Whooping cough continues to circulate at very high rates around Tasmania. The current epidemic was noted in August last year, and monthly notifications continue to increase with a total of 121 cases in January 2019.
Young children are at the highest risk of severe disease and death. Prevention strategies include immunisation for babies at 6 weeks and 4 and 6 months. Free vaccines for expectant mothers are available and best given between 28 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. Partners, grandparents and siblings should also be vaccinated. This is called ‘cocooning’ or protective the baby.
Amongst the general public, it is important to raise awareness of early diagnosis and treatment of cases, by encouraging people with coughing illnesses to seek early medical attention. This will facilitate timely treatment of people with whooping cough (to reduce infectiousness) and follow up of high risk contacts.
People with coughing illnesses are encouraged to avoid contact with infants less than 6 months of age until a diagnosis is made and they are no longer infectious.
Nurse Practitioner/Authorised Nurse Immuniser
Public Health Services