Whooping cough (pertussis) reported in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, Ontario - Public urged to make sure immunizations are up-to-date

FERGUS, Ontario April 12, 2012 - Health & Safety Watch - According to media reports, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is investigating two diagnosed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in Guelph and continuing an investigation of an outbreak of the disease in North Wellington. While whooping cough is a contagious disease it is vaccine-preventable and part of Ontario's publicly funded immunization program.

"Immunization is your best protection against diseases such as pertussis, mumps, and measles because it boosts your body's own defence system. Since routine immunizations were introduced many of these diseases have almost disappeared - but not completely. These diseases do come back," explains Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Nicola Mercer. "Infants under one year of age and pregnant women in their third trimester are most vulnerable to the effects of pertussis. I urge everyone to review their immunizations and keep them up-to-date."

Whooping cough is a disease of the lining of the respiratory tract that is caused by the Bordetella Pertussis bacterium. It begins with cold-like symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough and worsens over a period of several weeks to include serious coughing spells that often end with a "whoop." Whooping cough is easily transmitted from person to person, mainly through droplets from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person.