National Health Advisory - Notification of National Outbreak of Whooping Cough (pertussis)

Friday 1st December 2017

Tēnā koutou,

You may already be aware that New Zealand is in the early stages of a national outbreak of whooping cough (pertussis). Babies aged up to one are particularly vulnerable to whooping cough.

It's important to raise awareness of timely immunisation's as a crucial way for parents/whānau and pregnant women to protect their babies and children against whooping cough. Babies are at greatest risk when they are very young.  When pregnant women are vaccinated, they pass their immunity on to their baby, protecting them until they are able to be immunised at 6 weeks.

The pertussis outbreak may result in media attention. Please alert your communications advisors/spokespeople to this possibility.  Please continue to promote vaccination amongst your staff, especially those working with babies, children and pregnant women.

From 1 January-10 November 2017, a total of 1315 cases of whooping cough were notified around the country. Of these cases, 82 were babies aged less than one year old. Half of these babies were hospitalised.

National whooping cough resources are available through HealthEd.  More information aimed at the public is available on the Ministry's webpages: Whooping Cough, hand washing, good hygiene.


Ministry of Health

Last updated: August 29, 2018