Pertussis (Whooping Cough)

Pertussis, also known as the whooping cough, is a very contagious (easily spread) bacterial infection that affects the lungs and airways.

Early symptoms are similar to a common cold: mild fever, runny nose, sneezing, red watery eyes and mild cough. After 10-14 days, the cough becomes worse, leading to severe, repeated and forceful coughing spells that often end with a whooping sound before the next breath. Coughing spells may result in vomiting and difficulty breathing.

Pertussis can result in serious complications, including death

Those at highest risk of serious complications from pertussis are children under 1 year of age, and people with weakened immune systems.

Women who contract pertussis in the third trimester of pregnancy have an increased risk of passing it on to their newborn babies. All pregnant women should receive a dose of pertussis-containing vaccine each pregnancy, regardless of last dose, preferably between 27-32 weeks gestation.

Immunization is the best way to protect against getting pertussis.  Pertussis containing vaccines are safe and effective.

If you believe you have been exposed to pertussis, or have symptoms of pertussis call your health care provider as soon as possible.

Anyone in Yellowknife who has been in contact with someone who has been confirmed to have pertussis should contact public health at 767-9120  if they have symptoms or are unsure about their vaccination status.

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