IH says there's an outbreak of whooping cough in Nelson area
Interior Health is reporting that there’s an outbreak of whooping cough in Nelson, with approximately 40 people diagnosed in the past four months.
Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a bacterial lung infection that poses a serious risk to babies.
Adults can show much milder symptoms, which can help the spread.
IH medical health officer Dr. Rob Parker said whooping cough is preventable, providing the public have their children vaccinated.
However, in Nelson more than a third of the parents refused immunization.
“It’s been the lowest [rate] in IH and probably the lowest in the province,” he told CBC News.
Dr. Parker said younger children are most likely to get the disease.
He also said the pattern of outbreaks is cyclical, and far too common in Nelson and the West Kootenay.
“It’s a cycle. It’s a type of germ, bacteria, that’s always in people’s noses. So, if you’ve got vaccine-induced immunity and you keep the vaccine rates up amongst most kids, then you can generally avoid any sort of community outbreak.”
Dr. Parker said in the interview that Nelson is lucky not to have seen a death from whooping cough this year.