February 6, 2020
LETHBRIDGE – An outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) which was declared on Oct. 15, 2019 in the South Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS) is over.
During this outbreak, there were 34 confirmed cases and two probable cases of pertussis, with no hospitalizations or deaths. Of these 36 confirmed and probable cases, 16 were unimmunized, nine were partially immunized and 11 were considered to be up-to-date for pertussis-containing vaccine. The cases were located in Raymond, Lethbridge, Purple Springs, Picture Butte, Nobleford, Bow Island, Taber and Diamond City.
There were 63 confirmed cases of pertussis in South Zone during 2019 and 45 confirmed cases in 2018.
Pertussis – a bacterial infection that causes severe coughing that may last for weeks – can impact all age groups; however, infants one year of age and younger are at greatest risk of serious complications, including pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage and even death.
Immunization is the best and most effective method to protect against and limit the spread of pertussis. All South Zone residents are encouraged to keep up-to-date with their immunizations and to do the same for children and families. Anyone uncertain of their immunization history, or their child’s, can contact Health Link at 811 at any time of day, or their local community health centre or public health office during work hours to discuss, review and/or to book an appointment to complete any required immunizations.
In Alberta, vaccine that protects against pertussis is offered to children, free of charge, through Alberta’s Routine Childhood Immunization schedule. Pregnant women in the third trimester (26 weeks) are also offered pertussis-containing vaccine. All adults 18 years of age and older are advised to receive one adult dose of pertussis-containing vaccine.
Additional information about pertussis and the importance of immunization is available online at http://immunizealberta.ca/i-need-know-more/diseases-covered/pertussis-whooping-cough.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.
For media inquiries, contact:
AHS Communications, South Zone