Public Health Reports Ten Local Cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Written by admin, July 3, 2012

July 3, 2012 – Adults and Infants Advised to Get Vaccinated as Pertussis Circulates Across Ontario
Ten local cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported to Peterborough Public Health since March 2012 prompting it to advise local residents to get vaccinated to prevent the further spread of this potentially dangerous disease for young infants.

“We are currently seeing a rise in pertussis cases locally similar to what is occurring elsewhere in the province so now is the time for infants and the adults to get immunized,” said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, Medical Officer of Health. “The good news is that the vaccine is available free of charge from your healthcare provider.Pertussis can be quite unpleasant but for newborns and infants it can be deadly. At first, symptoms are similar to those of the common cold. They can include a runny nose, red watery eyes, mild fever and cough. The cough worsens until the infected individual experiences severe coughing spells, associated with gasping or choking, or both, which is characterized by the distinctive “whooping” sound upon inhalation. These bouts of severe coughing can continue over a period ranging from six to 12 weeks.
Young infants may experience complications such as vomiting after a coughing spell, weight loss, breathing problems, choking spells, pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage, and in rare cases, death.
From January 1 to April 30, 2012, Public Health Ontario reported an increase in pertussis in the province compared to previous years. The increase is mainly due to an ongoing outbreak in seven southwestern Ontario health units. . At the beginning of June 2012, almost 200 cases have been confirmed across the province. These cases have occurred mostly in unimmunized children and adults. Beyond the outbreak, a provincial increase in possibly unrelated cases is currently under investigation and may be associated with the cyclical nature of pertussis.
Residents are advised to consult their healthcare provider if they are unsure if they have been immunized against pertussis. Those without a healthcare provider can book an appointment at Public Health Immunization Clinic at (705) 743-1000.

Family members should see their healthcare provider if anyone in their household has a cough that lasts longer than a week. It is important to get an accurate diagnosis, and to make sure infected individuals get treatment and avoid close contact with newborns and infants.
In addition to vaccination, proper hand washing can help prevent the spread of pertussis, as well as other infectious diseases.

Further information is available on www.peterboroughpublichealth.ca and in the accompanying Media Fact Sheet: Pertussis.

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For further information, please contact:

Brittany Cadence
Communications Officer
(705) 743-1000, ext. 391