Further students who attend Safety Bay Primary School in Year 2 and 4 have been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). This is to alert you that your child may have been exposed to pertussis infection and that you should observe your child for symptoms of pertussis. Symptoms usually start like a cold with a blocked or runny nose, tiredness, mild fever and cough. It is also important to ensure that your child is fully immunised against pertussis.
What is pertussis?
Pertussis is an infection of the throat that can cause bouts of coughing, and sometimes breathing difficulties and vomiting. It can be a very serious infection in small children. The illness can last for many weeks. It usually starts with a snuffle or a cold.
What should you do if you suspect your child has pertussis?
If your child develops symptoms of pertussis, please take your child to your local doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can arrange for your child to be tested and given antibiotic treatment if necessary which can stop the infection spreading and is more effective if started early. To help prevent this infection spreading, children who are diagnosed with pertussis should not attend school until they have completed the first 5 days of a course of the recommended antibiotics. If antibiotics cannot be taken, they must stay away for 3 weeks after onset of the cough.
How is pertussis prevented?
Vaccination is the most important way to prevent pertussis so it is important to double check that your child is fully up to date with his or her vaccinations. Children are scheduled to receive 3 doses of a pertussis containing vaccine at 2, 4, and 6 months of age, followed by booster doses at 18 months, 4 years, and in year 8 at school. If in doubt, the vaccination status of your child can be obtained by phoning the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) on 1800 653 809 (free call), or the school may have a record of your child’s immunisation record.
To reduce the risk of whooping cough in young infants, vaccination is now recommended and is funded by the WA Department of Health for pregnant women during the third trimester of every pregnancy (from 28 weeks). Parents, grandparents and carers of babies should also consider being immunised against pertussis. Adults receive a single booster dose. Discuss this with your doctor.
Need more information?
For additional information please refer to Pertussis Fact Sheet or visit http://healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Whooping-cough-pertussis. You can also phone the Metropolitan Communicable Disease Control during business hours on 9222 8588 and ask to speak with the nurse, or discuss this further with your doctor, school nurse, or community nurse.