Whooping cough outbreak continues

Published on May 21, 2014

SUMMERSIDE – P.E.I.’s battle with the whooping cough is continuing.

The province’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, urged Islanders on Wednesday to ensure they are up-to-date on immunizations against whooping cough (pertussis).

“Prince Edward Island continues to experience an outbreak of whooping cough. It is important that anyone who is experiencing symptoms visit their healthcare provider,” said Morrison. “It is also extremely important that Islanders who are diagnosed stay home until they are well as it spreads easily from person to person through coughing, sneezing and close contact.”

There have been 24 cases of whooping cough since the outbreak was confirmed. Anyone, regardless of age, can contract whooping cough. It is of particular concern in newborns as they can become extremely ill and develop serious complications.

Although Prince Edward Island has not had an outbreak of pertussis in a number of years, there has been a recurrence of high rates of the illness in North America in recent years. Whooping cough is caused by bacteria that infect the lungs and airways.

Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, fever, and mild cough, which over a period of one to two weeks worsen to include serious coughing spells.

Often the cough ends with a whooping sound and can cause the person to vomit. Older children and adults can have a mild persistent cough without fits of coughing or a whooping sound.

For more information on whooping cough visit www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/dhw_fs_pertussi.pdf