Event Update: The Government of New Brunswick reports that the whooping cough (Pertussis) outbreak is over in New Brunswick.
“Reported cases of whooping cough have diminished greatly in the past weeks and we have declared the outbreak over,” said Dr. Eilish Cleary, chief medical officer of health.
▲A total of 1,421 cases of whooping cough were reported in 2012 - the largest outbreak ever reported in the province. Children from 10 to 14 years of age were most affected, followed by children 5-9 years of age and infants under 1.
“Different initiatives were put in place during 2012 to fight the rise of whooping cough in New Brunswick, including a two-phased province-wide school-based immunization campaign for students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 in the east and south regions in the spring and students in Grades 7, 8 and 9 in the rest of the province in the fall,” said Cleary.
The coughing spells can end in a high-pitched “whooping” sound which occurs when an infected child or infant inhales after coughing; coughing spells may also be followed by vomiting. Pertussis is a particular concern for babies, who can develop complications such as pneumonia and seizures. Pertussis can be fatal in young babies. See Hazard tab for details.
Cleary reminded New Brunswickers of the importance of being vaccinated and of ensuring they are up-to-date with their immunization according to the New Brunswick Routine Immunization Schedule. “Immunization offers the best protection against the disease or another outbreak,” she said.
Those who have not been vaccinated during the last five years and are in close, regular contact with children younger than one are encouraged to contact their usual immunization provider and arrange for the vaccine to be administered.
Individuals who think they or their family members might have whooping cough are encouraged to contact their health-care provider. Those being treated for whooping cough are advised to avoid contact with those who may be at higher risk, particularly children younger than one and pregnant women in their third trimester, until they have taken an appropriate antibiotic for five days.