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Whooping cough cases on the rise

February 9, 2024 9:27 am in by
Dr Nicolas Smoll from the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit

The Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit has seen an increase in the number of whooping cough cases in the community in recent weeks.

There have already been 27 cases recorded in the region, which stretches from Caloundra to Gympie, this year.

The five-year average is 52 cases a year.

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Cases of whooping cough are surging across Australia with some states recording numbers four times higher than recent years.

Experts say the rise can, in part, by attributed to a lack of immunity after months of isolation during the pandemic.

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that spreads from one person to another.

Doctor Nicolas Smoll from the Sunshine Coast Public Health Unit said it is often school age children who get it.

“But we are noticing this all across the Sunshine Coast both in adults and children. It’s typically worse in the unvaccinated child which is why we’re hoping everyone can get vaccinated if they’re not vaccinated for this at the moment.

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“We can spread this for a long period of time so early diagnosis means we can treat it with antibiotics and thus we can reduce the period of time a person is spreading the illness.

“So whooping cough the classic symptom is the barking cough. It’s this very deep and violent cough that can go for a long time an sometimes people vomit after they cough. It’s quite a common sounding cough that sounds like a bark,” Dr Smoll said.

It causes severe bouts of coughing and may cause serious health problems, more so in young babies and children.

The whooping cough vaccine is on the childhood immunisation schedule.

This vaccination has reduced the rate of illness and hospitalisation from whooping cough in Australia.

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Locals can book an appointment with their GP to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.

Parents of school-aged children should receive a letter from the Public Health Unit in coming days with more information on whooping cough and its treatment.

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