Pertussis – Canada

The N.W.T.’s Chief Public Health Officer has declared an outbreak of pertussis, or whooping cough, in the Deh Cho region after a total of seven cases were confirmed in two communities (Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson).

This is the second year in a row the territory has declared a pertussis outbreak. An outbreak declared in January 2020 in the Yellowknife and T???ch? regions led to at least 55 confirmed cases.

Residents of Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson are being asked to confirm their pertussis vaccinations as soon as possible by contacting their health center, the advisory states. While the vaccine is safe and effective, immunity from it may fade over time.

Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to someone with pertussis or is showing symptoms is asked to contact their health center as soon as possible.

Anyone confirmed to have pertussis is strongly advised to stay at home, and in particular away from infants, young children, women in the last three months of pregnancy, and large public gatherings until their antibiotic treatment is completed.

Photo: Bordetella pertussis micrograph

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis or the 100-day cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease.

Initial symptoms are usually similar to those of the common cold with a runny nose, fever, and mild cough, but these are followed by weeks of severe coughing fits. The coughing may last for 10 or more weeks, hence the phrase "100-day cough". A person may cough so hard that they vomit, break ribs, or become very tired from the effort. Children less than one year old may have little or no cough and instead have periods where they do not breathe.

A vaccine exists but the disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated. Typically symptoms will be milder.

Outbreaks of the disease were first described in the 16th century. The bacterium that causes the infection was discovered in 1906. The pertussis vaccine became available in the 1940s

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