New Brunswick is about to deal with a medical outbreak.

According to the province’s health officials, an outbreak of whooping cough (Pertussis) has been declared in the Moncton and Miramichi areas in New Brunswick.

“Some areas of our province are experiencing a higher number of whooping cough cases than usual in multiple settings including workplaces and schools,” said Dr. Yves Léger, medical officer of health for the east region. “Public Health is monitoring the situation closely and working with health-care professionals and the public to decrease the risk.”

What is whooping cough?

The disease involves a lining of the respiratory tract that is caused by the Bordetella Pertussis bacterium.

Normally symptoms include cold-like problems such as sneezing, runny nose, low-grade fever and mild cough and worsens over a period of several weeks to include serious coughing spells that often end with a “whoop.”

It can easily be transmitted from person to person, mainly through droplets from the nose, mouth and throat of an infected person.

“The best way to protect yourself against whooping cough is through immunization which is part of the New Brunswick Routine Immunization Schedule,” said Léger. The schedule includes immunization of children, adolescents and adults.

While anyone can contract the disease, whooping cough is most dangerous for babies and young children who have not received all doses of the whooping cough vaccine.

Whooping cough is diagnosed based on laboratory tests and is treated with an antibiotic.

Individuals exhibiting symptoms of whooping cough are encouraged to contact their health-care provider.