MONCTON, N.B. – A New Brunswick medical official says the southeast area of the province is experiencing an outbreak of whooping cough.
Dr. Yves Leger, medical officer of health for the province’s eastern region, says 31 cases have been confirmed since August, most of them in the Moncton area.
Whooping cough is a contagious disease of the lungs and throat caused by the spread of a certain type of bacteria.
In adults, the symptoms can be as minor as a dry, nagging cough but the disease can be life-threatening for babies and young children when their breathing becomes restricted.
Children who are too young to be fully immunized and those who have not received all their immunizations are at highest risk for severe illness.
Those at risk also include pregnant women in their third trimester, their partners or anyone in close contact with newborns.
Leger says adults are being urged to check with their doctors to see if they may require a booster shot.
New Brunswick’s most recent outbreak was in 2012 when about 1,400 people reported getting the illness, most of them in the southeastern corner of the province.
Even though people across Canada are routinely immunized against whooping cough, sporadic cases and outbreaks can occur as immunity from the vaccine decreases over time.