May 5, 2017 10:34 am
Updated: May 5, 2017 10:38 am

Whooping cough outbreak in Prince Albert Parkland Health Region

The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region, Health Canada, and surrounding First Nation communities are coordinating a response to a whooping cough outbreak.

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The Prince Albert Parkland Health Region (PAPHR) announced a whooping cough outbreak focused in its northwest portion on Friday.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is a serious and highly contagious infection of the lungs and throat caused by Bordetella pertussis bacteria.

The health region, Health Canada and surrounding First Nation communities are currently assessing and coordinating a response to the outbreak.

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“Health Canada is working with First Nations communities to promote the voluntary childhood vaccination program which ensures that children are up to date with their routine vaccinations,” Dr. Ibrahim Khan, regional medical health officer for Health Canada in Saskatchewan, said in a press release.

“Health Canada is working with and supporting the efforts of affected First Nation communities in providing enhanced immunization services for prenatal women in their third trimester.”

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PAPHR medical health officer Dr. Khami Chokani is urging people to check their vaccination status. Health officials said young children who have not been immunized get sicker than older children and adults.

“Our immediate focus is to bring children and adults up-to-date with the pertussis vaccine,” Chokani said.

“It is also important for parents and other caregivers to check their immunization status. In order to help contain the virus, it is important for everyone who can to be immunized.”

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Chokani added that if people are unsure about whether or not they are up to date with immunizations, they should contact their local public health office.

According to PAPHR, people do not develop a permanent immunity to whooping cough and the disease may occur in those who have been vaccinated but symptoms are typically milder.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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