July 12th, 2024

Whooping cough outbreak getting worse in the south

By Collin Gallant on August 15, 2017.

Medicine Hat News

Health officials are moving to better contain a regional outbreak of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, as numbers of the potentially fatal disease rise in southern Alberta.

As of Monday, 289 cases of the disease have been recorded in the south region during 2017. That compares to 544 province-wide, including 32 in Calgary and 64 in Edmonton.

Of local cases, about 80 per cent are linked to the current outbreak.

Information released by AHS Monday states there is a local increase of cases in children who are “otherwise considered up-to-date on immunizations.”

The agency is telling all residents to make sure their immunizations are up to date as well as offering booster shots to some children.

Those aged 10, 11 or 12 this month can register to receive doses to strengthen the effect of previous inoculations.

Pregnant women in their third trimester are also offered the vaccine routinely as their pregnancy progresses in order to offer some protection to newborns, who are particularly vulnerable.

Whooping cough can cause pneumonia, convulsions, brain injury and even death.

The disease begins as a runny nose, sneezing, fever and mild cough, but over the course of a week will become more severe with coughing spells so intense as to cause vomiting.

Older children and adults can experience milder symptoms, but it can persist for one or two months.

Booster doses will be administered at by-appointment clinics in Medicine Hat on Aug. 24, 30 and 31 at Higdon Hall on the Medicine ht Stampede Grounds. Clinics will also take place throughout locations in southern Alberta, specifically in Brooks on Aug. 30 and 31, and in Bow Island on Aug. 23.

Those in Medicine Hat can register by phoning the local Community Health office at 403-502-8215.

Those who suspect they show signs of the disease should stay home and call their health-care provider for instructions. Treatment generally involves high-dose antibiotics.

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