Adults should get pertussis vaccine: health officials
Whooping cough numbers are on the decline but reported cases continue
With an average of 151 whooping cough cases reported monthly this year in New Brunswick, health officials are recommending that adults in regular contact with children be vaccinated against the bacterial infection called pertussis.
According to the latest provincial health report, whooping cough cases this month in New Brunswick have declined since June, but there are still many cases being reported.
As of July 24, there have been 123 reported whooping cough cases reported for the month, much fewer than the 248 cases reported in June when the number of infections seemed to peak.
Though the number of cases fell this month, the 1,057 pertussis cases reported this year continues to climb well past the 15 cases reported for all of 2011.
The outbreak began in May, primarily in the Moncton and Saint John areas.
At one point, it crossed the border, and cases were reported in Nova Scotia's Cumberland County. To date, there have not been any cases reported on neighbouring P.E.I.
Dr. Cristin Muecke, the medical officer of New Brunswick Health Region 3, said officials were expecting the pertussis outbreak as early as 2010 and have been prepared.
"We started instituting what we call a 'cocooning strategy' in 2011, and what we were doing was really focusing on new parents and getting new moms and their spouses — and any close adult caregivers vaccinated — so they could protect their baby," Muecke said.
She says the campaign against whooping cough has now been stepped up and all adults who have regular contact with young children or babies should get vaccinated.
Muecke says pertussis does not always have the characteristic whooping-sounding cough and anyone having shortness of breath, or a persistent cough should see their doctor.