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Health Officials Report Whooping Cough Cases in City of Kawartha Lakes

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Health Officials Report Whooping Cough Cases in City of Kawartha Lakes

The Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) has confirmed cases of pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, in the City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario. On Tuesday, the health unit emphasized the importance of up-to-date immunizations for children and maintaining vaccination records with local health authorities.

Pertussis is a serious, highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the respiratory system and is particularly dangerous for children under one year of age and pregnant women. It spreads through droplets from the noses and mouths of those infected. Historically, pertussis was a leading cause of childhood mortality in the 20th century.

The health unit noted that pertussis often enters communities through travel to and from countries with lower vaccination rates and can spread among people who are unvaccinated, under-vaccinated, or whose vaccine effectiveness has waned over time.

Dr. Natalie Bocking, the health unit’s medical officer of health and CEO, stated, “Immunization remains the best defense against pertussis. It is crucial to be aware of the symptoms, seek medical care promptly if they appear, and ensure that antibiotics are administered if necessary. Keeping up with routine vaccinations and reporting them to your local health unit is essential for community health.”

Symptoms of pertussis may appear up to 20 days after infection, beginning with a severe runny nose and progressing to persistent and worsening coughing bouts. These coughing fits can be intense enough to cause vomiting or breathing difficulties and are often followed by a characteristic “whoop” sound before the next breath.

To support the community, the HKPR District Health Unit is offering immunization clinics for students and individuals without a healthcare provider. Appointments can be made by calling 1-866-888-4577, ext. 1507, or visiting the health unit’s Immunization Clinics webpage.

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