Parents at Oaklands Elementary School in Victoria have been warned their children may have been exposed to pertussis, or whooping cough, after a case was confirmed.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority said one case of pertussis, which is spread by coughing, sneezing or close contact with others, has been confirmed in the lab.
Island Health said there have also been recent whooping cough cases on Salt Spring Island and an alert has been issued for that area.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, is an infection of the airways caused by pertussis bacteria. While people of any age can get pertussis, young children who have not been immunized get sicker than older children and adults.
It can also be spread by sharing food, drinks or cigarettes, or kissing. The infection can be spread during its early stages when symptoms are not severe and if it is not treated, it can spread up to three weeks after the cough starts.
In the beginning, the symptoms are similar to a common cold with sneezing, runny nose, a mild fever and a mild cough. Over the next two weeks, the cough gets worse, with severe, repeated and forceful coughing spells that often end with a whooping sound before the next breath. The cough can last several months and occurs more often at night. It can make someone gag or spit out mucous and can make it hard to breathe.
Whooping cough is treated with antibiotics.
Pertussis can cause different complications such as brain damage, seizures, pneumonia or even death. The complications happen most often in infants under one-years-old. In Canada