The Five Hills Health Region has declared an outbreak of whooping cough involving school-aged children.
The condition — also known as pertussis — is a highly contagious and potentially serious infection of the lungs and throat.
The health region said it starts with common cold symptoms — like sneezing, runny nose, and a mild fever — but also a cough that progressively worsens over a week or two. It also causes severe coughing spells that ends with a whooping sound before the next breath, a symptom commonly seen in young children.
Dr. Ashok Chhetri said the illness was affecting five people, but couldn’t say it was just children who were being affected. The first case occurred in mid-January.
He also added an outbreak was called because one person was believed to be responsible for transmitting the illness.
There hasn’t been a new case since Jan. 31 and the outbreak should be lifted next week.
“We are looking to declare the outbreak off if things remain stable like this,” Ashok said.
The health region has distributed letters to those who may have been in contact with the infected person. The region told anyone with symptoms to contact their family doctor. People were also asked to advise their doctor’s office of the situation before going to an appointment so they can be masked and moved to an exam room upon arrival.
Children under one, pregnant women in their third trimester and anyone unvaccinated or with a compromised immune system are most at risk of pertussis.
Pertussis vaccines are part of the routine child immunization program for children from two-months of age to eighth grade. Adults, including women after 26 weeks of pregnancy, can receive the TdaP vaccine.
The health region is asking people who have not been vaccinated to make arrangements with their public health office. Those who are unsure of their immunization status are also asked to contact their public health office.
Five Hills has health offices in Moose Jaw and the surrounding area.