Health officials say there is a whooping cough outbreak in metro Vancouver with 38 cases being reported from January.
Free vaccines are being offered to pregnant women, their partners and for anyone with children under 18 months. The free vaccine is available through family doctors, public health clinics and some pharmacies. Details are available by calling HealthLink BC at 8-1-1.
The vaccine is normally given to children in B.C. at ages 2, 4, 6 and 18 months, at the beginning of kindergarten and in grade 9. However, it is recommended for anyone in the target group who has not had a vaccination containing pertussis in the past 5-years.
Chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. Patricia Daly said, "Since the outbreak in the Fraser Valley began in December, we've been closely monitoring the incidence of whooping cough in our region. Because the number of cases has risen over the last week in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, we are stepping up measures to protect residents."
Whooping cough or pertussis causes coughing fits and can turn into a severe illness that can last months, and can even be fatal in young infants. It spreads easily through air when infected people cough, sneeze or laugh.