According to Interior Health, the number of whooping cough cases across the province has increased from previous years. Since Jan. 1, there have been 58 confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, across Interior Health regions, with the majority of the cases reported in the Central Okanagan.
Lesley Coates, communications officer for Interior Health, said the organization is trying to be proactive about warning people in hopes that people will be more likely to immunize against the condition.
“We expect cases will go up if people don’t get vaccinated,” said Coates.
Since the start of 2015, there have been two cases of whooping cough in the East Kootenays, which is low compared to other regions. Yet Interior Health officials still want parents to be aware of symptoms, especially within children. Infants under the age of one are at the highest risk of increased complications from whooping cough and symptoms are similar to many cold and flu-like illnesses.
“Pertussis starts with similar symptoms to a common cold (runny nose, sore throat and mild fever) and then progresses to a cough. The cough can become severe, with or without a classic whooping sound and may be accompanied by gasping, gagging, shortness of breathing and vomiting. In serious cases it can lead to pneumonia, seizures, brain damage or even death,” said Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi in a press release for Interior Health.
Immunization information is available at all Interior Health offices. Adults can contact their local pharmacy for immunization options.