November 7, 2015 1:38 pm

Surge in whooping cough cases in southern Manitoba

Nurse Susan Peel gives a whooping cough vaccination to a student at Inderkum High School, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Nurse Susan Peel gives a whooping cough vaccination to a student at Inderkum High School, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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If your child has been diagnosed with whooping cough this year, they may not be alone.

The Southern Regional Health Authority is seeing an influx in cases.

A Winkler mom said her four-month-old daughter had to be hospitalized and she is now pushing for more people to get vaccinated.

Naomi Murray’s daughter Phoenix had her first whooping cough vaccination at two months. A month later, she started to cough.

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“It really just started with a cough here and then and then progressively got worse throughout the day,” Murray told 680 CJOB News.

After taking her daughter to a walk-in clinic to get tested, Phoenix was diagnosed with whooping cough.

Manitoba Health said the Southern Regional Health Authority typically sees a handful of cases per year. However there have been more than 40 this year so far.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can cause severe coughing spells with a “whoop” sound between as people try to take a big breath. The cough can last six to 12 weeks. It is most common among infants and can also be life-threatening.

 

The vaccinations are built up over time. Children are suggested to get their first shot at two months. After that they need booster shots at four months, six months, 18 months and Grade 8 or 9.

 

According to Dr. Tim Hilderman, Manitoba’s Medical Officer of Health for Vaccines, vaccination rates for whooping cough at age 2 in the Southern RHA are lower than the provincial average. But vaccination rates at age 7 are higher than the provincial rate.

“So I think what we’re learning here is that the coverage rates that we have aren’t high enough to prevent these kinds of clusters or outbreaks from occurring,” Hilderman told 680 CJOB News. “It’s very difficult for me to say whether or not that’s a phenomenon that’s due to the rate today or whether that’s more of a phenomenon of the cyclical nature of the disease and the rates over time.”

 

Hilderman said adults who haven’t been vaccinated should get a booster shot and suggested they also try to boost infant caregivers as well.

 

— With files from CJOB News

© 2015 Shaw Media

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