Whooping cough spreading across southern Alberta: AHS

Click to play video: 'Pertussis outbreak spreads across Alberta'
Pertussis outbreak spreads across Alberta
WATCH: More than two months after it was declared, the whooping cough outbreak in southern Alberta continues to grow and cases are now appearing in other parts of the province. Young children are being hit the hardest and that has health officials making another plea for parents to get their kids immunized. Jaclyn Kucey has the latest. – Apr 10, 2023

Alberta Health Services says whooping cough is spreading across the southern region of the province after the illness was first declared in the south zone in January.

On Thursday, AHS released a statement with new numbers reflecting growth of the cough, which is also known as pertussis.

There are now 114 identified cases impacting Lethbridge, Coaldale, Taber, Vauxhall, Grassy Lake, Bow Island, Forty Miles Seven Persons and Fort Macleod, according to AHS.

Click to play video: 'Why pregnant women should get the flu and whooping cough vaccine'
Why pregnant women should get the flu and whooping cough vaccine

There is also a small number of cases in Red Deer and Willingdon in the central zone.

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The bacterial infection largely affects young children —72 per cent of the cases are children between the ages one and nine. Five kids have been hospitalized.

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AHS said many of these communities have significantly low childhood immunization rates and there is evidence of household transmission.

Click to play video: 'Pertussis outbreak hits Lethbridge region'
Pertussis outbreak hits Lethbridge region

The cough usually starts with a running nose, sneezing, fever and mild cough, AHS said. It can cause severe and prolonged coughing that lasts for weeks, with infants under the age of one at greater risk of serious complications.

If anyone believes they or their child may have pertussis, AHS recommends staying home and calling a family doctor or Health Link at 811. Anyone with a confirmed case should stay home until five days of treatment and antibiotics have been completed, AHS said. Information on vaccination against whooping cough can be found through AHS.


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