Gateway Gazette

Whooping Cough Outbreak at Okotoks School Comes With Cautions From Alberta Health Services

You may have been in contact with a case of pertussis (whooping cough) at Foothills Composite High School. While pertussis is mainly a childhood disease, it can also affect adults.

Whooping cough starts as a cold with runny nose, sneezing, fever of up to 39.4 C, and mild cough. The cough becomes more severe with repetitive coughing spells followed by a whooping sound when the child breathes in, and some vomiting. Older children and adults may experience milder symptoms, such as a prolonged cough and no whoop. Pertussis can be treated most successfully if caught early; however, immunization can safely prevent disease and, even if it does occur, reduce symptoms and spread of the disease.

Please observe yourself closely for any symptoms of pertussis which will occur up to 21 days after contact. The symptoms to watch for are:

  • a persistent cough which is worse at night
  • a cough which may be accompanied by a whooping sound when breathing in
  • coughing spells which may end in vomiting or gagging

If these symptoms occur, contact your physician. Health information on pertussis can be accessed at:

If you think you may need further doses of pertussis containing vaccine, please contact your closest public health office and or Health Link at 811.

If you have any further questions, please contact the Communicable Disease Unit at 403-955-6750 or Okotoks public health office at 403-995-2600.

Alberta Health Services

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