A whooping cough, or pertussis outbreak has been reported in the northwest portion of the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, according to health officials. Since March, some 200 confirmed and suspected cases of whooping cough have been reported.
This has prompted health officials to encourage vaccination among adults and children in the area.
“Our immediate focus is to bring children and adults up-to-date with the pertussis vaccine,” said Dr. Khami Chokani, Medical Health Officer, Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. “It is also important for parents and other caregivers to check their immunization status. In order to help contain the virus, it is important for everyone who can to be immunized.”
“Health Canada is working with First Nations communities to promote the voluntary childhood vaccination program which ensures that children are up to date with their routine vaccinations,” said Dr. Ibrahim Khan, Regional Medical Health Officer for Health Canada in Saskatchewan. “Health Canada is working with and supporting the efforts of affected First Nation communities in providing enhanced immunization services for prenatal women in their third trimester.”
Dr. Chokani noted that if individuals, including parents/caregivers, are unsure about whether or not they or their children are up to date with immunizations. They should contact their local public health office.
Pertussis, whooping cough, is a serious and highly contagious infection of the lungs and throat caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria. Young children who have not been immunized get sicker than older children and adults. People can get pertussis at any age. People can get pertussis many times during their life, as they do not develop permanent immunity. The disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated but symptoms are typically milder, but they are still able to spread the illness.