Whooping cough outbreaks have been on the rise across the country. Cases are up between of 100 to 300 percent across Australian states.
Experts believe that the increase of this infectious disease is due to an anti-vaccination trend as parents decide not to immunise their child. which in turn causes the outbreaks.
It takes 7 to 20 days after infection for symptoms of whooping cough to appear. It begins like a cold and then it causes uncontrolled coughing and vomiting, for up to several months.
Although whopping cough may not be a serious disease it is highly infectious. When someone contracts whooping cough an estimated 80% - 90% of un- immunised contacts of that person will most like get the disease.
Severe, complications which occur exclusively in unvaccinated people who contract whopping cough including pneumonia (lung infection) and hypoxic encephalopathy (lack of oxygen to the brain).
Babies are at greater risk of whooping cough until they have had two doses of the vaccine (at 4 months old) as their mother's antibodies do not provide reliable protection and babies have the highest death rate.
To reduce the risk of whopping cough in children the Petrussis vaccine is recommended. It is a free vaccine given to children at 2, 4, 6 months of age with booster shots at 4 and 10 - 15 years.
A booster dose of this vaccine is also recommend for all pregnant women in their third trimester of pregnancy as their anti bodies transfer to the new born baby through the placenta.
In the event of an outbreak within an early childhood centre, unvaccinated children may be excluded for their own protection and the protection of others.
Sourced from: Care For Kids
For more information in regards to signs, symptoms and prevention of Whooping Cough, read: Whooping Cough