Pertussis (whooping cough)
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Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a contagious infection of the lungs and airways. It is caused by bacteria called bordetella pertussis. Pertussis is a disease that happens year round everywhere in the world.
Each year in Canada between 1,000 and 3,000 people fall ill from pertussis. Worldwide, there are about 20 to 40 million cases of and 400,000 deaths from pertussis each year.
Pertussis causes serious coughing fits that can lead to choking or vomiting. The coughing can be so intense that a “whooping” sound happens when you try to catch your next breath.
Without treatment, pertussis can last for weeks or months, and can cause brain damage or even death. It is most dangerous for children under 1 year old, especially if they are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. It is important that you and your children receive all of your vaccinations for protection of yourself and others.
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