Media Release re: Whooping Cough Alert

Last Updated: December 13, 2017

Media Release - For Immediate Release

Spread Cheer Not Whooping Cough this Holiday Season

St. Thomas, Ontario, December 13, 2017

Whooping cough infection is still spreading in our community.  As of December 8, 2017, there have been 74 cases reported to Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. The majority of cases (83%) were under the age of 16 years. Most have been elementary and high school students and live in areas throughout Elgin County, with more than 10 schools having at least one case.  Cases have also spent time in other community settings such as sports facilities and churches.

Whooping cough is an infection that causes coughing fits or spells that may end with vomiting or gasping for air.  The germs spread easily from person to person.  Babies under the age of one are at the most risk for severe infection.  Unfortunately, many babies catch this infection from a loved one.

During the holidays, we enjoy spending time with family and friends.  While we spend close time together with loved ones, we may share our germs and spread unwanted infections like whooping cough.  Elgin St. Thomas Public Health would like to remind you of a few simple steps to keep you and your loved ones healthy and happy during the holiday season: 

  • Make sure you’re up-to-date with your shots (vaccines).  The whooping cough vaccine offers good levels of protection, especially within the first two years.  The level of protection falls over time.  If you are not sure if you are up-to-date with your shots, talk to your doctor or call Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at 519-631-9900. The more people in a family who are vaccinated against whooping cough, the better the protection will be for everyone, and especially for babies under age one year.
  • If you need the whooping cough shot, you can get it at your doctor’s office or at Elgin St. Thomas Public Health free of charge. To book an appointment at the health unit, please visit www.elginhealth.on.ca/booking or call 519-631-9900 ext.1350.
  • Do not visit people who are sick with pertussis or any other respiratory illness unless you have to help them. The holidays are a bad time to be sick.
  • Clean your hands often.
  • Do not share drinks and utensils with others.

If you or someone you love has symptoms of whooping cough, such as cough that lasts more than two weeks, or a cough that ends in vomiting or a whooping sound:

  • Speak to your doctor as soon as possible.  Medicine (antibiotics) may be needed to treat the infection and is best when taken early on in the infection.
  • If your doctor tells you that you or your loved one has whooping cough, stay home and away from others until the medicine is done or for three weeks from the day the cough started.

To find out more about whooping cough, please contact your doctor or Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at 519-631-9900, Ext. 1232.

Media Inquiries: 

Contact Dr. Joyce Lock, Medical Officer of Health

jlock@elginhealth.on.ca

519-631-9900, Ext.1203