Outbreak at Riverton Primary

Lindiwe Hitch of Tim Siv's TerryWhite Chemmart in Clare simulates a whooping cough vacincation on a fellow employee
Lindiwe Hitch of Tim Siv's TerryWhite Chemmart in Clare simulates a whooping cough vacincation on a fellow employee

The respiratory infection whooping cough is sweeping through Riverton with an outbreak of the disease over recent weeks.

A total of 21 students from Riverton Primary School and one student at Riverton Kindergarten have been confirmed to have contracted the infection since the start of August.

Riverton Primary principal Cheryl Glendie said she had been in almost daily contact with both the Health Department and the Education Department since the first reported case last month.

“I report every single case to the Health Department every day so that we keep right on top of it,” she said.

Ms Glendie said she had reported the first case of whooping cough to SA Health on August 7 with the infection at its worst over a two-week period.

The infection has been sweeping through the school for around a month but Ms Glendie believed that it was now beginning to wind down.

Both departments have reassured us that we have done everything we possibly can as a school, and I can not do anymore than that

Riverton Primary principal Cheryl Glendie

She said that the outbreak had caused quite a disruption to the school.

“It is quite annoying because it has a disruption to the kids’ learning programs,” she said.

“I have certainly spent a lot of time (dealing with the outbreak) and I would rather be dealing with their NAPLAN results.

“I would rather be talking about that than whooping cough!”

No staff at Riverton Primary have contracted the infection.

The virus, however, has begun to travel into surrounding towns with confirmed cases of Riverton Primary students from Saddleworth and Marrabel contracting whooping cough.

Health Minister Jack Snelling urged South Australians to get vaccinated for the infection back in June as the number of reported cases was rising at an alarming rate.

At the time, the state had seen a 50 per cent increase in the number of reported cases compared to 12 months ago as 860 South Australians contracted the disease compared to 571 at the same time last year.

Health experts were concerned that cases of whooping cough would reach a five-year high.