Site last updated 17/07/2014
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Macquarie Park NSW 2113
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Whooping Cough

 Whooping cough (or pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacteria ‘bordetella pertussis‘. Although the infection is mild in adults, if passed on to vulnerable babies it can be life-threatening.

Picture from: Sanofi Pasteur booklet: ‘Preventing disease, Our Passion’.

It is easily spread from person-to-person via droplets from close contact i.e. when you talk, sneeze, cough or kiss.

If you catch it, there is an 80% chance that other members of your household will catch it too.

After being exposed to the bacteria, symptoms will start to appear from 1 to 3 weeks later.

You are contagious for about 1 week prior to coughing (so you can pass it on before the main symptoms start to appear) and a further 2 weeks after the coughing starts.

Whooping cough is known as the "100-day cough" because you can have the symptoms for as long as 3 months.

Whooping cough begins with flu-like symptoms such as a blocked or runny nose, sneezing, mild fever, mild cough.

A thick, sticky mucus develops in the windpipe, which makes it difficult to eat, drink and breathe.

In babies, this results in coughing fits often accompanied by a ‘whoop’ as it struggles to catch its breath. The cough can be so bad that it can cause vomiting at the end of it, rupture small blood vessels in the front of the eye or even fracture a rib. However, very young babies may not cough at all, the first sign may be gagging or they could just stopping breathing (apnoea).

Older children and adults may just have a dry, persistent cough often without the ‘whoop’, so many cases are often mistaken for a bad chest cold or bronchitis. Although cases in adults are considered mild, they are still highly contagious and can easily be unknowingly passed on to others.

MORE WHOOPING COUGH FACTS
WHOOPING COUGH INFO FOR YOUR STATE


WHOOPING COUGH CASES
2014 TO DATE

WHOOPING COUGH CASES 2014 TO DATE 4,238

4,238

WA NT SA VIC TAS ACT QLD NSW WA NT SA VIC TAS ACT QLD NSW

2014 NOTIFIED CASES TO DATE BY STATE

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

The Australian Capital Territory does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date local information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN THE NORTHERN TERRITORY

The Northern Territory currently has a free adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Free whooping cough combination vaccines for adults can be offered to the following groups:

  • All fathers and carers in the same household of an infant under the age of 7 months. The vaccine can be given to this group from the time the expectant mother has reached the 28th week of pregnancy.
  • All new mothers after delivery of the baby if they have not received the vaccine in hospital prior to discharge (the vaccine is not given during pregnancy).

Other high risk groups who should receive vaccine by obtaining a prescription from their doctor include:

  • Health care workers
  • Parents planning a pregnancy
  • Adults working with young children including child care workers and teachers

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date program information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN NEW SOUTH WALES

New South Wales does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date program information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.2

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN VICTORIA

Victoria does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date program information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Western Australia does not have an adult funded whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date program information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN TASMANIA

Tasmania does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for whooping cough information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN QUEENSLAND

Queensland does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for up-to-date program information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

VACCINATION PROGRAMS IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA

South Australia does not have an adult whooping cough vaccination program.

Please refer to the State Health Department website for whooping cough information.

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for all adults planning a pregnancy, for both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant, grandparents, healthcare and childcare workers.

DANA'S STORY

Dana Elizabeth McCaffery

5/2/2009 - 9/3/2009

Baby Dana was born a happy, healthy girl. She was breastfeeding well and putting on weight. At 11 days old, she developed a blocked nose and was unsettled at night. Dana’s parents acted quickly and saw the GP, who diagnosed a cold and prescribed saline drops. When she was three weeks old, Dana developed an occasional cough, like clearing her throat, and appeared to gag at night. Little coughs, runny nose, a bit unsettled, but appeared well during the day.

READ MORE OF DANA'S STORY  
DO I NEED A WHOOPING COUGH BOOSTER VACCINE?

A single booster dose of adult whooping cough vaccine is recommended for:

  • Adults planning a pregnancy
  • Both parents as soon as possible after delivery of an infant
  • Grandparents
  • Healthcare workers
  • Childcare workers
WHOOPING COUGH QUIZ
Q1 of 10
Which of the following explains how you can catch whooping cough?




Q2 of 10
Which of the following best explains the main symptom of whooping cough in adults?




Q3 of 10
Which of the following can be a complication of whooping cough in babies?





Q4 of 10
Which group accounts for the most hospitalisations & deaths from whooping cough?





Q5 of 10
Most babies with whooping cough, caught it from?





Q6 of 10
Your immunity to whooping cough will decrease over time after you've had...





Q7 of 10
Babies receive adequate protection from whooping cough through which of the following?





Q8 of 10
Following which dose of whooping cough vaccine is a baby considered fully protected?




Q9 of 10
Which of the following groups are recommended to have a whooping cough booster vaccination?





Q10 of 10
Why should adults have a whooping cough booster?







WELL DONE, YOU SCORED

10/10

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THE MCCAFFERY'S STORY

WHOOPING COUGH - THE MCCAFFERY'S STORY


Oscar's Story

Watch the journey a mother and her family went through when their beloved baby son – Oscar – caught whooping cough.


VIDEO LIBRARY

WHOOPING COUGH: DANA'S STORY


Hear what whooping cough sounds like

The ‘Whoop’ is the loud gasp babies make as they struggle to breathe in through the narrowed airway passages in between cough spasms.