Saskatoon

Health authority urges vaccinations after whooping cough hits Sask. town

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is warning parents in the Rosthern, Sask., area to vaccinate their children against whooping cough, or pertussis.

Half of new cases found in children under 5 years old

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is warning people around Rosthern to get their vaccinations. (Drew Nash/AP Photo)

The Saskatchewan Health Authority is warning parents to vaccinate their children against whooping cough, or pertussis.

Several cases of the disease were reported near the town of Rosthern, Sask. this week. Half of the cases were reported in children under the age of five years old. Rosthern is about 65 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon.

The majority of the sick people weren't immunized or were only partly immunized.

"This is a concern," Deputy Medical Health officer Dr. Simon Kapaj told CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning. "It is a focus of our organization to make sure that we improve the immunization coverage."

Whooping cough is especially dangerous to children. The lung infection can carry serious complications, including breathing problems, seizures and even death.

The health authority has set up special immunization clinics in the Rosthern area to stop the disease's spread.

"Some parents may be hesitant for getting the vaccine for their children, some parents may have been relocated and they don't know the immunization status of their children," said Kapaj.

The health authority said whooping cough generally travels in cycles of five to six years. There have been 25 cases of the disease confirmed in the Saskatoon area since October.

- with files from CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning

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