School to remain closed following whooping cough outbreak

A SCHOOL on the Queensland-New South Wales border will remain closed for the rest of the year following an outbreak of whooping cough.

St Mary’s Catholic School in Goondiwindi will stay closed until next year after a number of its students contracted the highly contagious respiratory infection.

The Catholic school was due to wrap up its school year on Wednesday, December 5.


In a statement this morning, a Queensland Department of Education spokesperson said no state schools had experienced the level of infection seen at St Mary’s.

“The Department of Education is working with Queensland Health in actively monitoring the levels of incidence across the community,” the statement said.

“The health and safety of students, staff and the community remains our priority and we will continue to take the advice of public health officials in monitoring and managing this situation.”

Whooping cough is a notifiable disease under the Public Health Act.

A person is infectious for around 21 days from the start of symptoms, with the cough usually lasting several weeks.

If treated with antibiotics, the infected person will only be infectious for the first 5 days of treatment as the medication kills the bacteria.

In adults or adolescents, the infection causes a chronic cough with a distinctive whooping sound.

The distinct whooping sound is usually not heard in babies and young children, who are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Infected children should remain away from school, day care, child care, pregnant mothers and infants under six months until they are no long contagious.

Anyone who is not immunised is at risk of catching whooping cough, however, some groups are at higher risk of catching whooping cough or of developing complications.

These people include anyone who has not had a booster vaccine in the past 10 years, infants under six months of age, pregnant women and people over the age of 65.

To assist in the management of this outbreak, people with any symptoms should immediately consult their medical practitioner.

Information about whooping cough is available from Queensland Health.