Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service authorities have warned of a 43 per cent spike in the deadly whooping cough disease.
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service authorities have warned of a 43 per cent spike in the deadly whooping cough disease. Contributed

Authorities warn of Sunshine Coast whooping cough spike

SUNSHINE Coast Hospital and Health Service authorities have warned of a 43 per cent spike in the deadly whooping cough disease.

More than 300 patients have presented to the region's three main hospitals - Sunshine Coast, Noosa and Gympie - compared to 212 at this time last year.

Between 2013 and 2017 the yearly average was just 214.

Whooping cough is most common in infants, however, a nine-year-old girl from Little Mountain was struck down by the disease earlier this month.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said vaccination was the best preventative measure.

"Whooping cough vaccination is recommended and free under the National Immunisation Program for infants and children," Dr Langley said.

"It is a highly contagious respiratory infection. It can affect people of any age.

"For adolescents and adults, the most distinctive symptom may be a persistent cough that occurs after a cold-like illness.

"Whooping cough is spread though the respiratory discharges of infectious people. For example, when they cough and sneeze.

"A person who has whooping cough should stay away from others, including work, school, pre-school, child care and social activities, until their doctor says they are no longer infectious.

"Treatment may include a course of antibiotics."

He warned that expecting mothers were susceptible.

"It is also important for pregnant women for every pregnancy, to boost the mother's immunity so that their newborn is protected until it is old enough to be vaccinated," he said.

"This vaccine is provided free by the Queensland Government. The best time for pregnant women to be vaccinated for whooping cough is between 28 and 32 weeks gestation."

The hospital advice if you think you have whooping cough:

  • See your GP - please phone ahead to let staff know that you might have whooping cough
  • Consider calling a nurse at 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84).