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21 cases of whooping cough in Huron Perth so far this year

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Huron Perth Public Health is warning residents about an increase of whooping cough cases.

In 2022, there were three cases in the area, but so far in 2023, there have been 21 confirmed by public health.

"The illness can be serious for infants younger than 12 months of age who are not vaccinated, or who have not received all doses of the pertussis vaccine," says Dr. Miriam Klassen, Medical Officer of Health for Huron Perth in a Wednesday news release. "Young children have the highest risk for severe complications, such as hospitalization and death, if they get sick."

Public health says the illness begins with mild, cold-like symptoms and may progress to severe coughing that can last two weeks or longer and be extremely contagious. Children may make a ‘whoop’ sound, gag, or vomit while coughing.

Public health says the rise in cases in Huron Perth and southern Ontario is partially due to delays in routine immunizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Parents are encouraged to keep their children up to date on immunizations and, if they or their kids are sick, to stay home and contact their primary care provider.

Earlier in March, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health reported 12 cases of whooping cough since the fall. Last week, the number for WDG jumped to 18.

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