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Pertussis Outbreak

Current Situation

A pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak has been declared in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services. At this time, the cases linked to this outbreak are located in the west part of the South Zone.

Although an outbreak has only been declared in this area of the South Zone at this time, additional pertussis cases, not linked to this outbreak, have been confirmed across Alberta.

Pertussis is a risk to health, but it can be prevented by immunization.

All Albertans are encouraged to ensure that they, and their families, are up-to-date on all immunizations.

Protect yourself & your family:

To reduce the risk to South Zone residents, and all Albertans, we need to ensure as many people as possible are up to date with their immunizations.

Please be sure that you and your children are up to date on all recommended immunizations, including those that protect against pertussis.

Find the routine childhood immunization schedule here, and see below for additional routine recommendations for adult protection from pertussis.

Routine Immunization Recommendations:

  • In Alberta, vaccine that protects against pertussis is offered to children, free of charge, through Alberta’s Routine Childhood Immunization schedule.
  • All adults 18 years of age and older are advised to receive one adult dose of pertussis-containing vaccine.
  • Pregnant women in the third trimester (26 weeks), who have not received an adult dose of pertussis containing vaccine, are always offered pertussis-containing vaccine in Alberta.
  • In specific ares of the province where risk of pertussis is increased, all pregnant women in third trimester will be offered pertussis-containing vaccine, regardless of whether they have received an adult dose already, or not.
  • Offering vaccine to women in the third trimester of pregnancy is an important step in protecting both the mother and their infant, as infants are the most vulnerable to developing severe complications from pertussis.

Current Pertussis Data

Confirmed Pertussis Cases in Alberta, by Zone; 2017 (Year-To-Date)**

Year of Diagnosis Zone
  South Calgary Central Edmonton North Total
  Count Count Count Count Count Count
2017 76* 18 83 28 14 219

* 59/76 cases were linked to the current outbreak
** Note: data in this chart will be updated Thursdays, starting June 15/17
(Source: CDOM as of 6/22/2107 8:30 AM)

Pertussis Quick Facts:

  • Pertussis (whooping cough) is a bacterial infection of the airways. It is easily spread (by sneezing or coughing) and by direct contact with someone who is infected.
  • The pertussis bacteria can live for two to five days on dry objects like clothes, glass or paper.
  • The infection can cause coughing so severe that children and adults can have difficulty breathing or eating, and the coughing can last for months.
  • Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, brain injury and even death. Children with serious complications may require long-term hospitalization, and babies are particularly vulnerable, including to death.
  • Those who are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated are at risk.
  • More Info:
    Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (MyHealth.Alberta.ca)
    Whooping Cough (Pertussis) (ImmunizeAlberta.ca)

What are the symptoms of pertussis?

Pertussis illness starts with a runny nose, sneezing, fever and mild cough.

Typically, over about 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.

Older children and adults may experience milder symptoms, such as a prolonged cough with or without fits or whooping sound; however, in anyone, the cough may last for two months or longer.

What should I do if I think I or a loved one has pertussis?

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.

Individuals with a confirmed case of pertussis should stay home from work, school or childcare until five days of antibiotics have been completed.

Page last updated June 23, 2017