Whooping cough cases are on the rise in the Stratford region.
Known as pertussis, Huron Perth Public Officials say there have been 21 confirmed cases in children in the area so far this year, compared to three cases in all of 2022.
“The illness can be serious for infants younger than 12 months of age who are not vaccinated, or who have not received all doses of the pertussis vaccine,” says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth. “Young children have the highest risk for severe complications, such as hospitalization and death, if they get sick.”
Pertussis symptoms usually develop within five to 10 days after exposure to someone who has it.
It spreads easily through respiratory droplets when someone who is sick coughs, sneezes, or talks, or through direct contact with objects used by that person.
HPPH officials say vaccination is the best way to prevent pertussis with vaccine given at 2, 4, 6, and 18 months of age, followed by booster doses at 4-6 and 14-16 years of age.
Delays in routine immunizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic may partly explain the increase in cases.
You can click here to learn more about getting your children vaccinated.