Jeannine Stefani

Jeannine Stefani

IH reports increase in whooping cough cases

“We are strongly advising all parents to ensure their children are immunized, so they are not at risk.” ~ Kamran Golmohammadi

A surge of whooping cough cases in the Kootenay Boundary has Interior Health (IH) reminding parents to keep their child’s immunizations up-to-date.

There’s been 14 confirmed diagnoses of the illness in the region, adding to 34 cases throughout IH facilities since January.

The disease is a highly contagious infection of the respiratory system that can result in prolonged, sometimes life-threatening, illness in infants and young children.

The first symptoms of whooping cough are similar to those of a common cold, and may include runny nose, sneezing, mild fever and a low-grade cough.

After one to two weeks, the dry, irritating cough evolves into severe coughing spells that can last for more than a minute.

The child can cough to the point of breathlessness, and inhalations of air post-cough can produce the tell-tale whooping sound.

Caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, whooping cough (also referred to as pertussis) is preventable by immunization that begins at two months of age. Intramuscular injections are repeated three more times until the child is 18 months, again at four to six years, then as a booster in Grade 9.

Those afflicted require treatment with the use of prescribed medication to lessen the infectious period from two to three weeks to as little as five days, says IH Medical Health Officer, Dr. Kamran Golmohammadi.

“I have to emphasize that this is a completely preventable infectious illness and it has serious implications, especially in small children and infants less than 12 months old,” he explained.

Complications can include pneumonia and in rare instances encephalitis, which is an inflammation of the brain that can be fatal in the very young.

“We are strongly advising all parents to ensure their children are immunized, so they are not at risk,” said Golmohammadi . “The pertussis vaccine is very safe and effective in preventing the spread of this disease.”

The vaccine, referred to as “DPT,” covers immunization against pertussis as well as diphtheria and tetanus.

Diagnosis is made by swabbing the throat or nose, and if the test comes back positive for the pertussis bacteria, treatment includes a full course of antibiotics.

Science has yet to prove why the endemic disease peaks across Canada often in the summer and every three to five years, says Dr. Golmohammadi.

“It is unclear why this cyclic pattern occurs,” he said. “People can assume different theories such as, for example, children are exposed to their cohorts who are immunized, during the school months. (In the summer) they may be exposed to a wider group of people in different age groups, which are less protected.”

Over time immunity wanes, so more interaction with the public might potentially introduce children to people who have the bacteria.

“The group we are most concerned with are children less than 12 months, especially those who have no immunity or incomplete immunity.”

To produce an outbreak, two factors are required.

First, a person must be infected with pertussis. Through droplet contact, such as sneezing or coughing, the disease, which only survives in the human respiratory system,  spreads to another person who is also not immunized or fully immune.

“We know to have in increase in the number of cases or actually have a new case, those two major components need to happen at the same time,” Golmohammadi explained.

Stopping the spread falls to the vaccinated community (also known as herd immunity) because when exposed to the infection, they will not become ill.

“So when you have a person with the infection, who is traveling or visiting from other countries, for example, high protection of immunity among community members (means) they will not become ill when they are exposed,” he added. “And they will not become a source of infection. So when that person leaves or gets well, the infection is not spread, and there won’t be more cases in the community.”

Parents are recommended to review their children’s immunization record and update vaccines before the new school year starts.

For more information, visit or contact Trail Public Health at 250.364.6219.

Just Posted

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

That night, a peace came over my heart that has remained from that day to this, 36 years later.

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters block Castlegar’s main street for 24 hours

Members of Extinction Rebellion stayed overnight in downtown Castlegar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read