PAGE 14 - “THE STAR”, Tuesday, June 23, 2009 Whooping cough danger permanent brain damage. be running an immunisation month in October By Matt Dunn South Gippsland General Practice Alliance where we’re going to focus on whooping cough a immunisation co-ordinator Jo Hillbrick, said lot more,” she said. LOCAL medicos are urging parents to mothers and fathers should get immunised in hos- “Whooping cough is a big problem in Gipps- immunise themselves against the viru- pital after their children were born. land. Vaccinations only last about 10 years, which lent pertussis (whopping cough) virus, Parents are the most common source of infec- is why they recommend it for teenagers once the as it takes hold in South Gippsland. tion for babies. Babies can not be immunised un- initial childhood one wears off,” she said. And although extra supplies of the immu- til they are at least eight weeks of age. Leongatha Healthcare partner Tim Linton nisation drug Boostrix are unavailable to local “About 64 per cent of babies who catch said the practice was “pleased to hear of the State whooping cough get it from their parents. It’s Government’s initiative on pertussis. chemists and medical clinics, the Department of a real issue, especially for the younger babies “The current difﬁculty is that there is a Human Services assured The Star there was no before the vaccination actually kicks in,” she signiﬁcant problem in accessing supplies, as the problem with access. said. local pharmacies do not have stock. We hope that “We wouldn’t be going out with this cam- “It can be a really nasty disease for young ba- this will change soon,” Dr Linton said. paign for new parents if we didn’t have ac- bies. They literally cough until they can’t breathe. The clinic received 10 doses of Boostrix the cess to the vaccine. It’s been sought and deliv- So they have these periods where they’re not other day, while Nagel’s Pharmacy manager, Bound to protect: ﬁrst time mother Sara ered to GPs and hospitals, maternity hospitals breathing, so their brains aren’t getting any oxy- Brett Nagel said he had waited several weeks for Donohue, who is 26 weeks pregnant, will and other hospitals with maternity wards,” a gen. That is the worst case scenario.” an order to be ﬁlled. spokesman said. Gippsland has always been a hotspot for the Dr Linton said a number of new cases had heed the call of South Gippsland General “They’ve being ordering it and getting what virus, but there is scant information as to why. presented at the clinic. Practice Alliance immunisation co-ordinator they need. It’s certainly out there.” “There’s no research really saying why, but For further information contact your local GP, Jo Hillbrick (background), to be immunised The disease is particularly dangerous to young it just seems to be very prevalent in Gippsland. or General Practice Alliance immunisation co- against whooping cough. children and can kill babies or leave them with And it has been like that for a few years. We’ll ordinator Jo Hillbrick on 5674 0900. Advertisement The whooping cough facts PERTUSSIS (whooping cough) can be caught ETR2M/8 through coughs and sneezes from an infected person. It is a highly contagious disease that affects the air passages and breathing. The disease causes severe coughing spasms. Between these spasms, the patient gasps for breath. Coughing spasms are often followed by vomiting and the cough can last for months. It can lead to complications such as haemorrhage, convulsions, pneumonia, coma, inﬂammation of the brain, permanent brain damage, long term lung damage, and death. Babies are at risk from birth as no pertussis protection is passed from mother to newborn infant. EDUCATION Complete immunisation of children remains the most effective measure to control pertussis. Pertussis vaccination is offered as part of the Nation- REFUND TAXforget to claim al Immunisation Program for children at two, four, six months, at four years and in Year 10 of secondary school (or 15 years of age). Don’t A child who has received less than three doses of a pertussis containing vaccine should be considered at risk of pertussis. People become immune either through pertussis im- munisation or by catching the disease itself, but protec- tion is not life-long and begins to wane after 6-10 years. Sometimes immunised people still contract pertussis, but they are likely to have a less severe illness. (Source: DHS) Cash kept BASS Coast’s Cr Gareth Barlow is amazed at the amount of money staff are able to save following an edict from councillors. Each month, staff are to report on ways they have altered the way things are done to save money. “Month after month staff have managed to save money,” said Cr Barlow, adding the edict (which has been in place for some time) had exceeded all expec- tation. The most recent saving was reported by the corpo- rate services department. Until the middle of last year, council had 13 ﬁle servers at the heart of the computer system. Through a combination of software, hardware and ﬁle server processors, the 13 ageing ﬁle servers have been con- The Australian Government’s Education Tax Refund means solidated into two purpose-built ﬁle servers and a you could get 50% back on a range of your children’s education special data storage unit. expenses – for eligible items bought before 1 July, 2009. Over the next three years, this is estimated to save a total of $134,000. It’s a refund of up to $375 for each primary school child and $750 for each secondary school child. You can claim It also means that in the event of disaster at the main council ofﬁces, only the paired ﬁle servers need expenses like textbooks, stationery, educational software and even computers, printers and internet costs. to be re-established instead of the 13, which would You are eligible if you receive Family Tax Beneﬁt (FTB) Part A for a child at school or a payment was made for the take about two days per server. child that prevented you from receiving FTB Part A such as Youth Allowance. You can claim the refund on your tax return. If you don’t need to lodge a tax return you can still claim, so be sure you keep your receipts and claim New centre committee from 1 July 2009. THE Venus Bay community centre held its To ﬁnd out more visit ﬁrst annual general meeting as an incorporated australia.gov.au/educationtaxrefund body last month and elected a new committee. or call 13 28 61 South Gippsland shire councillor Kieran Kennedy, who is a Venus Bay resident and represents the shire on the committee, said the new committee had a big chal- lenge ahead to build on the work of the past two years. The new ofﬁce bearers are chairperson Helen Macrae, deputy chairperson Roger Watkin, treasurer Bruno Tren- ning, deputy treasurer Liane Goldsmith, secretary Don Kennedy, deputy secretary Annie McBain and public of- ﬁcer Jan Wallbridge. Authorised by the Australian Government, Capital Hill, Canberra. Committee members are Val Atwell, Annette Watkin, Nathan McGrath, Amanda McGrath and Norman Finck.