Island Health sent a letter to parents at Mount Doug Secondary School on Thursday informing them of a case of pertussis or whooping cough recently recorded at the institution.
“Individuals who have attended the school may have been in contact with the bacteria, which are spread by coughing,” reads the letter.
Symptoms of pertussis include flu-like features which progress into severe coughing with a distinctive ‘whooping’ sound that can last for several weeks.
People diagnosed with whooping cough are required to undergo five days of antibiotic treatment before they are no longer infectious and can return to school/work.
The Island Health letter called for parents to ensure that their children are up to date with their immunizations against pertussis.
Vaccines for the infection are typically administered during their first year of life, after 18 months, upon entering kindergarten, and an additional booster shot in grade 9.
It is unclear whether or not the individual diagnosed with whooping cough at Mount Doug was immunized against the infection.
Victoria Buzz has reached out to Island Health and the Greater Victoria School District for further details on this most recent case of pertussis.
There were 107 recorded cases of pertussis on the South Island in 2017, 79 in 2016 and 213 in 2015.
Whooping cough is an extremely contagious respiratory tract infection that is particularly dangerous for infants and pregnant mothers in their third trimester.
It can cause complications like seizures, pneumonia, brain damage and even death. One to four people die of pertussis each year in Canada, most of whom are infants too young for immunization, or children who have not been vaccinated against it.
In 2015, 142,512 pertussis cases were recorded globally by the World Health Organization, and approximately 89,000 people died from it.