Sandy Strait State School has had two confirmed cases of whooping cough this week.
Sandy Strait State School has had two confirmed cases of whooping cough this week. Alistair Brightman

Parents praise Bay school's handling of Whooping Cough cases

TWO cases of the potentially deadly whooping cough have been confirmed at the same school.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said Queensland Health yesterday advised there were two students from Hervey Bay's Sandy Strait State School who had tested positive.

"Queensland state schools take all reports of contagious conditions seriously,” he said.

"Any student who has been diagnosed with whooping cough is required to stay away from school until cleared to return by a health professional.

"Schools liaise with Queensland Health for advice and support in managing contagious conditions.

"Schools continue to be vigilant for signs and symptoms of whooping cough in students and staff, and work with parents to help minimise the spread of infection.

"Parents and carers have been kept informed through letters, which has included Queensland Health information about whooping cough.

"If parents are concerned about the health of their child, they are encouraged to seek medical advice.”

Outside Sandy Strait State School yesterday afternoon parent Cara Newton, who recently moved to the area, praised the school's handling of the situation.

"Obviously I'm worried but my kids are vaccinated and they should be OK,” she said.

"The school sent a letter out on Wednesday.”

Allan Hoffman has children at the school and said his daughter, who is now in high school, had whooping cough when she was younger.

"She was vaccinated and she still got sick,” he said.

"I think the school has dealt with this great.

"I think it's a better idea to let everyone know.

"It's useless to take your kids out of school to avoid it because they could catch it if they were walking down the street.”

Steve Black also has children at the Urangan school and said diseases like whooping cough were unfortunately "a fact of life”.

"My kids are vaccinated so I don't think it will be a problem for us,” he said.

The highly contagious respiratory infection, pertussis, can affect people of any age.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health spokesman said since the start of 2019 there had been 12 confirmed cases of whooping cough across the entire Wide Bay, which is a relatively low number historically, but an increase on recent years.

"The relatively low number of whooping cough infections in the Wide Bay is largely the result of strong vaccination rates,” he said.

"That said, updated boosters are required at various ages as the vaccine does weaken over time and does not guarantee total immunity.”

The most recent data on childhood immunisation for the Fraser Coast reveals 94 per cent coverage for children 12 months old, 93 per cent coverage at two years and 96 per cent coverage at five years.

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