Interior Health is encouraging all residents around Grand Forks to ensure their immunizations are up to date after a whooping cough cluster was identified in the community.
In a media release sent on Monday, the health agency stated that several cases of pertussis (commonly known as whooping cough) have been identified in the area.
Interior Health (IH) describes pertussis as a contagious bacterial lung and throat disease that is easily spread through coughing or sneezing by an infected person.
The infection can spread to others during the early stages when symptoms are not severe, and if left untreated, can spread up to three weeks after the cough starts.
The infection starts like a common cold, with a low-grade fever and a mild cough. Severe coughing spells that often end with a whoop can develop in one to two weeks.
Pregnant women in their third trimester and infants under one year of age are at the greatest risk. Pertussis is especially serious for infants and may lead to hospitalization and even death.
Individuals or parents of children experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.
The health authority has an immunization program in place in Grand Forks and other communities to protect children and prevent additional cases.
Families of children in the region who aren’t up to date with their pertussis vaccines should expect to receive a letter with pertussis and vaccine booking information. Families who do not receive a letter but believe their children are not current with their vaccines should still book an appointment.
Immunizations are available for free at local Public Health Clinics, where Public Health Nurses are also available to answer questions.
Grand Forks immunizations are available at the Boundary Community Health Centre.
Immunizations are free at local Public Health Clinics, where public health nurses are also available to answer questions