Alberta Health Services has declared a whooping cough outbreak in northern Alberta.
So far this year, 182 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, have been confirmed in the region, which includes Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie. That number makes up about half of the total diagnosed cases in the province.
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection that causes severe coughing fits, and can lead to pneumonia, convulsions and other serious medical issues. According to AHS, infants under six months old are at the greatest risk for severe complications.
Alberta children are typically given a pertussis immunization shot as part of the province's immunization program, with doses administered at ages two months, four months, six months and 18 months, then again annually at ages four to six years old, and once again in Grade 9.
AHS is recommending anyone living in the area who has not been immunized, or whose shots are not up-to-date, go into a public or community health clinic for a single dose immunization.
In particular, AHS says young children and those who come into close contact with infants, as well as health care workers and women who are at least 26 weeks pregnant, should ensure they are immunized.
Article on CBC News - Edmonton
(Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press)