Immunisation continues to be the single best intervention to prevent whooping cough. Note that acellular pertussis vaccines available in Australia that contain 3 pertussis antigens are 85% effective in preventing pertussis and between 71% and 78% effective in preventing mild disease however immunity wanes over time. This means that even fully immunised children can still develop whooping cough (although they often have less severe illness).
A dTpa booster is also recommended for childcare workers and health care workers every ten years. Health care workers working in the NSW public health system must have evidence of pertussis vaccination.
Are you immunised against whooping cough?
General practitioners and others working in general practice are at high risk of exposure to whooping cough, especially as examination of the throat can precipitate cough and the GP is close enough to inhale infective droplets.
General practice staff who become infected with whooping cough and continue to work can also put their other patients at risk.
Good practice tip
Ask your co-workers if they have had a dTpa booster. Both clinical staff and administrative staff may all be at increased risk and should consider a booster, especially if they have young families. Does your surgery have a policy encouraging sick staff to stay at home?
For further information on vaccination see immunisation.