A Gold Coast mother has passed on whooping cough to her baby girl, after refusing a vaccine for the deadly illness while pregnant.
The woman, who said she had not wanted the vaccine because she was an "organic" type, has spoken out about her situation in a bid to warn others of the dangers of whooping cough.
"I was a healthy pregnant woman, worked out, went to gym, ate very healthy, had a natural birth and somehow in the last two weeks of my pregnancy I managed to get whooping cough, I didn't know," she said.
Shortly after the birth she developed a persistent cough and went to the doctor. The diagnosis was whooping cough, which she had passed on to her baby daughter, Eva.
'If I could turn back time I would protect myself.' Cormit's baby has contracted Whooping Cough. Watch this clip to hear the first-time mum bravely talk about her decision to opt out of vaccination during pregnancy and how hard it is now coping with her new baby being so unwell. For the facts on Immunisation go to http://bit.ly/1PJ6Cc0. #vaccinationmatters #immunisation #preventabledisease #GoldCoast #publichealthPosted by Gold Coast Health on Monday, April 4, 2016
"She was a bit coughy, but within two weeks the cough became very scary, a horror movie, turning blue, going floppy in my hands, running to hospital," she said in a video posted on the Gold Coast Health website.
As the illness progressed, the Australian mum described the situation as a "nightmare".
"She ended up in intensive care... they go red, they go blue and sometimes they go black and then for a moment you think they are dead in your hands, they flop. A lot of suffering for a tiny little thing you love so much."
The woman was offered the whooping cough vaccine 28 weeks into her pregnancy, but "being the healthy, fit organic woman that I am, I said 'leave me alone, I don't need this crap,'" she explained.
In the video, the woman says she got over the illness very quickly, but wishes she had done more to protect her daughter.
"She is my only child and if I could turn back time I would have protected myself, so that's my message."
Australia is in the grip of a whooping cough epidemic with 22,516 cases recorded nationally last year and 5561 cases recorded so far this year.
According to the Ministry of Health, outbreaks of the disease occur in New Zealand every 3-5 years, and babies under one year old are particularly susceptible.
In April last year, free whooping cough boosters were introduced throughout Australia for pregnant women after UK studies proved the boosters cut infant deaths from whooping cough by 90 per cent.
The vaccines are also available in New Zealand for women between 28-38 weeks of pregnancy, and for babies as part of their free childhood immunisations.