The Greater Victoria School District has sent letters to parents stating there have been five separate cases of whooping cough reported at five of its schools.
Piet Langstraat, the superintendent of the Greater Victoria School District, said the schools that are dealing with pertussis cases are Cloverdale Traditional School, Craigflower Elementary School, Central Middle School, École Intermédiaire Lansdowne Middle School and Shoreline Community Middle School.
“Working with Island Health, we have been providing letters to parents in the schools that are affected to let them know that there is a confirmed case and providing some guidance for them in terms of what to do with their own children,” Langstraat said.
“And we continue to monitor throughout the district to be vigilant for new cases that may occur.”
According to the Greater Victoria School District, the cases are isolated and some of the cases were reported last week. The latest confirmed case was reported this afternoon.
“They are just single cases in each one of those schools,” Langstraat said.
Island Health warns that pertussis begins with mild cold-like symptoms and may progress to a severe cough with a whoop. The cough may be followed by vomiting. The disease is dangerous in young children, particularly those under the age of one.
“We’ve seen a number of cases of pertussis within the community, some among students who have gone to several schools within the south Island.” Geoff McKee, a medical health officer resident with Island Health, said.
A doctor can do a special throat swab to check for the pertussis germ. Antibiotic treatment is needed for pertussis. Children can usually return to school after five days of antibiotic treatment when the disease is no longer infectious.
“We typically see cases of pertussis throughout the community throughout the year,” McKee said.
“We have noticed an uptick in some of the cases this year compared to last year although we do note that it waxes and wanes throughout the year and it definitely isn’t the most cases that we’ve seen in the south Island.”
McKee said there have been 82 whooping cough cases this year in the south Island. In 2016, there were 88 cases in the south Island. He also added it’s important people keep up-to-date on their vaccinations.