Case of whooping cough confirmed at local elementary school

By CHAT News Today
November 21, 2018 - 1:15pm Updated: November 21, 2018 - 7:03pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — The Medicine Hat Public School Division has confirmed a case of whooping cough at a local elementary school.

A letter went home to staff, parents and guardians of River Heights Elementary School earlier this week, stating a case has been confirmed.

The letter goes on to explain the symptoms of pertussis (whooping cough), which is caused by bacteria.

The illness starts as a cold. A runny nose, sneezing and a fever are all common symptoms, along with a cough, which gradually becomes more severe. Repetitive coughing spells are followed by a whooping sound and vomiting may occur following a coughing fit.

Alberta Health Services states that children under the age of one are especially vulnerable and may need to be hospitalized to recover from the illness.

Women who are pregnant are also at risk of spreading the illness to their babies.

Superintendent Mark Davidson said the division is in close communication with the medical officer of health.

“We really take our level of concern from her and she lets us know what’s present in the community and certainly there’s advice in that letter that we take as well in terms of monitoring the health of our people and our students,” he said.

Whooping cough is treatable with antibiotics.

AHS is urging that a child diagnosed with pertussis stays home for five days, once antibiotics have started.

If treatment is not started, you must stay home for 21 days following the start of symptoms.

More information can be found here.

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