Whooping cough outbreak staying in Fraser area

Kamloops Daily News
February 13, 2012 01:00 AM

The whooping cough outbreak that's affected at least 100 people in the Fraser Valley hasn't come this far into the Interior yet.

Dr. Sue Pollock, Interior Health medical health officer, said Monday the outbreak seems to be localized to the Fraser Health Authority's turf.

That's not to say that IHA is immune from the disease, but there are usually just a few sporadic cases throughout the year.

"We aren't seeing any related to the Fraser Valley," she said.

"There are contributors to an outbreak like this. We would consider immunization as a factor. And also waning immunity in adults."

Whooping cough, or pertussis, is given to children in vaccinations starting at infancy and up to Grade 9.

Pollock said adult immunity can weaken with time, and those who have concerns could look at getting a booster.

While whooping cough is annoying to adults who get it, it is a bigger worry to children. It can cause complications including pneumonia and in rare cases with infants, can lead to seizures, brain damage or death.

"So it's really important for kids to get their immunizations," she said.

There is a herd immunity, whereby if enough people get vaccinated, no one gets sick. However, there are parents who choose not to get their children immunized often for religious reasons or out of fear of after-effects like autism, which has been disproven.

"If parents have concerns, they can certainly speak to local public health," Pollock said.

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