Irish Medical Organisation

GPs warn on rising incidence of potentially fatal Whooping Cough amongst new born babies

Expectant mums encouraged to get Pertussis vaccination to protect their babies

Monday 27th November 2017.   GPs in the IMO are warning that they are seeing an increasing incidence of Pertussis amongst new born babies.  Popularly known as whooping cough, Pertussis can have serious and even fatal consequences for new born babies up to 3 months of age.  The HSE has acknowledged an increase incidence in the illness in the Longford area and has applied an Outbreak Code which allows GPs to administer a vaccine under the GMS.  GPs are urging pregnant women to consider getting vaccinated to protect their unborn baby from the condition.

Dr. Padraig McGarry, Chairman of the IMO GP Committee and a GP in Longford, said that there had been an increase in the incidence of young babies being brought to the surgery with whooping cough over recent weeks; "whooping cough is highly contagious and incredibly distressing for both baby and mother and the consequences for a young baby can be very serious, even fatal.  We have noticed an increase in the number of mothers bringing young babies to the surgery with this condition and some other colleagues are reporting similar experiences in different parts of the country."

Dr. McGarry said that pregnant women should consider getting the vaccination administered by their own Doctor and the HSE should include the vaccine as part of the Mother and Infant Prenatal Scheme which would make it easier for expectant mothers to get the protection which the vaccine gives to their unborn babies; "the best way to encourage greater up take of this vaccine is by including it in the Mother and Infant Prenatal Scheme.  However even before that happens we would encourage expectant mums to consider getting the vaccine from their own GPs directly.  The optimal time to receive the vaccine is between week between 16 and 36 weeks gestation."

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