A health notice was issued to all students and staff of Sydney’s Macquarie Uni today, warning of a confirmed case of whooping cough on campus.

This comes at a time when New South Wales is experiencing a whooping cough epidemic, with NSW Health warning there has been a large increase in the numbers of cases diagnosed in 2009.

A Health Notice states that Macquarie University has received notification of a confirmed diagnosis of whooping cough on campus. The university warns all staff and students that the bacteria known as Bordetella Pertussis, is highly contagious.

It is spread by droplets from coughing or sneezing and can be spread for up to three weeks after the onset of the cough. Persons at risk include those who are not vaccinated, those who have been in contact with an infected person but particularly babies, young children and the elderly. They provide information on how to avoid contracting the illness and the symptoms to be aware of.

Readers of my other blog will recall I recently did a Dr Rachie Reports on the anti-vax movement in Australia and used the death of a 4 week old baby girl as an example of the importance of being correctly vaccinated.

If you are at risk of contracting whooping cough it is recommended you get a booster shot of the vaccine. Or contact your Doctor / Health Care provider, local public health or community health unit – look under the NSW Government Pages in the white pages directory for numbers.

More information on whooping cough can be found here at the New South Wales department of health website.

Thanks to Johann-Heinrich Schönfeldt from Macquarie Skeptics for the tip-off.

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