News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Whooping cough outbreak a reminder to immunise babies

4 December 2012

Ongoing whooping cough outbreak a reminder to get babies immunised on time

Parents in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts are urged to ensure their babies receive their first immunisations on time at six weeks to protect them from whooping cough (pertussis).

An outbreak of whooping cough started in the South Island last year and has spread across New Zealand during 2012. Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service has been notified of 243 people with whooping cough in the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts since the start of this year, with 14 people requiring hospitalisation.

Whooping cough is highly infectious and is caused by bacteria that are spread through the community by coughing and sneezing in the same way as colds and influenza. Symptoms start with a runny nose, and dry cough. Coughing gets worse over the next few weeks developing into attacks of coughing which sometimes end in vomiting or with breathlessness. The ‘whoop’ sound sometimes occurs especially as a baby draws a breath after a long coughing attack. Babies under one year are most at risk of serious complications from the illness.

“Whooping cough is a preventable disease. Immunisation for whooping cough is part of the routine childhood immunisation programme and we strongly recommend parents get their babies immunised on time,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. Whooping cough immunisations are given when a baby is 6 weeks, 3 months and 5 months old and boosters are given to children at 4 years and 11 years of age. “On-time immunisation gives babies the best protection. For parents of older children it’s a good reminder to check their children are up to date with immunisations. It’s never too late to catch up,” says Dr Shoemack.

Adults who have a cough and work with young children should be especially vigilant in case they have whooping cough. "If you’re concerned about a cough stay away from babies and young children and talk to your doctor about whether it could be whooping cough," says Dr Shoemack.

Whooping cough immunisation is free for your child. Contact your family doctor or practice nurse for more information or to make an appointment for immunisation.

For more information call 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) or visit our website


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter
  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Mars News: Winners Announced For The 2016 Apra Silver Scroll Awards

    Wellington singer-songwriter and internationally acclaimed musician Thomas Oliver has won the 2016 APRA Silver Scroll Award with his captivating love song ‘If I Move To Mars’. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news