A case of whooping cough has been confirmed at Mount Douglas secondary school as of March 7. (Google Maps)

Whooping cough confirmed at Saanich high school

Nagging cough can be fatal for infants

Island Health confirmed at least one student at Mount Douglas secondary has been diagnosed with whooping cough (pertussis).

The health agency and school sent a letter to students and parents on Thursday with hopes to stem further outbreak of the airborne bacteria.

READ MORE: No confirmed cases of measles on Vancouver Island despite mainland outbreak

“Individuals who have attended the school may have been in contact with the bacteria, which are spread by coughing,” said the letter.

Whooping cough for teens is a nagging, uncomfortable illness though it is a much greater health concern for infants as it can be fatal for those under one year of age. Therefore, Island Health is asking the community to be careful in tracking who has been exposed to any confirm cases.

READ MORE: Whooping cough detected in Claremont student

“Infants are very vulnerable, and about one infant out of every 170 who gets pertussis will die from it,” said Island Health spokesperson Meribeth Burton.

Pregnant mothers in their third trimester can also be at risk as they may expose their newborn infant after birth.

Island Health reported that Vancouver Island had 213 confirmed cases of whooping cough in 2017 and 373 confirmed cases in 2016, the latter being the highest number of cases reported on Vancouver Island in recent years.

The cough begins with cold-like symptoms that may progress to a severe cough with a distinctive ‘whooping’ sound, which may be followed by gagging or vomiting.

Symptoms can last for several weeks.

If someone is diagnosed with pertussis, antibiotic treatment will be needed. After five days of treatment, the individual will no longer be considered infectious and can return to school or work.

A vaccine for pertussis is among the immunization protocol for B.C. children, usually given during the first year of life, then again around 18 months and again upon entering Kindergarten.

There is one additional booster shot when children are in Grade 9.

Anyone who develops the symptoms is asked to contact their health care provider to test for pertussis bacteria.

reporter@saanichnews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria man identified as victim in Thunder Bay murder

Police investigating after Paul Vivier, 29, discovered in hotel

Fire at Victoria hotel contained to one room, leaves 20 suites in need of remediation

Fire crews extinguished the blaze at the Comfort Inn in 12 minutes

University of Victoria chemist works to create at-home COVID-19 test

The test uses a sample of saliva, results are then read by an app

Firefighters called for technical rescue at Sooke Potholes

Woman breaks her leg while walking along riverbed

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

Considerations made to keep Island community’s drive-by birthday celebrations going

Trucks will tone it down or not use horns at all to bring some joy to kids and older folks

Summer tubing ban on Cowichan River lifted

The Tube Shack opening on June 27

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

Most Read