Whooping cough cases in North East

Public Health Services is urging people in North East Tasmania to check they are up-to-date with their pertussis (whooping cough) vaccinations.

The North East area is currently experiencing an increase in whooping cough cases, particularly in the Bridport area.

We highly encourage all women in the second half of their pregnancy to receive a free whooping cough vaccine to protect themselves and their baby against severe whooping cough.

It is also important that children with persistent coughing do not attend school or childcare and see their GP to limit spreading whooping cough to others.

The vaccine is also available free under the National Immunisation Program for people aged six weeks, four months and six months and booster shots at 18 months, four years and grade seven.

Children under six months are at the highest risk of complications from whooping cough, so it is important children in this age group are up-to-date with their immunisations.

Vaccinating people who have close contact with newborn babies, for example husbands and grandparents, will also help protect young infants from whooping cough.

Anyone who has symptoms of whooping cough should visit their GP to be tested and treated.

Those wanting to protect themselves or their family can consider having a booster vaccine as immunity decreases four to five years after immunisation.

Symptoms can vary by age. Initially there may be a runny nose, sneezing, mild fever, and a mild cough. After one to two weeks, there may be bouts of coughing that end in vomiting, and/or a characteristic high-pitched ‘whoop’ sound. Babies and young children may present with breathing trouble including gagging, gasping or turning blue.

For more information visit our whooping cough fact sheet