A whooping cough outbreak in Nelson was exacerbated by the area's unusually low child immunization rate.

Whooping cough outbreak hits Nelson

Nearly 50 people in the West Kootenay have been struck with whooping cough during the last four months.

Nearly 50 people in the West Kootenay have been struck with whooping cough during the last four months, with approximately 40 cases in Nelson. Interior Health calls the outbreak entirely preventable, noting that the situation is being exacerbated by Nelson’s unusually low immunization rate.

Medical health officer Dr. Rob Parker told the Star that though most BC communities have immunized approximately 90 per cent of their children and infants, Nelson is way behind at 65 per cent.

“It all comes down to community immunization,” said Parker. “The place we see repeated outbreaks is places like Nelson, where some parents believe in a more natural lifestyle or they’re trying to stay away from medication and drugs.”

Also caused pertussis, whooping couch is a bacterial lung infection that poses a serious risk to babies. Adults show much milder symptoms, which helps it to spread.

“We’ve been lucky so far. Nobody’s been hospitalized yet. If there’s a case where they are hospitalized, most often it’s an infant,” Parker said.

He said the outbreaks are cyclical, and return repeatedly to areas without sufficient immunization.

“The cause of whooping cough is always around. It’s in people’s noses even if they’re not getting sick, and they’re probably not getting sick because they have immunity through the vaccine. But as the new pool of young children who haven’t been immunized come up, that’s when you get an outbreak like this.”

Other than immunization, which is the only proper way to  protect yourself from the airborne infection, which is usually spread by coughing, Parker said families should be sure to keep up on hygienic standards such as hand-washing.

Parker encouraged parents to talk to their local public health nurses and to visit immunizebc.ca for more information.

Just Posted

Voters pack Nelson mayoral forum

Candidates answered questions from journalist Glenn Hicks

EDITORIAL: Nelson mayor’s race uninspiring

An incumbent mayor, a former mayor and a clown walk into a forum

Nelson downtown holiday lighting by mid November, city says

But for this year, only on the 400 block of Baker Street

COLUMN: What Wayne Stetski did on his summer vacation

The Kootenay-Columbia MP talks cimate change, farmers markets and Bill C-281

Provincial energy incentives complement Nelson’s EcoSave program

B.C. offers homeowners new financial incentives for energy retrofits

VIDEO: Drag story time a hit at Kootenay Kids

The childcare centre invited a local performer to read to its kids

Enbridge to begin building road to access pipeline explosion site in B.C.

An explosion Tuesday knocked out a 91-centimetre line

East Kootenay waterway under the microscope

Wildsight, Sierra Club BC, Headwaters Montana and U.S. university launch water sampling program

Andrew Scheer on revamped NAFTA deal: ‘I would have signed a better one’

Conservative leader says he wouldn’t have signed USMCA

Matheson will have NHL hearing after Canucks rookie Pettersson hit

The 19-year-old Swedish centre appeared woozy after the hit

GUEST COLUMN: A better way to manage B.C.’s public construction

Claire Trevena responds to Andrew Wilkinson on NDP union policy

B.C. brewery creates bread beer from food waste

The brew aims to raise food waste awareness and provide funds for the food bank

Dad files Charter challenge after B.C. bans kids from taking transit unsupervised

Adrian Crook is taking his fight to B.C. Supreme Court

B.C. VIEWS: Cast your municipal vote for sanity on homelessness

Thousands on waiting list while anti-capitalist bullies get priority

Most Read