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Pertussis outbreak: Pregnant women asked to get vaccinated

Health authorities in the NWT are advising women who are 26 weeks pregnant or more to get vaccinated for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, regardless of their immunization status.

This warning comes on the heels of a pertussis outbreak in the territory.

Officials say the number of whooping cough cases rose in 2015 compared to previous years and that the majority of them were linked to travel outside the territory.

Read: Case Of Whooping Cough In Yellowknife Prompts Vaccination Warning

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Pertussis is a bacterial infection that is most commonly transmitted through coughing or sneezing. If contracted, it can result in serious health complications for babies and anyone with weakened immune systems.

For that reason, pregnant women are advised to get vaccinated for the duration of the current outbreak.

According to the territory’s chief public health officer, an outbreak was declared in the Yellowknife area last November and reinstated in January for all of the Northwest Territories.

While there’s only been one confirmed case in 2016, a total of 21 were documented in the NWT last year.

Residents are encouraged to keep up with their immunization records, and to get in touch with a public health unit if they aren’t familiar with their schedule.

More Information: Public Health Agency of Canada

Confirmed cases of pertussis are treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, officials say the bacterial infection can result in serious illness or death.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Persistent cough
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