Island’s top doc: prepare for whooping cough

While there are no confirmed cases of whooping cough locally,

While there are no confirmed cases of whooping cough locally, it’s not a bad idea to take precautions, said the medical health officer for the North Island.

“At this point in time we don’t have any identified cases,” said Dr. Paul Hasselback, who acknowledged a person infected with whooping cough was in the area.

“We did have someone visiting your area who, at the time they were visiting, did have pertussis,” he said.

The infected person was at a Naming and Coming of Age Feast at the Big House March 2, where a large number of people had gathered.

But as far as anyone can tell, the pertussis was not passed on, but the fact someone who had it was here is cause for concern.

“We’re very rigorous about trying to identify households where someone who was even exposed to pertussis might actually be going back to a household where there’s an infant under the age of one,” said Hasselback.

“Children under the age of one can have severe complications from developing the illness and our vaccination program starts at two months of age for that very reason.”

Pertussis is spread by people breathing in droplets that were coughed into the air by a sick person. And while there’s no outbreak of whooping cough on the island, it is in the province, said Hasselback.

“We have an outbreak of pertussis on the lower mainland in the Fraser Valley and people travel there and people from there travel to other parts of B.C.,” he said.

Because pertussis is in the province, the doctor said now is a good time to make sure every child is properly immunized and, if not, get it done.

“The best way of protecting against developing pertussis is to be up to date with immunization, particularly for children and infants.”

Hasselback said he believes there’s a good chance pertussis will make its way to Vancouver Island, and quite possibly onto the North Island.

“I think what happened in Port Hardy will happen against in that someone unknowingly, unwittingly and certainly not with any intent, just happens to be traveling to a large social gathering — and there’s lots of those about to happen with wedding season coming up and hockey and baseball tournaments — where there happens to be one person who’s sick. Well, I’ll be surprised to see pertussis not on the island.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Three active COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island

Since July 24, Central island has had five new cases, North one, South none

Alert Bay tested for COVID-19 antibodies, results prove efforts were effective

Just 3.7 per cent of people tested have the antibody

BC Parks acquires private land in Cape Scott Provincial Park

Land previously held by B.C. land and cattle mogul Rudy Nielsen

Family Literacy Society surveying essential skills among displaced workers

Survey results will help get training opportunities to fufill real needs on the north Island

A thousand items donated to the Port Hardy RCMP’s summer toy drive

‘Building strong relationships with the people of our communities is fundamental to our success here’

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Canucks ride momentum into NHL playoff series against defending Stanley Cup champs

PREVIEW: Vancouver opens against St. Louis on Wednesday

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

One dead as fish boat sinks off southern Vancouver Island

Shawnigan Lake-registered Arctic Fox II went down off Cape Flattery, west of Victoria

Landlord takes front door, windows after single B.C. mom late with rent

Maple Ridge mom gets help from community generosity and government

42 more people test positive for COVID-19 in B.C.

The province has recorded no new deaths in recent days

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Lawsuit launched after Florida child handcuffed, booked and briefly jailed

Suit alleges “deliberate indifference” to what should have been handled as a behavioural issue

Most Read