RHA concerned about whooping cough risk 0
Public health nurse Shauna Nelles gives Jen Scott, a fellow public health nurse, a booster shot in Point Edward, On., near Sarnia, On., to protect her from whooping cough.
Increased infection rates of whooping cough have led Manitoba Health to ask adults in regular contact with children to get vaccinated.
One person has died as a result of whooping cough this year, and 13 others have been infected including some in the Southern RHA region.
The number of kids who get infected each year is on the rise, while the number of adults who get it is stable.
The highly contagious infection spreads through coughs, sneezes or sharing food. What starts out as a mild cold can progress to severe bouts of coughing with a distinguishable "whoop" sound.
Infants can't be vaccinated and are especially vulnerable. People who work with newborns and other children are eligible for free vaccines. Adults who are due for a tetanus booster - given every 10 years - can get a combined shot for free.
Southern RHA's Dr. Myron Thiessen said people who have been vaccinated as a child should still be vaccinated again as an adult.
"It has been found people lose their immunity over time," he said. "A person should be getting a follow-up vaccination once they are an adult, within about 10 years . In about their mid-20s a person should get a booster again."
Manitoba Health also advises anyone whose cold symptoms have become severe over one to two weeks, with persistent bouts of coughing to see their doctor to get tested. Symptoms are often more severe in adults than in children.
For more information, visit the Manitoba Health website at www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/cdc/protocol/pertussis.pdf.
- Whooping cough or pertussis is named after the bacterium that causes it: Bordetella pertussis.
- Seven to 10 days after being infected with whooping cough, most people will have symptoms similar to a common cold. Ten to 14 days after infection, the frequency and severity of coughing gets rapidly worse. That can last one to six weeks or even 10 weeks before symptoms decline.
- Whooping cough is characterized by "paroxysms": a series of many coughs without breathing in between, often followed by a crowing or high-pitched whooping sound as the person breathes in. Skin can become blue-tinged due to lack of oxygen.
- 20-30 per cent of infants who get whooping cough are admitted to the hospital. One in 400 infants hospitalized with the infection die, usually after developing pneumonia or brain damage.
- Every year, 1-3 infants die of pertussis in Canada.
- There were 82 reported cases of pertussis in Manitoba in 2004 - 35 per cent aged 10 to 14, 18 per cent infants. More and more adults are being infected and passing whooping cough to babies who are too young to be immunized.
Once someone in your household has pertussis, there's an 80 per cent chance you'll get it. Day care and office contact has a similar transmission rate. Pertussis spreads only through very close contact, such as saliva droplets from an infected person (i.e. getting sneezed or coughed on, sharing food).
- The Tdap vaccine protects against tetanus, diptheria and pertussis. The vaccination is about 85 per cent effective. It lasts six to 12 years.
- Manitoba kids are first immunized for pertussis at age 4-6 then 14-16 and then every 10 years.
- Parapertussis is a milder version of whooping cough and is caused by a similar bacterium called Bordetella parapertussis.
- Pertussis is endemic worldwide, particularly in young children regardless of ethnicity, climate or geographic location. Outbreaks occur periodically every three to five years.
- Manitoba Health