An outbreak of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, has expanded into the province’s central zone, Alberta Health Services stated Thursday.
The outbreak was originally declared Jan. 26 in the south zone and has continued to grow. There have now been 114 identified cases, including a small number in the central zone.
The majority of cases have been children under 18 years old, with 72 per cent being between one and nine years old. During the course of this outbreak, five children have required hospitalization.
There have been four cases in total in Red Deer and Willingdon within the central zone. The remainder of cases are in south zone.
Pertussis is a bacterial infection that causes severe and prolonged coughing that lasts for weeks. It can impact people of all ages, but infants one year and younger are at greatest risk of serious complications, including pneumonia, convulsions, brain damage and death.
AHS states immunization is the best method to protect against and limit the spread of pertussis, along with regular hand washing and remembering not to share drinks, food or cutlery.