Island Health is notifying Cowichan Valley residents that there is a case of whooping cough in Duncan.
A note to parents dated April 30 said, “there has been a case of pertussis (whooping cough) at Duncan Dynamics Gymnastics Club. Individuals who have attended the gym may have been in contact with the bacteria, which are spread by coughing.”
Pertussis is a serious communicable disease. It begins with cold-like symptoms that may progress to a severe cough with a distinctive whooping sound, which may be followed by gagging and/or vomiting.
Symptoms can last for several weeks, according to Island Health.
This can be very serious, particularly for infants under one year of age. Pregnant mothers in their first trimester can also be at risk as they may expose their newborn infant after birth. If you or any of your family develop symptoms as described above, contact your health provider to test for pertussis bacteria.
If someone is diagnosed with pertussis, antibiotic treatment will be needed. After five days of treatment, the individual will no longer be considered infectious and can return to school or work.
It is also important to ensure that your children are up to date with their immunizations against pertussis. These immunizations are normally given to children during the first year of life, at 18 months, and upon entering kindergarten. There is one additional booster shoot when children are in Grade 9.
Please take this opportunity to check if pertussis immunizations are up to date for children in your family. You can receive vaccines at your local public health unit or at some doctors’ offices.
Public health units are located at 675 Canada Ave. in Duncan (250-709-3050) and 58 Cowichan Ave. W. in Lake Cowichan (250-749-6878).