Whooping cough outbreak reported by Saskatoon Health Region
Region encouraging parents to vaccinate babies
The Saskatoon Health Region is asking parents to vaccinate their children against whooping cough.
The health region has reported 61 cases of the infection, also known as pertussis.
"Pertussis is a bacterial disease that can affect human beings and it causes cough like illnesses and can cause very severe pneumonia," said Dr. Johnmark Opondo, Saskatoon Health Region's Deputy Medical Health Officer. "Pertussis causes very severe illness in newborns and little infants, particularly less than six months of age."
Pertussis can lead to breathing difficulties, hospitalizations and sometimes death.
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The health region said whooping cough is highly contagious, and can spread quickly through classrooms and daycares.
They have seen the most cases in the Humboldt, Muenster, and St.Gregor areas but Opondo said pertussis has also been diagnosed in Osler, Rosthern, Duck Lake, Beardy's First Nation, Warman, and Saskatoon.
"We do have some communities who opt not to immunize their children. This is a growing concern for us," Opondo said. "We sort of have forgotten how serious this situation can be and why this is a serious childhood illness."
The health region is also recommending that pregnant women be vaccinated between the seventh and ninth month of pregnancy.
For more information, call the Saskatoon Health Region at 306-655-4612.