AHS confirms case of pertussis at Crescent Heights High School

By CHAT News Today
November 14, 2017 - 3:09pm Updated: November 14, 2017 - 7:17pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — Alberta Health Services and Crescent Heights High School has confirmed a case of pertussis in the school.

A letter was posted on the school’s website and sent home with students on Tuesday, confirming the diagnosis.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is caused by bacteria. The disease starts similar to a cold with a mild cough, but the cough gradually becomes more severe, with repetitive coughing spells, often following by a whooping sound when trying to breath in.

Children under one year of age are especially vulnerable, and may need hospitalization to recover. Women in their last trimester of pregnancy are also at risk of spreading the illness to their newborn babies.

Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics.

If someone is showing symptoms of whooping cough, they should stay home from school, work or any public place. AHS recommends people stay home for five days after starting treatment with antibiotics, but if treatment is not started, they should stay home for 21 days after the start of their symptoms.

Pertussis is part of the regular immunization schedule for children in Alberta ,but adults are also advised to receive an immunization against pertussis.

Since June, AHS has reported an outbreak of pertussis in the South Zone, which covers Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. The outbreak began in the western part of the zone.

So far this year, 406 cases of pertussis have been reported in the zone, with 356 of those cases directly linked to the outbreak.

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