Whooping cough outbreak prompts urgent warning from health authorities

HEALTH authorities are pleading for parents to make sure their kids whooping cough vaccinations are up to date following a frightening spike in cases this year.

In the past two months, Queensland Health has been notified of 14 outbreaks in schools in the Gold Coast, Darling Downs and North Brisbane areas.

Acting Executive Director, Communicable Diseases Branch, Dr Heidi Carroll said the department has received 1,595 notifications of whooping cough across the state, a 25 percent increase on notifications from the same time last year.


“It’s not as high as we’ve seen in the last decade, but it’s tracking upwards, which is why it’s important to ensure you and your children’s whooping cough vaccinations are up-to-date,” she said.

“Whooping cough epidemics generally occur every three to four years – and we have not seen a high number of cases since the epidemic that commenced in 2008 and continued until 2012.”

Whooping Cough is particularly dangerous for infants, with most hospitalisations and deaths occurring in babies younger than six months of age.

Dr Carrol said the best way for infants to be protected against the potentially deadly infection is for their mother to be vaccinated during pregnancy.

“The Whooping cough vaccine for pregnant women is free under the National Immunisation Program and recommended in the third trimester of each pregnancy,” she said.

The childhood schedule includes whooping cough vaccines for babies at two, four, and six months of age, with booster doses for children at 18 months, four years, and in year 7.

A Whooping cough vaccination is also recommended every ten years for healthcare workers, early childhood workers, people in close contact with infants, and people aged 65 and over.