Qld whooping cough plummets since 2016

Whooping cough cases in Queensland dropped sharply last year – but it’s no time to be complacent

Queensland Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young says the highly contagious respiratory infection had decreased by almost 1000 cases in 2017, and was at the lowest the state had seen in the last five years.

In 2017, there were 1,299 cases of the disease, compared to 2,153 in 2016 and 1,861 in 2015. This was down from 3,812 in 2013.

An outlier was Central Queensland, which experienced its highest number of whooping cough cases in 2017 in four years, with 102 cases confirmed, up from 66 in 2016 and 60 in 2015.

“In Australia, whooping cough epidemics occur every three to four years – and we have not seen a high number of cases since the outbreak in 2008, which continued until 2012, and peaked in 2011,” Dr Young says.

“While we can’t predict when the next epidemic will occur, there is always some level of disease circulating in the community, which is why it’s so important to be vigilant and keep up to date with vaccinations.”

She highlighted the free whooping cough program funded by Queensland Health for women in their third trimester of every pregnancy.

She also encouraged adults to have a booster shot every 10 years.

Queensland pharmacies have been able to vaccinate adults against whooping cough since 2016.

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