The 100 Day Cough you could have stopped…
Whooping cough (Pertussis) is a highly infectious respiratory illness that you can catch multiple times in your life. It leads to a notorious chronic cough that often lasts beyond 3 months (1). It has been known to be called the 100 Day Cough!
Coughing in your sleep.
“Even in adults, pertussis can be associated with significant morbidity, with cough persisting for up to 3 months, and other significant symptoms, such as sleep disturbance or, rarely, rib fracture“. (1).
Despite a long-standing immunisation program, pertussis remains highly prevalent in Australia and the least well controlled of all vaccine-preventable diseases (1). Epidemics occur every 3 to 4 years (1). Failure to vaccinate is really taking a gamble on this illness which is frequently occurring throughout the year.
Won’t antibiotics stop it?
Much to many people’s misconception, the pertussis illness is not guaranteed to improve or stop with antibiotics (1). It simply reduces the infectivity to limit spread to others (1).
Pertussis can be exceptionally devastating to those vulnerable populations like babies, those with chronic illness and the elderly. -Are you working with any of these people?
Your staff member unwell with Whooping Cough?
The Public Health Unit might want to know about it too! Contact tracing is a process of backtracking staff movements and is sometimes necessary in accordance with Public Health Requirements. It is a frustration most workplaces can do without.
Vaccine immunity usually wanes around 5-10 years (like Tetanus) (1). Those working with young children or vulnerable populations are encouraged to maintain vaccinations every 5 years. It can also be administered combined with a Tetanus Booster. Pregnant ladies are encouraged to have this vaccine every pregnancy regardless of vaccine interval. It helps the baby develop some immunity prior to being born.
*please utilise above information for general advice only and seek personal medical professional advice for your own situation.
1). The Australian Immunisation Handbook, Part 4.12 Pertussis. Current edition