Pertussis cases have increased in Alberta, with confirmed cases are in all five zones. To protect yourself and those around you, below is what you need to know. You can also find Active Health Advisories on

About Pertussis

  • Pertussis, also called whooping cough, is an infection of the airways and lungs caused by bacteria. It used to be called the 100-day cough, as coughing can last for months.
  • Pertussis spreads easily by coughing, sneezing, or having contact with someone who is infected. You can also get pertussis if you touch your eyes or nose after touching something that someone who is infected also touched, like toys.
  • The pertussis bacteria can live for two to six days on dry objects like clothes, glass, or paper.
  • Pertussis can cause:
    • a cough that can last for several weeks to months and sometimes ends with choking or vomiting.
    • problems with eating, drinking, and breathing (especially for babies).
    • pneumonia (a type of lung infection).
  • In rare cases, pertussis can lead to seizures, brain injury and death.
  • Babies are at the highest risk of getting very sick from pertussis. In Canada, one to four deaths are related to pertussis each year. These deaths are most often in babies who are too young to be immunized or children who are not fully immunized. 
  • Pertussis can be treated with antibiotics (medicines that fight bacteria). If your healthcare provider prescribed antibiotics, use them as directed.
  • People with confirmed pertussis should stay home until five days of treatment with appropriate antibiotics have been completed.
  • Getting immunized for pertussis is safe and effective at preventing severe illness. In Alberta, it is free for all children less than 18 years of age, people who are in the third trimester of pregnancy (27 weeks), and adults who have not had a tetanus booster in the past 10 years.

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Protect Yourself & Your Family

To reduce the risk within our communities, we need to ensure as many people as possible are up to date with their immunizations.

Please be sure that you and your children are up to date on all recommended immunizations, including those that protect against pertussis.

In Alberta, the dTap vaccine is recommended each time you are pregnant. It helps protect you and your baby during the first few months of life, especially against pertussis. It is best if you get the dTap vaccine when you are between 27 and 32 weeks pregnant.

  • Limit the spread by practicing regular hand washing, not sharing drinks, food or cutlery, staying home when sick, covering your mouth when you cough and seeking early assessment and treatment by a physician.

Albertans can text ‘Whooping Cough’ to 88111 or visit to receive additional information on whooping cough symptoms, treatment and how to prevent it from spreading.

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Pertussis Can Be Deadly

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