Whooping cough caution

The Ministry of Health is encouraging people gathering for the festive season to protect babies from whooping cough. New Zealand is in the middle of a whooping cough outbreak, with more than 6700 cases since August 2011. Babies are the most vulnerable, and could catch the disease from siblings, parents, family members and friends.

Ministry of Health child and youth health chief adviser Pat Tuohy said people should consider getting vaccinated against whooping cough if they planned to be around babies in the festive season.

From January 1, pregnant women can be immunised free between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy to protect their baby.

A Public Health South report to the Southern District Health Board last week said the whooping cough outbreak was less severe in the South than elsewhere.

In the year to October 31, 184 cases were recorded, compared with 61 for all of 2011.

eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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