Diphtheria scare hits again at Edmonton school
A student at a north Edmonton elementary school has been diagnosed with diphtheria, and not for the first time, according to the parent of a son who attends the school.
Edmonton Public Schools told CTV News Edmonton it has informed Evansdale School families a student has a case of diphtheria.
Alberta Health Services (AHS) said it has contacted "a small group of individuals" who may have been in contact with the student. While there are no other confirmed cases of diphtheria in the school, one student is staying at home and taking medication as precaution.
"I get a daily phone call from AHS checking if my son has symptoms," Lisa Connolly, whose 11-year-old son is in the same class as the child diagnosed with diphtheria, told CTV News Edmonton.
There was a case of diphtheria at Evansdale School in 2017. According to Connolly's son, it is the same student that has diphtheria right now.
Diphtheria is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation in the upper respiratory tract, AHS said. It can be spread through respiratory secretions and skin contact.
Symptoms include fever, sore throat and loss of appetite, and in severe cases, extreme neck swelling.
Connolly said she is frustrated by what she calls a lack of communication by the school.
"I feel it's kind of being pushed under the rug," she said. "We need the actual specifics and I think that the generic letter that went home Friday didn’t do anything."
AHS said some information is held back to protect patient privacy.
"In some of these circumstances, it means you may not get a full and complete story, but we ask people to trust us," Dr. Chris Sikora, Edmonton zone medical officer of health at AHS, said.
Diphtheria vaccinations are free. AHS could not say if the student had been vaccinated for diphtheria in the past or how the infected student may have contracted the disease.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Dan Grummett