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Health Unit Warns Of Rising Cases Of Pertussis In Windsor-Essex County

Tuesday March 21st, 2023, 11:10am

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The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit is warning of a recent dramatic rise of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) cases in the Region.

Since November 1st, 2022, they say they have received reports of 18 cases of pertussis in our area. Cases have predominately been clustered in the Leamington and Kingsville communities and exclusively in children who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.

Pertussis, commonly known as whooping cough, is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is highly contagious and is spread through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Symptoms of pertussis start with a runny nose or nasal congestion, sneezing, mild cough, and mild fever.

“Some people develop a severe cough that has the characteristic high-pitched whoop. The cough can be so severe as to result in vomiting,” said Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, acting Medical Officer of Health. Untreated pertussis in infants, young children, and the elderly can lead to complications such as pneumonia, dehydration, brain damage, hospitalization, and death.

The WECHU advises parents and guardians to be alert to symptoms of the illness, which is particularly dangerous in children under the age of one. As a result of the recent increase in cases, the WECHU recommends that healthcare providers consider whooping cough as a possible cause when evaluating patients with respiratory symptoms. Whooping cough can be treated with antibiotics.

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