Current Situation: South Zone, Outbreak
Last updated April 28, 2023
Alberta Health Services (AHS) has declared an outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in the AHS South Zone, including the communities of Lethbridge, Coaldale, Taber, Vauxhall, Grassy Lake, Bow Island, County of Forty Mile, Seven Persons and Fort Macleod. Read the Public Service Announcement.
Residents are encouraged to ensure that they, and their children, are up-to-date on immunizations. Visit immunizealberta.ca
Pregnant women will continue to be offered the pertussis vaccine in their third trimester of every pregnancy, to protect vulnerable newborns. All Albertans can prevent illness and the spread of disease by following the recommended immunization schedule.
Protect yourself & your family: All Albertans
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.
Ways to limit the spread include staying home when sick, covering your mouth when you cough and early assessment and treatment by a physician.
Find the routine childhood and adult immunization schedule here.
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 incubation period for pertussis can last up to 21 days with a 21-day infectious period if not treated.
- The infection can cause coughing so severe that children and adults can have difficulty breathing or eating, and the coughing can last for months. Very young babies may not cough but the infection can cause them to stop breathing.
- Pertussis can lead to pneumonia, and in rare cases, seizures, brain injury and death. Babies have the highest risk of severe disease.
- In Canada, 1 to 4 deaths are related to pertussis each year. These deaths are most often in babies who are too young to be immunized or children who are not fully immunized.
- More Info:
Routine Immunization Recommendations:
- In Alberta, vaccine that protects against pertussis is offered free of charge to all Albertans according to the AH Immunization schedule.
- All adults are recommended to get a booster dose of diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (dTap) vaccine every 10 years.
- Pregnant women are strongly recommended to get a dose of pertussis containing vaccine (dTap) every time they are pregnant, even if it has been less than 10 years since their last dose. In Alberta, it is usually given between 27 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. If you are outside of this time frame talk to your healthcare provider about when you should get this vaccine.
- Offering vaccine to women every time they are pregnant is an important step in protecting both the mother and their baby, as babies have the highest risk of developing severe complications from pertussis.
- Learn more about dTap immunization in pregnancy.