Adults in New Westminster who have regular contact with babies and young children should get the free whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine.
This is the message from the Fraser Health Authority after the death of a month-old baby in the Lethbridge area of southern Alberta this month, due to complications related to this highly contagious disease.
Outbreaks of whooping cough have been reported across Canada and the U.S. this year. The hardest hit areas are the Fraser Valley in B.C., southern Alberta, and parts of southwestern Ontario and New Brunswick.
In the Fraser Health region, about 290 people - including nine children under the age of one - have been infected with whooping cough since last fall. There have been no fatalities reported.
In New Westminster, the number of cases reached seven as of July 25.
The peak of the outbreak came in midwinter, with a second wave in May this year.
"We haven't changed our view of the seriousness of this disease, even though we're having fewer cases," said Paul Van Buynder, chief medical health officer with the Fraser Health Authority. "We know that this is a nasty disease for young children. We still want anybody that hasn't got around to being vaccinated that has contact with young children to go and do it."
Vaccines are still available at no cost for pregnant women and adults in the Fraser Health region who have contact with young children and babies, which includes childcare workers, day care centre staff, nannies and grandparents.
The vaccine is available at pharmacies and from general practitioners.