North

8 cases of whooping cough confirmed in N.W.T.'s Tlicho region

The N.W.T. Department of Health is issuing a public health advisory after 8 lab confirmed cases of whooping cough in the Tlicho region.

All confirmed cases have been 'isolated and treated,' says N.W.T. Health Department in a news release

A file photo of a child coughing. There are eight confirmed cases of whooping cough in the N.W.T.'s Tlicho region, according to a Friday news release from the Health Department. (Camelialy/Shutterstock)

There are eight confirmed cases of whooping cough in the N.W.T.'s Tlicho region, warns the Health Department in news release Friday.

Whooping cough — also called pertussis — is a contagious infection in the lungs caused by bacteria in the mouth, nose and throat, according to the public health advisory. It's most dangerous for infants and children under one year old, states the release.

The department says that as of Friday, the eight lab-confirmed cases are "being controlled," and there haven't been hospitalizations. It also says the cases are "localized," but did not list the affected community or communities.

"All confirmed cases have been isolated and treated," states the news release.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • a cough that lasts longer than a week
  • a cough followed by an unusual sound that sounds like "whoop"
  • trouble breathing
  • vomiting after coughing
  • coughing that is worse at night
  • a high fever (39 C and above) that lasts more than three days

Vaccine available 

Whooping cough is preventable with a vaccine, according to the department. Residents can get the free vaccine from their health care provider. 

The whooping cough vaccine is safe and effective, says the N.W.T. public health office.

Immunity may fade over time, however, which is why booster shots are offered every 10 years. Pregnant women should get an immunization between 27 and 28 weeks of pregnancy, regardless of when they last had a booster shot, says the advisory. 

The public helath office says people who suspect they have whooping cough should notify their health care provider and stay at home.

In 2015, there were 21 confirmed cases of whooping cough in N.W.T., in the Tlicho region, Hay River, Yellowknife and the Beaufort Delta. At the time, the office of the chief public health officer said the majority of these cases were linked to travel outside the N.W.T.