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HKPR warns of a rise in local Pertussis cases

DAN CEARNS The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) recently sent out a warning they’ve seen an increase in Pertussis cases in their jurisdiction.

Pertussis is also known as whooping cough, and the local health unit states it has been identified “within the school community.”

“Parents and caregivers should be vigilant, as it is possible children may have been exposed to this highly contagious bacterial respiratory infection,” an HKPR press release states. “Pertussis initially presents with symptoms similar to a common cold, such as a runny nose and mild fever. Within a few days, severe coughing begins, often accompanied by a distinctive “whoop” sound before the next breath. The coughing can be intense, sometimes leading to vomiting or difficulty breathing. These severe symptoms typically last for two to three weeks but can persist for up to one to two months.”

The health unit explains those at most risk of severe symptoms from Pertussis include Infants under the age of one and pregnant individuals in their third trimester.

Earlier this year, local medical officer of health Dr. Natalie Bocking spoke about Pertussis.

“This is also a vaccine preventable disease,” she said. “Pertussis is something that every four years or so we see an increase provincially. So, it’s a bit of a wave pattern. The Pertussis vaccine’s effectiveness decreases over time. So, teenagers are supposed to get a booster [shot] when they’re 16 or 17 to ensure they’re still immune.”

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