Island Health warns parents to keep up on immunizations to prevent illnesses like whooping cough. (Pixabay)

Island Health warns parents to keep up on immunizations to prevent illnesses like whooping cough. (Pixabay)

Island Health confirms 5th case of whooping cough in south Island

Health authority urges vaccination

Island Health has confirmed a fifth case of whooping cough in the south Island.

The bacteria infection, also known as pertussis, starts with symptoms like a common cold but the cough grows in severity and can last for several months. The coughing, which happens more at night, may be so bad that it can lead to gagging or throwing up. Complications from the infection can include pneumonia, seizures, brain damage and death.

It is most dangerous for infants, with one in 170 dying from the disease.

RELATED: Whooping cough confirmed at Saanich high school

Those infected with pertussis are usually given antibiotics for 10 days and should stay away from children and pregnant women.

“We are encouraging everyone to be up-to-date on their vaccinations,” said Shannon Marshall, spokesperson for the health authority.

RELATED: Case of whooping cough confirmed in Duncan

The vaccine for pertussis is commonly administered with diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type b and polio as a combination shot – packaged in different combinations depending on age and immunization history.

The vaccine is part of the childhood vaccine schedule which is given at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 18 months old, and again at age 4 to 6 years. It is also given to teens at 14 to 16 years of age in British Columbia.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

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