WHOOPING COUGH: Where the most cases have been confirmed
WHOOPING cough is on the rise in Queensland - and we're due for an outbreak.
So far this year that have been at least 256 confirmed cases of the highly contagious disease.
While that's below the four-year average, cases are trending upwards.
Queensland Health data shows that since the end of January, there have been between 23 and 28 cases confirmed each week and as a ratio, the number of cases is slightly up on the long-term average.
The health service areas where the highest number of cases have been confirmed are the Gold Coast, the Darling Downs and Brisbane's northside are (see details for each region below).
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a bacterial infection that can cause anything from a persistent cough to pneumonia and brain damage.
In extreme cases, it can also cause death with babies most at risk.
A Queensland Health spokesperson said whooping cough epidemics usually happened every three to four years with the last one taking place between 2008 and 2012.
"While we can't predict when the next epidemic will occur, there is always some level of disease circulating in the community," the spokesperson said.
"It's certainly not as high as we've seen in the last decade, but it's tracking upwards, which is why it's so important to be vigilant and keep up to date with vaccinations."
Last week, two cases of whooping cough were confirmed at a Fraser Coast school when two students from Hervey Bay's Sandy Strait State School tested positive.
Since July 2014, Queensland Health has funded a free whooping cough vaccination program for pregnant women in their third trimester of every pregnancy.
A free vaccine is also available for babies at two, four, and six months of age, with booster doses for children at 18 months, four years, and during their first year of high school.
Queensland health recommends adults get the jab every ten years after a booster.
Confirmed cases around Queensland by region
- Cairns: 12
- Central Queensland: 10
- Darling Downs: 47
- Gold Coast: 40
- Metro North (Brisbane): 50
- Metro South (Brisbane): 27
- Sunshine Coast: 30
- Townsville: 14
- West Moreton: 16
- Wide Bay: 10
Need more information? See Queensland Health's website here. Still not sure? Call 13 HEALTH