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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

July 5, 2012

Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Update

The pertussis outbreak that was first detected on the West Coast in May last year is now being experienced in other areas of the country, including in Canterbury, Nelson-Marlborough and parts of the North Island.

The number of new cases on the West Coast has decreased from the peak last year but is still higher than normal levels.

Between 1 May 2011 and 22 June 2012 there have been 497 notifications of suspected pertussis received by Community & Public Health’s West Coast Office. To date, 328 people have been confirmed as having the disease. The difference between the number of notifications and the numbers of confirmed cases indicates that general practices are being vigilant when patients present with a cough of more than two week’s duration. Children under the age of ten years continue to have the highest rates of the disease.

In the winter school holidays there may be more Coasters travelling or visitors to the region so the risk of coming into contact with the disease, or it being “imported” to the Coast is higher. People who are unwell should avoid going to sports events, concerts or other large gatherings where there is a possibility that they may pass on their illness to others.

“The best protection against pertussis is for babies and children to receive their childhood vaccinations on time,” says Dr Cheryl Brunton, West Coast Medical Officer of Health.
At the moment, on the West Coast, adults in the following groups can still get a free pertussis booster immunisation from their general practice:

  • Parents and adults living in the same household as an infant under six months of age (this includes pregnant women from the 20th week of pregnancy)
  • Front-line healthcare workers in contact with children under the age of one year
  • Early childhood education workers.

Besides vaccination, steps people can take to help protect themselves and their families against pertussis and other respiratory diseases are:

  • Covering coughs and sneezes.
  • Washing and drying hands thoroughly (20 seconds washing and 20 seconds drying) at times throughout the day particularly before eating and after being with someone who is coughing.
  • Staying away from school or work if they are unwell.

For more information

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
Email: This is not a link as we want to prevent spam.  Please transfer the email address on the image carefully into your email client before sending the email.  You might find, with some older email addresses on this site that they are no longer current, for staff-change reasons.  If your email bounces back please contact the WCDHB Communications Team - see Contacts section of this site.

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