High Rate of Pertussis Occurring in Portugal

by Wayne Ghesquiere on February 25, 2017

As of January 2016 over 520 cases of pertussis, primarily in infants, have been reported in Portugal.   This is a significant increase over the average incidence rate.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis is a highly contagious bacterial disease.  Symptoms usually develop in 5-10 days and are similar to a cold with runny nose, mild cough and/or fever.

Pertussis is also known as the “100 day cough” and can cause a loud “whoop” sound; people with minor cases may not present with the whooping sound. Serious illness can occur in infants, children, and adults.  The most serious cases of pertussis occur in infants, those under 1 year of age often require hospitalization. Many babies with pertussis do not present with a cough and instead suffer from apnea (pause in breathing).

Health Canada recommends one adult booster of pertussis (Tetanus/Diptheria with acellular Pertussis) even if they have received a dose of Tetanus/Diptheria in the last 10 years.  All travelling adults should receive this booster dose of pertussis.

The childhood dose is given as part of BC’s standard immunizations.  Adult dose is recommended to boost the immune system but is not provided free in BC.  Immunization not only helps protect yourself but others around you as well.

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