Highly contagious infection at Ipswich school

A HIGHLY contagious infection has been confirmed at an Ipswich school.

Today a letter was sent to parents notifying them a student at Springfield Central State High School has pertussis, known as whooping cough.

The student will not be allowed to return to school until there is no longer considered to be a threat of spreading the illness.

Whooping cough is a highly infectious illness spread by coughing and sneezing.

In the worst-case scenario, it can be life threatening. Young children and babies are the most vulnerable.

In the letter, signed by West Moreton's Public Health Physician, parents have been urged to ensure their children's vaccinations are up to date and potentially keep kids home.

"If you have any concerns about the symptoms of whooping cough in your children/ yourself then please see your doctor immediately for advice and testing…" the letter said.

"… do not send your child to school/ child care centre until you have been advised by your doctor.

"If the illness is detected early in its course, treatment will reduce the time it is infectious to other people."

The letter states all children and staff proven to have contracted whooping cough will be 'excluded" from the school for 21 days from the onset of their cough, or until they have been taking the relevant antibiotics for five days.

A search of Queensland Health's notifiable diseases for the West Moreton region show only one case of whooping cough has been detected this year. 

A whooping cough case was confirmed at a school in Cairns last week adding to a small outbreak in North Queensland.

So far, this year there have been 151 cases of whooping cough confirmed across the state; 24 of those have been in the past 10 days.

The early symptoms of whooping cough are similar to a cold with a runny nose, sneezing and tiredness over several days.

The cough then develops causing what can be "severe and frightening" episodes, Queensland Health warns.

  • Anyone in need of medical advice can call 13 HEALTH to speak to a trained nurse who will direct you to the most suitable care. 

 

What is whooping cough?

Whooping cough (or pertussis) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. Whooping cough can affect people of any age.

For adolescents and adults, the infection may only cause a persistent cough. However, for babies and young children, whooping cough can be life threatening.

Complications of whooping cough in babies include pneumonia, fits and brain damage from prolonged lack of oxygen.

Most hospitalisations and deaths occur in babies less than six months of age.

In Australia, epidemics occur every 3 to 4 years. In 2011, 38 732 cases were reported nationally. The highest rates of disease were in infants <6 months of age and children 5 - 9 years.

Source: Qld Health


Local Partners