CALGARY- Alberta Health Services is dealing with another outbreak of whooping cough in southern Alberta.
“In the last couple months we’ve had 34 cases of confirmed whooping cough,” says Dr. Vivien Suttorp, AHS medical officer of health for the Alberta’s South Zone. “This includes Lethbridge, country of Lethbridge, all the way out to Medicine Hat.”
Because of the area’s low vaccination rate, Suttorp says outbreaks are usually seen every three to five years. In Calgary, there have been just two cases of whooping cough–also known as pertussis– since January. Still, health officials are urging everyone to ensure their vaccinations are up to date.
“The best thing to do is to make sure that you as parents and your children are immunized, because our infants, the ones that are under six months of age are the most vulnerable to pertussis,” explains Dr. Judy MacDonald, medical officer of health for AHS Calgary Zone.
Infants cannot receive the vaccine until they are two months old. Until then, they rely on those around them being protected. However, getting immunized during childhood doesn’t necessarily mean adults are still immune.
“Grandparents or anyone who is going to be in contact with young babies, if they’ve never had a pertussis [booster] vaccine, they should get it,” adds MacDonald.
Anyone wanting a booster can get the vaccine through AHS public health clinics.