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


Video highlights effects of whooping cough on babies

Media Release
27 August 2012

Video highlights effects of whooping cough on babies

Waikato mum Stacey Illingworth is sharing footage of her baby’s struggle with whooping cough to help prevent other parents going through the same trauma.

Stacey and her daughter Sativah returned home to Te Aroha recently after spending five weeks in Waikato Hospital.

Because Sativah was too young to be fully immunised against whooping cough (pertussis), Ms Illingworth is encouraging all parents to be immunised, and try and avoid contact with anyone who is unwell, especially if they have a cough.

“I would hate for any family to have gone through what we have. It is the worst possible feeling waking up at 5am to find your little baby lying there not breathing, and nearly losing her. I urge everyone to vaccinate their babies as soon as they can and for mums and dads to get immunised too,” Ms Illingworth said.

All babies and children are eligible for free immunisations against whooping cough at six weeks, three months and five months old. Babies are only fully protected from whooping cough after their third vaccination at five months. Children also receive free boosters at four and 11 years of age.

Sativah was too young to be immunised, which is why the Ministry of Health also recommends that pregnant women and soon-to-be dads be immunised as well.

Dr Pat Tuohy, Ministry of Health Immunisation Champion and Chief Advisor Child and Youth Health says: “To protect very young babies from this dangerous and highly infectious disease, we need all children to receive all of their immunisations and, also importantly, to get these on time.

“Adults can often be a source of whooping cough infection for young babies. So those who are caring for small babies at home or at work are strongly encouraged to have a whooping cough booster immunisation”.

New Zealand is currently experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough with more than 4900 cases reported since the outbreak began in August last year.

Children under five years old are most affected, especially infants under one who are the most susceptible to catching whooping cough. More than half of the hospitalisations for whooping cough occur in babies under one.

University of Auckland Associate Professor of Paediatrics Cameron Grant says that currently one in three infants in New Zealand are at higher risk of ending up in hospital with whooping cough simply because they haven’t been immunised on time.

“The most effective way of reducing the number of little babies in hospital with this horrible disease is by making sure they are immunised on time every time.”

Waikato District Health Board Immunisation nurse coordinator Kim Hunter said whooping cough is a serious disease which can make babies gravely ill.

“To see this poor defenceless child [Sativah] struggle for air and choking, for minutes at a time, is just heartbreaking.”

For more information on whooping cough, including the video: Whooping cough and baby’s struggle visit, or
Waikato District Health Board team leader photography and audio visual Mark Forster-King filmed the video of Sativah while she was in the children’s ward. Mark and Waikato DHB communications director Mary Anne Gill worked with ward staff and Sativah’s mother to produce it. Dr Grant recommends taking two and a half minutes of your time to view it.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Joel Coen's Monochromatic Macbeth

The Bard of Avon may well be smirking up the sleeves of his lace doublet at the irony of Will Smith's Oscar debacle, but now that the initial furore has dissipated, it's worth revisiting the movie for which Denzel Washington was also nominated. More>>

Howard Davis: Kenneth Branagh’s Black & White Belfast

Branagh has assembled a wonderful cast, including Ciarán Hinds, a gently formidable actor who well deserves his Oscar nomination, and Judi Dench, who steals every scene she’s in. More>>

Howard Davis: Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune - A Brief History

So many elements of Herbert’s novel have since become tropes of popular SciFi that Villeneuve’s film sometimes seems deceptively derivative. What makes all this nonsense essential viewing is his astonishing visual sensibility. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which has been republished by Te Papa press. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland