Moncton high school students concerned for unvaccinated after whooping cough confirmed
MONCTON -- One person has been diagnosed with pertussis, also known as whooping cough, at Bernice MacNaughton High School.
It's a highly contagious respiratory tract infection.
"I didn't want to come to school because I don't want to get it," said one student.
Whooping cough is spread by coughing or contact with saliva.
It's the second time in a week that an infectious case has been diagnosed within this school.
"I was a little concerned because tuberculosis just broke out like last week," said student Brody Bernard.
Dr. Kimberley Barker, the South Region Medical Officer of Health confirmed the case of whooping cough and says as a precaution, school officials have issued a letter and fact sheet to the school community.
That letter, sent home Thursday, read in part:
"We have discovered through public health that we have had a case of pertussis (whooping cough) diagnosed at BMHS. Public health is looking into the situation. In situations where more cases have been confirmed, it has been public health's practice to provide parents with additional information."
Bernard said he's vaccinated.
"So, I'm fine," he said. "My mom isn't really worrying about it but she's just saying it's kind of crazy that this is all happening so quickly."
The letter also says the severe cough can last for months and for infants under one year of age, the disease can be deadly.
Many students at BMHS say their concerns are for those who are unvaccinated.
"People should be vaccinated because it's obviously not a good thing," said student Sidney Smith.
Another student, Damyan Gould, is not too concerned either.
"It is a bit infectious, but I don't think it's anything to worry about as long as people are vaccinated and people and away from anybody with a cough," Gould said.
Parents were advised if their children develop symptoms to see a family physician or after-hours clinic -- and to inform the doctor that their child may have come in contact with the whooping cough.
Under public health guidelines, those infected should stay home until at least five days from the start of treatment.