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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) in Canada (Ontario)

18 Dec 2017

On 13 December 2017, public health authorities in St Thomas, Ontario reported  continuing local spread of pertussis (whooping cough).

As of December 8, 2017, there have been 74 cases, 83% of whom are under the age of 16
years. Most of these are school students living throughout Elgin County.

Advice for Travellers

Children normally receive pertussis vaccinations as part of the national schedule. Pregnant women are also advised to be vaccinated during pregnancy as antibodies are passed on to the unborn child and protect the infant when born.

Currently pertussis vaccine is not recommended for anyone over the age of 10 years, except pregnant women (as above) or during outbreak control.

Occasionally travellers going to visit family are requested to have booster doses of pertussis containing vaccine prior to travel.  This is usually grandparents going to an area where an outbreak has recently occurred (e.g. Australia, New Zealand or USA), and going to visit family where a child is due to be born or has recently been born. In this situation, the travellers are being asked to have vaccine to protect the newborn infant. However, if the pregnant woman at the destination has already been vaccinated against pertussis (which is usual practice in those countries also) there is no need for pertussis to be given to the adult travellers prior to travel.   

For further information see Pertussis.