The sudden and overwhelming increase in the whooping cough cases in the North Cost area of Clarence Valley has put the place in trouble. The North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) warned the people, especially the parents of small children to look for symptoms of the potentially fatal cough.
"All age groups have been affected, but particularly children under 10 years of age," Paul Corben, director of North Coast Public x Health, said.
The local people are very much bothered about the outbreak. NCAHS has alerted the parents to vaccinate the young babies and children. It also urged that whomsoever gets in contact with the affected children should also receive a booster vaccine, which is available from the GPs.
"Someone with whooping cough will be able to spread it to others for up to three weeks after commencement of their illness unless they are treated with appropriate antibiotics," Mr Corben said. "So it is very important that people are treated early to stop the spread of the disease.
"All children under six months of age and anyone who has not received three doses of whooping cough vaccine will not have been fully vaccinated and so remain very vulnerable to whooping cough," Mr Corben added.
Whooping cough, otherwise known as pertussis, is an infection of the respiratory system. Severe coughing spells that end in a "whooping sound", when the patient breathes in is characteristic of this disease. Mr Corben said that there will added symptoms like runny nose, tiredness, mild fever and sometimes even vomiting.
The prevention of whooping cough through proper immunization is vital. The public should be aware of the protective efficacy of the vaccines and should make use of it properly to fight the disease.