Whooping cough outbreak on N.B.'s Acadian Penninsula

In the past two weeks, 11 cases of whooping cough have been recorded in northeast New Brunswick. (funnyangel/Shutterstock - image credit)
In the past two weeks, 11 cases of whooping cough have been recorded in northeast New Brunswick. (funnyangel/Shutterstock - image credit)

New Brunswick Public Health is warning of a whooping cough outbreak on the Acadian Peninsula, where 11 cases have been recorded in the past two weeks

"We are declaring this outbreak due to a higher number of cases of whooping cough than usual in multiple settings," Dr. Rita Gad, medical officer of health for the north region, said in a news release from the province.

Two cases of whooping cough were reported earlier this year in the Edmundston area. In all of New Brunswick last year, five cases were recorded.

"Public Health is monitoring the situation closely and working with health-care professionals, community partners and the public to decrease the risk," Gad said in the release.

Public Health says the disease is easily transmitted, mainly from infected droplets from the nose, mouth or throat.

It begins with cold-like symptoms, including sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough. Over several weeks, it worsens to serious coughing spells that end with a "whoop," a high-pitched wheezing sound.

"Whooping cough is a highly contagious vaccine-preventable disease that can occur at any age," Gad said.

She added it is especially dangerous to babies and young children who have not yet been vaccinated.

Primary-care providers, such as doctors, nurse practitioners and public health officers can provide the vaccine.

People with symptoms of whooping cough should stay home and contact their health provider, call 811 or use eVisitNB, the online health-care service.

The cough is diagnosed through lab tests and is treated with an antibiotic, reducing the spread and seriousness of the infection if caught early.

Expectant parents and those in contact with children should make sure they are up to date on the vaccine, the release said.

An online fact sheet from the province provides more information on the disease.