Pregnant women in Hall Beach, household members should get vaccinated: GN
Health officials hope to prevent more cases of whooping cough in Baffin
With more than 20 cases of whooping cough now being treated in Hall Beach, Nunavut health officials are asking pregnant women in the Baffin community and those who live with them to get vaccinated against the bacterial infection.
Nunavut’s first case of the viral infection this year showed up in Pond Inlet in May, and then spread to Iqaluit, where there are now 29 cases of whooping cough.
A first case was confirmed in Hall Beach, which has a population of roughly 900, in early July, while the health department said last week that number had risen to 22.
To prevent the infection from spreading to those who are most at risk — infants under the age of one — health officials have advised all pregnant women in their last trimester to be vaccinated, Nunavut’s health department said July 26.
The vaccine is passed through to the placenta and offers a newborn child at least partial immunity.
But now the department has asked that members of the same household also get vaccinated, to create herd immunity among family members.
Parents of children under the age of two and Nunavummiut planning to travel outside their community are also encouraged to make sure their vaccines are up to date, the GN said.
Nunavummiut should be on the lookout for symptoms of whooping cough: a cough that can be followed by a “whoop” or gasping sound, or vomiting and difficulty breathing after coughing.
You can listen to a sample of what whooping cough sounds like here.
To avoid the spread of the infection, health officials say Nunavummiut should wash their hands frequently; to cough into a sleeve or tissue and to avoid sharing food, drinks or utensils. Smokers should also avoid smoking indoors.
Vaccinations against whooping cough are available for children and adults by appointment at any health centre in Nunavut.