Whooping Cough Cases On The Rise

Front page of the Wanaka Sun - 6 August 2015

Mum tells of shock after immunised kids fall ill. Naoise Wolsey | Wanaka Sun (front page). Published Thursday August 6, 2015 [caption id="attachment_2278" align="alignleft" width="300"] Front page of the Wanaka Sun - 6 August 2015[/caption] Public Health South has been notified of over 80 possible cases of whooping cough in Wanaka and Hawea. So far just six of these cases have been confirmed and a further six cases are probable with a number of other laboratory results pending. Of the six confirmed cases five are in unvaccinated people, and five are children. Public Health South has also been notified of two probable cases in Cromwell and four cases in Queenstown. As the illness spreads throughout Wanaka and Hawea, an Alexandra mum, whose children were diagnosed with whooping cough in mid-April, has spoken out about her experience. Jenny Cosgriff, mum to Tahliah (10) and Mac (11 months), was shocked to discover her children had whooping cough despite the fact that they are both fully immunised. “Both were fully immunised and myself and my husband both had the booster when I was pregnant. I had absolutely no idea that my kids could still get whooping cough while immunised, so it definitely came as a huge shock,” said Jenny. “The doctor explained that it is common for immunised children to get it, but that the symptoms are lessened so it is still a very worthwhile immunisation. You can feel the judgement when you tell people your kids have it, as they automatically assume you don’t immunise.” Both children’s symptoms started out with a cough, followed by a runny nose in the second week. Tahliah regularly coughed until she gagged and Mac vomited with almost every coughing fit. “Tahliah was ‘lucky’ and only coughed for about six weeks, but it was six weeks of very little sleep for her as nothing you do seems to help,” said Jenny. “Mac had a really rough time as he vomited with it constantly, wouldn’t stay asleep for more than 30 minutes or so at a time, and went back to being exclusively breastfed as he would not eat any solids. “He stopped the vomiting roughly a month ago, but he has not stopped coughing yet. His doctor tells me that it may be down to his low immunity from having the whooping cough, which means he is picking up all the viral coughs that are out there too. “My advice is to talk to your friends and family about what you are going through, because it is very tiring and isolating and you need support around you.” Public Health South reported that just over half of the notifications have been from people who were either not vaccinated or had incomplete vaccination histories. “Those children who have not been fully vaccinated remain most vulnerable to the infection and it is recommended they are vaccinated as soon as possible to increase their chances of protection,” said Dr Keith Reid, Medical Officer of Health. People have been advised to stay away from work or school if they are feeling unwell and to see a doctor if symptoms persist.   Related: Whooping cough outbreak Click to read this week's Wanaka Sun...
Wanaka Sun | 6 - 12 Aug 2015 | Edition 725 big orange cropped

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