At present we have 2 cases of whooping cough reported to us in 1F and all measures as determined by the Health Department have been set in place to follow up with families in that class. Both children were fully immunised.
It is important for the community to be aware, as whooping cough is a serious and contagious disease which is notifiable and can be fatal in the very young. We have not usually seen whooping cough in the younger age group and this is concerning as younger children tend to have more exposure to families with babies. We also have children in our community undergoing chemotherapy and some families have immunosuppressed members and women who are pregnant.
If your child has a persistent cough we strongly urge you to see your family doctor.
For your information - from Hilda our School Nurse
Under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009, cases diagnosed with pertussis must be excluded from primary school and children’s services centres for 21 days after the onset of cough or until they have completed five days of a course of effective antibiotic treatment (Schedule 7). Cases need not be excluded if they have been coughing for 21 days or more as they are no longer infectious. Contacts in primary schools and children’s services centres aged less than seven years in the same room as the case who have not received three effective doses of pertussis vaccine should be excluded for 14 days after the last exposure to the infectious case, or until they have taken five days of a course of effective antibiotic treatment (PHWB Regulations 2009, Schedule7).
If you require more information on Pertussis, fact sheets can be found on the IDEAS website (http://ideas.health.vic.gov.au/index.asp) and from the Better Health Channel website (http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au). Information on pertussis-containing vaccines can be found on the departments’ immunisation web page (http://www.health.vic.gov.au/immunisation).
If your child has been sent home because they have not been immunised then we require proof from the treating doctor that they have had the appropriate antibiotics in accordance with (PHWB Regulations 2009, Schedule 7 ) otherwise they will need to stay at home for the 14 days.
It is also worth noting if another child in their class gets whooping cough when they return to school that they will be excluded from school again.
We know that it can be difficult to manage children at home without warning if you are juggling work commitments and busy lives, but we must ensure the safety and well-being of our school community.
Please note there may be more cases in 6 – 10 days due to the incubation period of the bacteria. We advise parents to follow up any cold symptoms in your child.