Health authorities have identified a case of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, at an elementary school in Vancouver.
Last Friday, on March 8, the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) sent home a letter to students and staff at Ecole Laura Secord Elementary.
The written letter explains that time of exposure ranges from February 7 to March 7, and that symptoms can take anywhere from 7 to 21 days before they appear.
Tiffany Atkins, VCH Spokesperson, comments that cases of whooping cough aren’t unusual and that they can be treated with antibiotics.
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Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
- Pertussis is a contagious disease of the lungs and throat caused by bacteria in the mouth, nose, and throat of an infected person. It is spread when the sick person coughs or sneezes.
- If you become infected, it usually takes about 7 to 10 days to get symptoms, but it may take as long as 21 days.
- Early symptoms are like having a cold (sneezing, running nose, low fever, mild cough).
- One to two weeks later, symptoms may include long spells of coughing that often end with a whoop or crowing sound when you breathe in. The coughing may be so bad that the person gags or vomits. This cough can last up to two months and happens more at night.
- Pertussis can be very serious or life-threatening for infants under one-year-old.
Anyone with early symptoms of pertussis is advised to see their health care provider for immediate treatment.
Early treatment can reduce the duration of the cough, which can last many weeks. Also, the earlier that one is treated with antibiotics, the less likely they are to spread the disease to other people.