Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
I would like to inform you that a St Joseph’s Regional College student has been diagnosed with pertussis (whooping cough). I am writing to provide advice and to ask that you watch out for the symptoms of pertussis in your child, especially over the next three weeks.
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 people who develop pertussis symptoms do?
If your child develops symptoms (as described in the fact sheet – see link below ), please take him or her and a copy of this letter to your local doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can advise whether pertussis is likely and arrange for early treatment if needed. Treating people who have pertussis with antibiotics can stop the infection spreading, but is more effective if started early.
To help prevent this infection spreading, people who have been 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, then they must stay away for three weeks after the start of the cough.
How is it prevented?
Vaccination is the most important way of reducing pertussis in our community. It is important to double check that your child is fully up to date with his or her immunisations against pertussis. If in doubt, please ask your doctor to check.