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Whooping cough on the rise across Interior Health region

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August 06, 2015 - 8:00 PM

THOMPSON-OKANAGAN - An increase in cases of whooping cough across the Interior Health Authority, but primarily in the Central Okanagan, has prompted a warning from public health officials.

Medical health officer Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi says in 2015 there has already been 58 confirmed cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, with 36 of them concentrated in the Central Okanagan and the rest spread out across the heatlh authority service area. He says he has 'no information' on hospital admissions or deaths from among that number.

Canada is in the midst of a cyclical upswing in pertussis cases, he adds.

"We usually see five or six by this time of year. Last year in 2014 we saw an increase and we're seeing more this year.

Infants under one year of age are most at risk from pertussis, which leaves them vulnerable to potentially fatal cases of pneumonia and encephalitis.

“Pertussis starts with similar symptoms to a common cold and then progresses to a cough. The cough can become severe, with or without a classic whooping sound and may be accompanied by gasping, gagging, shortness of breathing and vomiting. In serious cases it can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage or even death.”

Golmohammadi says up-to-date immunization is the most effective way to stop spread of the disease. The pertussis vaccine is given to children at two months, four months, six months and 18 months old. Another vaccination is given between ages four to six and 14 to 16 years old.

“We are strongly advising all parents to ensure their children are immunized so they are not at risk. The pertussis vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing the spread of this disease.”

Check your child’s vaccination records. You can find information about checking immunization records at Immunize B.C.

To contact the reporter for this story, email John McDonald at jmcdonald@infonews.ca or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2015

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