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Jan 07 2012

Whooping cough outbreak in Hope, BC

Twenty new cases of pertussis have been reported in the Hope area since August. While previous outbreaks have been due to children going unvaccinated, in this case, it seems the outbreak is resultant of people not getting their boosters.

The health authority is asking healthcare professionals and members of the public in the Hope area to be alert for the signs and symptoms of Pertussis, or whooping cough.

“It has been many years since British Columbia has had an outbreak of Pertussis so there is very little natural immunity,” said Dr. Paul Van Buynder, the Fraser Health Authority’s chief medical health officer, in the statement.

Buynder is advising residents to ensure all the vaccines of all family members are up to date.

“The best protection against Pertussis is to get vaccinated. Pertussis in very young children can lead to hospitalization and even death,” he said.

“The vaccine that most people get when they are infants only offers protection for four to 10 years, so there are many people without adequate coverage.”

My own pertussis vaccination status is well out of date. I need to remedy that.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    What a dreadful disease to get indeed. I had dreaded misfortune of contacting pertussis as a child many decades ago. I found out about it only a decade ago from hospital documentation. I was so devastated to hear that I was on the dying list in a special hospital that catered for the disease. I still get flashback memories of looking up at huge blackened windows from a cot-bed and of being utterly frightened. I think I may have been old at 5 years old to have been afflicted with the disease. When children afterwards in my institution at Goldenbridge were vaccinated, I was exempt from receiving pertussis vaccination. I must have inbuilt immunity from same? Would anybody be able to tell me if the latter is the case?

  2. 2
    lordshipmayhem

    According to this website.

    infection-acquired immunity against pertussis disease wanes after 4-20 years

    so if you are more than 25 years old (20 years + 5 years old at time of infection) and haven’t gotten a booster in the last 10 years, you should get one.

    As should I.

  3. 3
    Dianne

    There’s a pertussis outbreak in NYC as well right now. Mostly in unvaccinated or inadequately vaccinated people, mostly children. It’s ugly.

  4. 4
    julian

    My own pertussis vaccination status is well out of date. I need to remedy that.

    One good thing about the U.S. military. We have a nearly 100% vaccination rate and our families get ready access too. Shame we aren’t willing to extend the same kindness to the rest of the nation or the same emphasis on staying up to date with our shots.

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    20 years after having it?
    Put it on my list, I hope they do give it to adults here.

  6. 6
    ohioobserver

    What happened to vaccination being required to enroll in a school? Religious exmption? I call bullshit on that. IMHO, it ought to be a crime to refuse to vaccinate your kids against these easily preventable diseases: one unvaccinated kid is an incubator that can make many more people dangerously sick. Asocial, selfish, dangerous.

  7. 7
    Trebuchet

    I guess I need to talk to my doctor. At last year’s annual physical he said “Looks like you’re due for a tetanus shot” and gave me one. Now I’m wondering if it was just tetanus, or actually DPT, Diptheria, Pertussis, and Tetanus. I’d hope the latter but don’t actually know. Isn’t DPT what’s usually given, or is that just for the kids? I’m in my 60′s.

  8. 8
    tielserrath

    Often it’s ADT – activated diphtheria/tetanus – that’s given.

    We’ve had a big outbreak in NW Tasmania over Christmas, brought in by unvaccinated schoolchildren. Seems to be waning at last, and lots of adults getting vaccinated. I’m recommending vaccination to all grandparents, and ideally everyone over 50 as a minimum.

    I had whooping cough at 11 (despite vaccination – vaccine only around 60% effective), and had a booster a couple of years back. So far I’ve been exposed a number of times, and not caught it, so I’m hopeful it worked…

  9. 9
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    @2 lordshipmayhem.

    Thanks for very informative link pertaining to booster vaccination.

    Alas, I jumped too quickly to comment upon seeing ‘Pertussis’ heading, without first bothering to read full content of post and thereby learn from same that people of all ages can get pertussis, as opposed to just very small infants and toddlers. Yeah, and even some who’ve already been vaccinated, as tielserrath @8 says “I had whooping cough at 11 (despite vaccination”.

    “I’m recommending vaccination to all grandparents, and ideally everyone over 50 as a minimum.”

    Am listening intently to your words and all the rest of advise here. Thanking you.

  10. 10
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    I think pertussis is actually more prevalent than reported. Apparently, it has to be tested for within the first week or two to get a positive diagnosis, but before most people realize that it is no ordinary cough, the prime time for testing has passed.
    I am 99% sure that my teenage son and I had pertussis 2 years ago. He caught it from a friend at school…and probably there were other kids. I never have coughs, but this started with a “regular cold” which progressed to a spasmodic cough, on to coughing fits violent enough to bring on vomiting – but no symptoms at all for long stretches (sometimes up to an hour) in between. Classic pertussis, I now understand. A nuisance to a teenager or an adult, but dangerous for a baby or small child. You literally cannot catch your breath. Thankfully, we never go to malls, etc or mix with young children with a cold or other illness, so hopefully did not unwittingly pass it on. I only realized that it was possible for immunized teens and adults to have pertussis after we had the infections. The new tetanus booster can be had with pertussis included. I think it is called TDaP. However, if you’ve had a straight tetanus booster recently, I believe you cannot have this booster for a few years. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor. Thanks for bringing this up, Jason.

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