Whooping cough now at its worst

AN outbreak of whooping cough on the North Coast shows no sign of ending, with the health service recording its worst year for infections on record.

More than 1000 notifications were reported on the North Coast during 2008, with 37 people admitted to hospital including 17 babies aged less than 12 months.

North Coast Area Health Service director of public health, Paul Corben, said NSW is experiencing an outbreak of infections, with communities on the North Coast some of the worst affected.

“Communities with low vaccination rates have had more than eight times the rate of disease seen in those areas with the highest vaccination rates,” Mr Corben said.

Whooping cough can be fatal in babies, and without treatment people with whooping cough will remain infectious for up to three weeks.

Mr Corben said vaccination is the most effective means of protecting the community against the disease.

Babies under six- months-old will not have been fully vaccinated and remain vulnerable to infection, and NSW Health advises that the best way to protect babies is to keep them away from anyone with a cough and to make sure their immunisations are up to date.

Further information can be found at www.health.nsw.gov.au.



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