ALMAGUIN – Incidents of reported whooping cough are on the rise across the county and this district is no exception.
According to Louise Anello, Manager of the Communicable Disease Control Program at the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, to date it has almost reached its last peak in cases.
“Pertussis (whooping cough) tends to be cyclical in nature with increased disease activity approximately every four to six years. It has been five years since Ontario’s last peak,” stated Anello in an email to the Almaguin News.
The last peak in the Health Unit’s area was in 2004, when eight cases were reported.
“The range of cases between 2005 and 2011 was from was from zero to four cases per year,” she said. “This year to date, there are seven cases which have occurred in various communities throughout our district.”
According to literature provided by the Health Unit, whooping cough is a respiratory infection caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria and has symptoms similar to a common cold for the first two weeks with runny noses, red watery eyes, mild fevers and coughs. As it worsens, the patient may suffer severe coughing spells with a ‘whooping’ sound at the end. Difficulty breathing, coughing and coughing episodes often end in vomiting or loss of breath. Older childen and adults may have the prolonged cough but not the ‘whoop.’ It can be fatal.
Symptoms may appear seven to 10 days after exposure to an infected person, but can be delayed for up to 21 days. It is most contagious during the first two weeks of infection. It is no longer contagious after five days of antibiotic treatment, or after three weeks if no antibiotics are prescribed.
Whooping cough is spread though respiratory secretions of an infected person through sharing utensils, kissing, coughing or sneezing. Adults who are not immunized or not completely immunized are often the source of infection in infants.