Are you up to date with your Pertussis (Whooping Cough) vaccination?

26 February 2015

Over the past year the province of Alberta has seen a marked increase in the number of Pertussis cases with an outbreak in central Alberta.

Whooping cough (acellular pertussis) is a bacterial infection of the airways. It is easily spread through the air (by sneezing or coughing) and by direct contact with someone who is infected.

The whooping cough bacteria can live for two to five days on dry objects like clothes, glass or paper" (Alberta Health Services,

Initially pertussis presents with common cold symptoms that last for one to two weeks and then the cough worsens and can persist for months. Pertussis is highly communicable and can lead to pneumonia, convulsions, brain injury and even death. Older children and adults may not have the typical coughing fits and whoop that can identify pertussis. The best defense against contracting pertussis is immunization.

Recent research has shown that immunity provided by childhood vaccination for pertussis may not be life-long. Alberta Health has recently amended their immunization recommendations to include a booster dose of pertussis vaccine once after the age of 18. Pertussis vaccine is usually given together with diphtheria, tetanus in the dTap immunization. If your initial Faculty Immunization Clearance was completed at the University Health Centre, then you are eligible to have the booster dose (if you haven't already had it) for free. If you had your Faculty Immunization Clearance completed elsewhere you can have the booster dose done for $20.00. Please call the University Health Centre at 780-492-2612 to book an appointment should you require an additional pertussis vaccine dose.