Monday, November 9, 2009
South Australian whooping cough outbreakArticle
SOUTH Australia is experiencing its worst whooping cough outbreak on record - and babies are the main victims of the potentially fatal and highly infectious disease.
Babies are most vulnerable as they are too young to be immunised, and rely upon 'herd immunity' - the high immunisation of those around them .
SA Health has received almost 3500 notifications this year, compared with 859 at the same time last year and 318 in 2007.
National statistics show the rate in South Australia is twice as high as the national average.
A four-week-old NSW baby who died in March was the first fatality from the disease in a decade. Since then it is understood two other children have died.
SA Health Communicable Disease Control branch director Dr Ann Koehler said nationally there had been a "big wave" of infections. She said SA had the highest rate, although it was not clear why. Dr Koehler said more cases were being diagnosed as people were tested for swine flu