Whooping cough alert in resort


Two cases of whooping cough have been notified from Queenstown, with close contacts of the adult and child treated on suspicion, Public Health South says.

Since July 27 there have been 14 confirmed cases of the disease, also known as pertussis, in the southern district - all of those from the Wanaka and Hawea areas.

In that same period 102 potential cases have also been notified.

With one exception, all of the cases are in children - nine of those children haven’t been vaccinated.

Medical officer of health Dr Keith Reid says there are another five probable cases - one in Dunedin, two in Cromwell and another two in Wanaka/Hawea.

Reid says information’s been provided to the affected schools and a letter has been sent to parents of children in the affected schools advising them of the “outbreak” and symptoms to watch for - a cough lasting longer than two weeks, sometimes with a characteristic `whoop’ and post-cough vomiting.

Reid says it’s normal for pertussis to occur in the community – the last significant outbreak in New Zealand was in 2012 where 261 confirmed cases were notified in the southern district.

Vaccination is the best prevention, he says - free for those up to the age of 18 or pregnant women in their last trimester.

“`The best way to stop the spread of disease is to stay away from work or school if you are unwell, and see your doctor if you are worried or symptoms persist.”