Tag Archives: Fredericton

Whooping cough outbreak declared in Fredericton

A whooping cough outbreak has been declared in Fredericton, where 10 children from “several” schools and two adults have been diagnosed since January, the regional medical officer of health announced Wednesday.

It comes on the heels of a whooping cough outbreak being declared at Moncton High School last month after five cases were confirmed.

The bacterial respiratory infection, which spreads easily through droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing, can cause “severe disease” in young children, said Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey.

For infants under the age of one, it can be fatal.

“Fortunately, I’m pleased to say we have not had any hospitalizations,” Lamptey said during a news conference.

She is urging parents to seek medical attention if they or their children develop symptoms and to ensure they have all of the recommended immunizations.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms should avoid contact with pregnant women and infants under the age of one until they see a family doctor or visit an after-hours clinic, she said.

Starts like a cold

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, starts with cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough.

Over the next week or two, however, the cough worsens, leading to serious coughing spells that often end with a “whoop,” said Lamptey. The cough can last up to two months and may become so severe it causes the infected person to gag or vomit.

A doctor can confirm the diagnosis through a nose culture or blood test and, if the results come back positive, prescribe antibiotics. Once treated, a person with whooping cough is no longer contagious.

If left untreated, an infected person can spread the disease for up to three weeks after the onset of the cough.

Symptoms usually start within seven to 10 days of exposure.

Whooping cough can cause serious coughing spells that often end with a ‘whoop’ and can make the infected person gag or vomit. (CBC)

Normally the Fredericton health region, which encompasses the Upper St. John River Valley, sees no more than one case a year, while the entire province see about 27 confirmed cases.

“We’re at April, which is just over a quarter of the year and we’re at 12 [in the city of Fredericton], so that is well over what we would expect to see,” Lamptey said.

The affected children are age six to 12, she said.

At least one of them attends Garden Creek Elementary, according to a letter Lamptey sent to parents, guardians and staff on Tuesday.

The other affected schools include: Park Street Elementary School, Gibson-Neill Memorial Elementary, Nashwaaksis Middle School, Fredericton Christian Academy and George Street Middle School.

‘Some’ affected students missed booster

The fact that multiple schools are involved is not concerning at this point, or surprising given the extensive social interactions in the city, said Lamptey.

No school has more than three cases, but public health is keeping a close watch, she said.

“If we saw cases rise in a particular school, then public health would be taking action to verify immunization records and considering putting immunization clinics in schools that are in outbreak. We’re not at that stage yet.”

Although “some” of the affected students missed getting their recommended pre-school booster shot, there are no plans to exclude students who don’t have all of their immunizations, said Lamptey.

“If we got to an outbreak situation in a school, that is a measure that is available to the medical officers of health under the Public Health Act, but we’re not at a stage right now in a school where that is necessary.”

Experts say vaccination is the best way to curb the whooping cough outbreak. (AP Photo)

In New Brunswick, children should have doses of the pertussis vaccine when they are two, four, six and 18 months old and again at age four, followed by a booster dose in Grade 7, said Lamptey.

Adults should receive one dose of a pertussis-containing vaccine because immunity from the vaccine decreases over time.

Those who have not received all their immunizations are at highest risk for severe illness and complications, according to public health.

Vaccination is free and can be obtained by making an appointment with a primary care giver or through public health.

Stay at home

“You can protect yourself and protect those around you,” said Lamptey.

To help prevent spread of the disease, people should also stay home if they are sick and should wash their hands frequently.

The last large outbreak of whooping cough in New Brunswick was in 2012, when about 1,400 people were affected, but there was a smaller outbreak in the Moncton region in 2016 with 60 to 70 cases.

The last outbreak in Fredericton was in 2017, when 33 cases were confirmed, including 17 children and two infants.

It is possible to get whooping cough more than once.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News

'Behind the badge we have a human being': Officers could struggle psychologically after Fredericton shooting

Four years after Justin Bourque's Moncton shooting rampage that killed three RCMP constables, police officers in New Brunswick are facing a new traumatic event that may have long-lasting psychological consequences, experts warn.

On Friday morning in Fredericton, police constables Robb Costello and Sara Burns were shot and killed while responding to a call at an apartment complex. Bobbie Lee Wright, 32, and her boyfriend, Donnie Robichaud, were also killed by alleged gunman Matthew Vincent Raymond, who has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder.

One expert said that in the aftermath of a traumatic event, police officers can develop operational stress injuries (OSI), especially those who have seen both colleagues and friends killed in the line of duty.

Police officers Const. Robb Costello, 45, and Const. Sara Burns, 43, were killed in the shooting at a Fredericton apartment complex. (Fredericton Police Force/Twitter)

"It is important to understand that behind the badge, we have a human being," said Katy Kamkar, a clinical psychologist with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.

'Depression and anxiety'

CAMH defines an OSI as any persistent psychological difficulty resulting from operational duties such as law enforcement, combat or any other service-related duties.

"We run away from trauma while [police officers] go towards it to face it," said Kamkar, who is also director of Badge For Life Canada, an organization that provides support for police and corrections personnel dealing with psychological injuries.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the main operational injuries experienced by officers, she said, but other results of exposure to traumatic events can include emotional, physical and cognitive responses that are not necessarily recognized as PTSD.

"We need to have an awareness and appreciation for other very known mental health conditions that officers might face such as depression and anxiety disorder," she said.

Police officers and paramedics at the scene of the shooting on Friday. (Keith Minchin/Canadian Press)

Canada had its first national survey looking at operational stress injuries among first responders published in 2017 in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry.

Of the 5,813 first responders who participated in the survey, 44.5 per cent "screened positive for clinically significant symptom clusters consistent with one or more mental disorders," while Statistics Canada reported the rate for the general population at about 10 per cent.

"It is clear that police officers and other first responders are more likely to experience psychological and physical health concerns than the regular population," said Kamkar. "Very frequently, if not almost every day, they can go through traumatic events."

Police officers are the second most likely occupation in Canada to be slain on the job, after taxi drivers, suggests a Statistics Canada study released in 2010 that looks at police officers who were killed in the line of duty.

Between 1961 and 2009, 133 police officers were killed in the line of duty in Canada, the study revealed, but that figure does not include other causes of death such as collisions involving police cruisers.

Cause for reflection

Incidents such as the shooting in Fredericton and the Moncton shooting in June 2014 "cause police officers to reflect on their career," said Tom Stamatakis, director of the Canadian Police Association.

For some officers it might mean the potential risks of being involved in these kinds of incidents becomes too significant to continue in policing, he said, adding that everyone reacts differently and that some won't realize the emotional affects for a long time.

Kamkar emphasized that it is normal for both police officers and civilians to experience emotional responses such as nightmares and increased irritability after going through a traumatic event such as a shooting.

However, if symptoms continue or increase over time, interfering with day-to-day life, it is important to seek professional help, she said.

"Services now have to move to a model where there are regular interventions," said Stamatakis, mentioning that it takes away the stigma of having to ask for help and might reveal problems that officers face earlier on.

"I think that there is an acceptance that there is an issue and that we need to manage it," he said.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

CBC | Health News