hi-bc-120223-whooping-cough

Whooping cough is easily transmitted from person to person, mainly through droplets from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person. (CBC)

P.E.I. health officials say there is an outbreak of whooping cough in the province.

Dr. Heather Morrison, P.E.I.’s chief public health officer, said there are currently six confirmed cases of whooping cough and some potential cases still being confirmed.

Dr.Lamont Sweet, deputy chief public health officer, said those cases were diagnosed between Dec. 13 and Feb. 6.

“The age range is between seven weeks to 20 years of age. The majority are under six years of age. Two were hospitalized, one is still in the hospital. No deaths,” he said.

Morrison said P.E.I. hasn't had outbreak in a number of years, but there has been a recurrence of the illness in North America.

Whooping cough or pertussis, is a disease of the lining of the respiratory tract caused by the Bordetella Pertussis bacterium.

Symptoms usually start five to 21 days after someone has been exposed and can include cold-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and a mild cough that worsens with coughing spells that often end with a "whoop" sound.

Whooping cough is easily transmitted from person to person, mainly through droplets from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person.

It can affect any age, but is most dangerous in babies and pregnant women in their third trimester.

Basic hygiene measures, such as regular hand-washing, disposing of tissues properly and containing coughs and sneezes help control the spread of whooping cough.

Infants on Prince Edward Island are routinely immunized against whooping cough at two, four, and six months and at 18 months.

Booster doses are also offered at four years of age and in Grade 9.

In addition, P.E.I. offers a free booster dose to parents of newborns and any close contacts whose immunization is not current.

Health officials say a booster dose of the immunization in adulthood is also recommended for everyone.