29 Sep 2011

Two babies hospitalised in south with whooping cough

8:59 am on 29 September 2011

Health authorities are warning whooping cough may be on the rise in southern regions, after two babies were admitted to hospital with the disease last week.

Otago-Southland medical officer of health John Holmes says about 80 cases have emerged in the regions since the beginning of last year.

Dr Holmes says he does not know whether the two latest cases have any link to the West Coast, where 152 cases of the respiratory disease were reported to health authorities by 20 September, in an outbreak centred on Hokitika.

He says there is no national epidemic, but local areas can get pockets of the disease, so there could be an upswing in southern regions.

Dr Holmes says the Southern District Health Board is also preparing for the possibility that the measles outbreak in Auckland will spread south.