IH warns of whooping cough ‘surge’ in West Kootenay

'Herd immunity' weakened by West Kootenay's low immunization rates, IH said.

Interior Health (IH) issued an Aug. 21 media release warning of a whooping cough surge in the West Kootenay and other areas of B.C. The health authority also warned of an increase in measles infections in B.C.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, can have serious consequences for children, especially infants and newborns.

IH said the West Kootenay and the Fraser Valley have some of the lowest childhood immunization rates in B.C. IH is concerned about immunization rates falling below key thresholds; when they do, infectious diseases can be transmitted through populations more easily, leading to more infections.

IH encourages parents to get on top of their children’s immunization program.

For more, here’s the Aug. 21 IH media release in their own words:

New whooping cough and measles cases concern Medical Health Officer

A recent increase in whooping cough and measles in our province has a regional Medical Health Officer concerned, and he is reminding parents to make sure their children are immunized so they are not at risk.

“The West Kootenays have had a surge of whooping cough cases in children over the last few weeks, following a large whooping cough outbreak there in 2010,” said Dr. Rob Parker, Medical Health Officer. “We have also seen measles activity this summer in the Lower Mainland, including the worrisome exposure of newborns in a hospital maternity ward in the Fraser Valley. The West Kootenays and the Fraser Valley have some of the lowest childhood immunization rates in the province.”

Both measles and whooping cough can spread quickly and easily among those who aren’t vaccinated. These infections can cause serious consequences for any child, but newborns and infants are at greatest risk. The best way to protect newborns and infants is through high vaccination rates – also known as herd immunity.

When a large percentage of a population is vaccinated, a disease can’t take hold,” said Dr. Parker. “When childhood immunization rates fall below 90 per cent we start losing the protection offered by herd immunity and this puts unimmunized children and newborns at increased risk. So, it is no surprise that we see recurrent outbreaks of communicable diseases in communities with the lowest immunization rates.”

Dr. Parker recommends that parents review all their children’s immunization records to make sure they are up to date with their shots before the new school year starts. You can find out what vaccine your child needs on ImmunizeBC at http://immunizebc.ca/vaccine-schedules.

“All parents want to do what is best to protect their families, so it is important for them to know that vaccines are safe and that the main side effects such as a sore arm or mild fever are minor and temporary,” adds Dr. Parker. “It does take a village to raise and protect all children. Each parent immunizing their child protects not only them but their friends and neighbours children.”

B.C., has a comprehensive publicly funded immunization program for children and adults that protects against 16 illnesses. Vaccines can be obtained for free from your local public health centre. Several community pharmacies also offer vaccines for children ages five and older.

To learn more about immunizations, visit Immunize BC at http://immunizebc.ca/.

 

Just Posted

Family Day move a welcome change: poll

Okanagan readers voted that the new date for Family Day in B.C. is a positive change

Grizzlies win against North Okanagan Knights

Three more games until the playoffs

Every life matters: the world needs more compassion and empathy

Revelstoke local says education and technology is great but we can’t lose what it means to be human

Fundraiser started for mother who had stroke while visiting Central Okanagan family

Tina Parry was visiting her daughter Rita Bruce Nanakeain and grandsons when she had a stroke

Revelstoke’s draft budget would mean a 4.9 per cent property tax increase

Revelstoke city council will present their draft budget for public feedback in… Continue reading

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Okanagan College professor awarded for promoting financial literacy

Leigh Sindlinger received a Distinguished Service Award for inspiring financial literacy in youth

Poll: What do you think of Family Day weekend’s move?

Until this year, Family Day has fallen on the second Monday in February

Sicamous farmer’s A2 milk could help those with trouble digesting dairy

The milk which contains no A1 beta-casein, a cause of digestive problems for some, hits stores soon

B.C. athlete takes home gold in freestyle aerials at Canada Games

Brayden Kuroda won the event with a combined score of 121.65.

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

New round of consultations with Indigenous communities is coming

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Most Read