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Pertussis (Whooping cough)

The Porcupine Health Unit has seen a rise in the number of confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in our region. Adults are often the source of infection for infants. We are advising all adults to ensure they are up-to-date with their pertussis immunization to avoid transmitting the disease to young children.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis is a respiratory illness that is very contagious and is spread from person-to-person through coughing and sneezing.

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

In most cases, the disease usually begins with cold-like symptoms, such as runny nose or congestion, sneezing, fever, and a mild cough. After one to two weeks the disease progresses to severe coughing spells with loud "whooping" sounds.

How can I protect myself and my family?

Pertussis can infect individuals of all ages. However, among babies, it can lead to pneumonia, seizures, inflammation of the brain and permanent brain damage.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to get immunized. If you are unsure of your own or your child's immunization history, call your health care provider for this information.

What do I do if I think my child or I have pertussis?

Stay home if you are sick and keep your child home from school or daycare if they are sick. Seek medical attention but call ahead to your health care provider's office or the emergency department to ensure they have proper precautions in place to protect others.