have further vaccinations at age four and 11, and adults living with (or expecting) a new baby should also strongly consider getting the booster. The vaccinations at age four and 11 are free on the national immunisation schedule. Adults will normally need to pay for their boosters.
“If you have a cough - stay away from babies and infants. If your work brings you into contact with babies, infants or pregnant women then we strongly recommend getting a booster if you have not had one in the last 10 years” said Dr Lindsay.
Nationally, there have been more than 3,400 cases reported since August 2011 when the current outbreak began.
More information is available at www.arphs.govt.nz
For media enquiries, contact:
Cell: 021 243 2421
For public enquiries, contact:
Auckland Regional Public Health Service
09 623 4600
If you have a media enquiry, please phone ARPHS on (09) 623 4600 and ask to speak to a member of the Communications team.
All requests for interviews, photographs or filming must be made through this team.
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