17 confirmed cases of whooping cough, aka pertussis, have been reported by Alberta Health Services (AHS) south of Calgary.
The bacterial infection causes severe coughing that lasts for weeks and can impact all age groups. With lower immune systems, infants one year of age and younger are at greatest risk of serious complications, including pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage and even death.
12 of the 17 cases reported have been confirmed in the past week alone and are linked to one another.
Whooping cough can be spread by sharing water bottles, lipstick, lip balm or drinks. The best way to protect against and limit the spread of pertussis is through immunization.
Immunization is the best way to protect against Whooping Cough. https://t.co/6WL7NQPGb0
— AHS South Zone (@AHS_SouthZone) June 7, 2017
Common signs and symptoms
- Starts with a runny nose, sneezing, fever and mild cough.
- After a week, the cough will become more severe with repetitive coughing spells.
- In younger children, these coughing spells are usually followed by a “whooping” sound when inhaling.
- Vomiting following a coughing spell is also common.
AHS says people who suspect they, or a family member, may be sick with pertussis should stay at home and call a family physician or Health Link at 811 before seeking medical care.