South Australian have seen a staggering 42% jump in the number of whooping cough cases this year, with four more cases confirmed this week.
South Australian Health Minister Jack Snelling says we are heading for an epidemic of whooping cough in South Australia, with the new cases sparking a heightened warning to pregnant women.
In more than half of the cases of the last 12 months, the mothers had not received the whooping cough vaccine, despite the fact that it is made available for free to mothers in their final trimester.
“This is a really serious illness that can have tragic and devastating consequences for those who have not been fully immunised, particularly young babies…
It’s heartbreaking that this disease continues to put the health and lives of young babies at risk and that’s why the State Government has funded a free vaccine for pregnant women in South Australia.”
What is the Whooping Cough Vaccination and How Do I Get One?
Information on the free vaccination program for pregnant women can be found on the SA Health Website. The immunisation of the mother is encouraged as protective maternal antibodies transfer through the placenta giving the newborn protection in early life. Babies under 6 weeks can not be immunised for whooping cough and this is a crucial risk period for exposure to the disease. Immunisation of pregnant mothers covers this period until the baby is developmentally read for their own immunisation.
It is understood that whooping cough antibody levels do not peak until approximately two weeks after vaccination and active transport of maternal antibodies to the foetus occurs predominantly from 30 weeks gestation onwards. This means the ideal time for immunisation when pregnant is at 28-32 weeks gestation.
Women’s and Children’s Hospital Vaccinology and Immunology Research Trials Unit director, Professor Helen Marshall, said vaccinating a mother in the final trimester of pregnancy transferred immunity to her baby, providing more than 90 per cent protection for the child;
“Because infants under six months of age are not able to complete the required series of vaccinations, they are especially vulnerable to whooping cough. Infants should receive the whooping cough vaccine at six weeks, four months and six months of age and have booster shots at four years old and during high school.”
The vaccine had resulted in a dramatic decrease in whooping cough deaths in the UK.
There have been 260 cases of whooping cough in South Australia this year, compared to 182 at the same time in 2016. Last year there were total 1931 cases recorded.
Want more information? Please click through for: “No Jab, No Pay: 14,000 Families Cut from CCB Due to Non Vaccination”.
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