(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / jirsak)(Photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo Inc. / jirsak)

Whooping cough cases on the rise in Huron Perth

Huron Perth Public Health is seeing an increase in cases of pertussis in children.

In 2022, there were three cases in Huron Perth. So far this year, there have already been 21 confirmed cases. In 2022, there were 151 confirmed cases in Ontario according to Public Health Ontario surveillance.

The disease known as whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial illness. People usually develop symptoms about five to 10 days after exposure to someone who has pertussis. It starts with mild cold-like symptoms, but could progress to severe coughing that can last for two weeks or longer. some children will make a whoop sound, gag, or vomit while coughing.

Pertussis spreads easily through respiratory droplets or touch. Vaccination is the best defense. Ontario offers the shot at 2, 4, 6 and 18 months of age, followed by booster doses at 4-6 and 14-16 years of age.

“The illness can be serious for infants younger than 12 months of age who are not vaccinated, or who have not received all doses of the pertussis vaccine,” said Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth. “Young children have the highest risk for severe complications, such as hospitalization and death, if they get sick.”

Parents are encouraged to ensure their children stay up-to-date with routine immunizations, as many routine immunizations were delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People who are sick, should stay home except to seek medical attention. If your child has symptoms of pertussis, get in touch with your doctor  as soon as possible.

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