Pertussis outbreak in Dehcho

(Photo taken from Facebook)

The office of the chief public health officer has confirmed seven cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River, and has declared an outbreak in the region.

The number of cases has grown since an initial advisory earlier this month.

Health officials are advising residents in both communities to contact their health centre and confirm their pertussis vaccination.

Pertussis is a disease that affect the lungs and respiratory tract, and is especially dangerous in infants less than a year old.

Pregnant women can help protect their newborn by getting vaccinated between 27 and 32 weeks of their pregnancy.

Symptoms usually develop seven to 10 days after exposure, but can take up to 21 days. They include:

  • Mild fever
  • Runny nose
  • Red, watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Mild cough

After initial symptoms, the cough usually worsens and can lead to severe coughing spells with a wheezing or whooping sound. Babies and small children can turn blue.

If you have pertussis, it is important to stay at home and away from infants, young children,
women in their last 3 months of pregnancy, and large public gatherings until you complete
,” reads the advisory.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.