Dr Penny Hutchinson

June 18, 2019

Darling Downs Health has advised parents that a case of whooping cough has been reported in a student attending Murgon State High School.

Parents and staff members at the school have been advised to watch out for symptoms of the highly contagious disease, especially over the next three weeks.

Whooping cough – or pertussis – often starts like a cold with a runny nose, sneezing and tiredness over several days.

The characteristic coughing bouts then develop, which can be very severe and frightening and may end with the “whoop” as air is drawn back into the chest.

Coughing episodes are frequently followed by gagging or vomiting.

Whooping cough can be life-threatening in babies and even in adults, it can cause significant problems with the cough persisting up to three months.

Public Health Physician Dr Penny Hutchinson said if an adult or child develops symptoms, they should visit their local doctor as soon as possible.

To help prevent the infection spreading, children who have been diagnosed with whooping cough should not attend school until they have completed the first five days of a course of recommended antibiotics.

Dr Hutchinson said vaccination was the most important way of reducing whooping cough in the community.

“It is important to double check that you child is fully up-to-date with his or her immunisations against pertussis,” she said.

“If in doubt, please ask your doctor to check.”

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