The Corangamite Shire has been hit with whooping cough, with one Terang school issuing a warning to parents this week.
Terang College P-6 assistant principal Julie-Ann Kelly said there was a confirmed case within the school community and “the necessary precautions have been taken.” Families were informed via an online newsletter and a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon which was shared more than 50 times in 24 hours.
Whooping cough, or pertussis, is a highly contagious disease that affects the air passages and breathing.
A Department of Health and Human Services spokesman said the most recent reported case in the Corangamite Shire was in early July. So far this year, the department has received reports of five cases in the Corangamite Shire, 19 in Warrnambool and six cases in the Moyne Shire.
“We want to ensure as many children as possible are immunised against serious and life-threatening illnesses like whooping cough,” he said. “Immunising your child not only protects you and your family, but other children in the community.”
The whooping cough vaccine is free to children as part of the National Immunisation Program at two months, four months and six months, and four years.
The Parents’ Whooping Cough Vaccination Program is available to all pregnant women from 28 weeks gestation and their partners.
All parents and guardians of newborn babies under six months of age are also eligible.
Since the program’s reintroduction in June 2015, there has been a decrease in whooping cough cases, with 1998 cases in 2017, compared to 4725 in 2015.
For more information, visit the Better Health Channel https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/whooping-cough