Information for Early Childhood Centres/Kohanga Reo staff and parents/caregivers of children
The Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts, like other parts of the country, have seen an increased number of whooping cough cases in recent months. Whooping cough is a serious and highly infectious disease and is spread through the community by coughing and sneezing. Young children, especially babies under 12 months of age and those with a weak immune system (immunocompromised) can become extremely ill from whooping cough.
For further information, please read the following letter for schools and ECEs, and the information sheet for parents/caregivers:
Whooping cough letter for schools (distributed widely in late 2012)
Whooping cough letter for ECE / Kohanga Reo staff (distributed widely in early 2012)
Information for schools, students and parents of students
Immunisation against whooping cough is effective, so students are encouraged to be up-to-date with their immunisations. Parents should ensure young children and babies are immunised on time and that the first scheduled immunisations for babies are not delayed. From 1 January 2013 and until the whooping cough outbreak finishes, all pregnant women can get a free whooping cough vaccine between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy from their GP.
If a student has any of the following symptoms they should see their GP:
- cough lasting more than 2 weeks;
- sudden coughing attacks especially if they end in vomiting, breathlessness, or a 'whoop' sound.
People with whooping cough are infectious until they have had antibiotics for 5 days - or, if not treated, until 3 weeks after the cough started. During this infectious period a student with whooping cough:
- should not attend school; and,
- take care, where possible, to avoid contact with women in the late stages of pregnancy (because of the possible risk to their newborns), babies and young children.
Good hand hygiene is always beneficial and it is important to remember to cover your cough and not to cough on, or near, babies.
For more information
Contact 0800 IMMUNE (466 863) or visit www.immune.org.nz
Ministry of Health: Whooping cough (pertussis) information
Ministry of Health: Whooping cough fact sheet for parents and caregivers