More people are being admitted to hospital for whooping cough.
More people are being admitted to hospital for whooping cough. Contributed

Whooping cough surge

PARENTS are being urged to vaccinate themselves and their children against whooping cough after another leap in the number of cases in this region.

So far this year there have been 490 recorded cases in the West Moreton health area - a tenfold increase on the figure for 2007.

Last year 436 cases were recorded in the year to November, while in 2007 only 50 cases were recorded for the same period.

The Ipswich figures mirror the rapid growth of the highly contagious bacterial disease across Queensland, where reported cases have increased 436% since 2007.

Public Health physician Dr Heidi Carroll, from the West Moreton Health Service, said the current epidemic meant adults needed to be vigilant about personal hygiene and their own vaccination status.

"Ipswich parents are very good with immunisations (for their kids)," she said.

"But parents also need to check their own immunisation status to help protect their children.

"This epidemic though is really about the basics.

"Stay home if you are sick, cover your mouth when you cough and importantly don't handle babies if you are sick."

Dr Carroll said the spike in numbers was a temporary phenomenon.

"This will eventually run its course, but after spiking a couple of years ago it hasn't come down to the levels we would have expected," she said.

"This is most likely because there is a lot of it out there in the community and people are more aware of it."

The Ipswich City Council vaccination program is available to all residents, with free clinics operating twice a week in Goodna and the CBD.

All new parents or people in regular contact with children are now eligible for a free booster vaccine.



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