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Since our last update to Fraser Health physicians on 11 January 2012, several recent cases of pertussis have been diagnosed in residents from the Agassiz and Chilliwack area, raising concern that the ongoing pertussis outbreak currently centered around Hope may be spreading to adjacent Fraser Valley communities.
Fraser Health Public Health wants to alert all Agassiz and Chilliwack area physicians of this development and again remind you that when seeing patients with upper respiratory symptoms, particularly if there has been recent contact with persons from the Hope area, to have a high index of suspicion for pertussis.
Please ask patients with coryza, mild cough, sneezing and other cold-like symptoms about exposure to anyone with paroxysmal cough. If these patients are developing pertussis, early antibiotic treatment can prevent or ameliorate the development of the pertussis cough.
If you suspect pertussis, please take a nasopharyngeal swab (MS-Pertussis kit), then start antibiotics without waiting for results. Even if you do not swab, please report a suspect case to the local Health Unit so Public Health can follow-up on any high risk close contacts for whom antibiotic prophylaxis might be offered.
Please advise suspect cases of pertussis to stay home until 5 days of antibiotic treatment have been completed. Without antibiotics, patients are infectious until 3 weeks from onset of cough.
Antibiotics for pertussis prevention are also recommended for high risk close contacts of cases: pregnant women in the 3rd trimester and babies under 1 year of age, as well as those who live with them or who share a group/family daycare with them.
This is also an opportunity to check the pertussis immunization status of all children and youth who visit your office. If your pediatric patients are missing any doses please refer them to the local Agassiz or Chilliwack Health Unit (contact numbers below) to make a vaccine appointment.
To further protect very young children, Fraser Health Public Health is also recommending that any adult living in the Agassiz or Chilliwack area (including pregnant women or expectant new parents) whose last dose of pertussis vaccine was 5 or more years ago and who has ongoing contact with young children, receive free TdaP (Adacel®) vaccination. Please note that this recommendation to be vaccinated also applies to you and your medical office staff. Any adult living on a reserve near Agassiz or Chilliwack and whose last dose of pertussis vaccine was 5 or more years ago is also eligible for free TdaP vaccine.
To order Adacel® for your office or if you have any immunization question, please contact your local Health Unit (contact numbers below). Alternatively, please refer to the ImmunizeBC website. MS-Pertussis kits can be ordered by faxing your request to BCCDC at 604-707-2606.
Other Questions? Feel free to contact a Fraser Health Medical Health Officer at: 604-587-3828 or 1-877-342-6467 (M-F, 0830-1630 hrs) or after hours at 604-527-4806.
If started early enough, antibiotics such as erythromycin can make the symptoms go away more quickly. Unfortunately, most patients are diagnosed too late, when antibiotics aren't very effective. However, the medicines can help reduce the patient's ability to spread the disease to others.
Originally posted by bastet11
Here in San Diego county, we had a Pertussis outbreak. 89% of the sufferers were fully vaccinated. They have been trying to sweep that failure rate right under the rug.