Whooping cough outbreak declared over in Nunavut community

Territorial government says there are no longer any active cases of pertussis in Sanikiluaq

Here’s a close-up look at the bacterium Bordetella pertussis, which causes whooping cough. An outbreak in Sanikiluaq declared last June is now over, says the Government of Nunavut. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavut health officials say a whooping cough outbreak in Sanikiluaq is over.

The Government of Nunavut had announced the first confirmed case of whooping cough in the Hudson Bay community on May 28. The GN then declared it an outbreak in early June when the community had seen five cases, opting to close daycares and certain services in the community of 900.

There are no longer any cases in Sanikiluaq, the GN said in a Sept. 1 news release.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a disease of the throat and lungs that is spread easily from one person to another. The most severe cases are in children under the age of one.

Symptoms of pertussis include the following:

  • a cough that lasts longer than a week
  • a cough followed by an unusual sound that sounds like “whoop”
  • trouble breathing
  • vomiting after coughing
  • coughing that is worse at night
  • a high fever (39°C and above) that lasts more than three days

Nunavut has been hit by several outbreaks of whooping cough in recent years, with the most recent big outbreak taking place in 2017.

Every year in Canada there are one to three deaths due to whooping cough, mostly in babies under the age of three months who have not been immunized, according to Health Canada.

Vaccinations and antibiotics can work to prevent the spread of the whooping cough infection. To prevent the spread, the GN also recommends frequent hand washing, coughing into your sleeve or a tissue, and not sharing food or drinks.

You can learn more about whooping cough by reading the pertussis fact sheet available on the Department of Health’s website.

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(1) Comment:

  1. Posted by Not right on

    So when can people travel back to the isolated town? It’s been too long that they’re stuck to the point of being without shelter. Sleeping in sheds now.

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