DISEASE: Preventable diseases are on the rise on the Sunshine Coast.
DISEASE: Preventable diseases are on the rise on the Sunshine Coast. RyanKing999

Preventable, potentially deadly infection almost doubles

INSTANCES of some vaccine-preventable diseases have risen sharply on the Sunshine Coast, with cases of one potentially deadly infection almost doubling.

According to Queensland Health, cases of Varicella - which includes chickenpox, shingles and other Varicella-zoster virus infections - have increased from 703 in 2017, to 786 in 2018, between January 1 and December 16.

The publicly available notifiable conditions annual report reveals the number is the highest it's been in five years and has been increasing since 2013 (442 cases).

During the same reporting period, whopping cough rose from just 172 cases in 2017, to 307 in 2018.

However, that figure was surpassed in 2015 (627 cases), 2014 (519) and 2013 (442).

The numbers represent cases which have been confirmed, usually through laboratory testing, from people of all ages.

Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service public health physician Dr Andrew Langley said the figures were expected to be a "fraction of all cases" as not all were confirmed and reported to Queensland Health.

"The factors influencing the spread of these diseases are complex, including the immunity and behaviours (such as keeping away from others when sick) of the whole population, not just children."

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, between 2016-17 the Sunshine Coast fell well below the national average of 93.8 per cent of one year olds fully vaccinated, 90% of two year olds and 93.5 per cent of five year olds.

In the Sunshine Coast Hinterland as few as 88.1 per cent of five year olds were immunised.

Dr Langley said these rates were "gradually improving" and vaccinations were the "best protection" against diseases such as whopping cough and chicken pox.