Four Auckland communities are experiencing small clusters of whooping cough cases with five local schools affected.
Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) Medical Officer of Health Dr Michael Hale says there have been eight cases in Laingholm, six cases in Henderson, three in the Tuakau area and three associated with a Waiheke Island school.
Dr Hale confirmed the service has seen a rise in notifications to 33 in the last 30 days, compared with an average of 26 per month for the previous three months.
Almost half of these cases are for children and young adults under the age of 19 (15 cases) and 13 of the remaining in adults over 30, including a 76 year old man.
ARPHS is working with all the schools with cases to inform parents and track further cases.
“Whooping cough is a highly infectious and serious illness. It is particularly serious for babies under one year of age. Two babies died from whooping cough in New Zealand in the 2013 outbreak,” Dr Hale says.
To keep whanau safe, children must be vaccinated on time. Families expecting a new baby, or who have a baby under 12 months old, should check that all their family members and visitors to the baby have had the whooping cough vaccination in the last five years.
Vaccination for all children is free, and women in their last three months of pregnancy can now have free vaccination from their medical doctor. This protects their baby when it is born.
If you are not sure if your children are fully vaccinated, check their Well Child/Tamariki Ora Health Book, or ask your family doctor or practice nurse.
If you feel sick with a cold – runny nose, sneezing, slight fever and a mild irritating cough you might have whooping cough, so you must stay away from babies and go and see your medical doctor.