Manitoba Health urges people get whooping cough vaccinations; rise in cases seen in other provinces
Published Thursday, August 2, 2012 10:55AM CST
Last Updated Thursday, August 2, 2012 5:45PM CST
The provincial government said that due to a “significant increase” in whooping cough in multiple Canadian provinces, Manitoba Health is recommending adults who are in regular contact with children be vaccinated to prevent whooping cough infection.
Health officials said a new vaccine was introduced in 2003, meaning most adults have not yet received the new vaccination, which has a longer immunity period.
The province said the vaccinations are very important for caregivers of infants less than two months old, as those infants are not eligible to be vaccinated for whooping cough.
“Whooping cough most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in children less than one year of age,” said the province.
So far in 2012, there have been 13 confirmed cases of whooping cough including one death, said officials. The province said that over the past few years, there's been a "slight upward trend" in the yearly cases among children.
“Symptoms initially resemble a mild cold, progressing to severe bouts of coughing that can last for weeks,” said the province.
Officials also encouraged people to follow hand-washing etiquette and proper cough etiquette, including covering your mouth and nose with your upper sleeve or with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, putting the used tissue in a wastebasket and then washing hands with soap and water, or with an alcohol-based hand rub.
“Anyone who has experienced mild cold symptoms that have progressed to a severe cough after seven to 14 days, along with persistent bouts of coughing that have a 'whoop' sound, are encouraged to see their primary care provider,” said the province.
"We worry that there's a complacency out there, not only to immunize but also people don't necessarily go to their physician if they've got this prolonged cough,” said Dr. Richard Rusk, medical officer of health for infectious diseases.
More information on whooping cough or vaccinations is available by talking to a doctor or public health nurse, by calling Health Links-Info Santé at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257 (toll-free), or visiting the Manitoba Health website at: http://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/protocol/pertussis.pdf
Dr. Richard Rusk, medical officer of health for infectious diseases in Manitoba, speaks to reporters about calls for whooping cough vaccinations.