Whooping cough, also known as Pertussis or the 100 day cough, is a highly contagious bacterial disease.

The symptoms of this disease are particularly similar to having a common cold. Sore throat, runny nose, fever and a mild cough.

The disease is bad for anyone at any age but non more so then newborns, toddlers and the elderly. Another specified group that is encouraged to get the vaccine is pregnant women.

"The vaccine is offered to pregnant women at 26 weeks or later," informed Dr. Digby Horne, Medical Health Officer in the central zone of Alberta Health Services. "The rationale is that, when the mother is immunized, the anti-bodies get transferred across the placenta to the baby."

Dr. Horne also said that because of immunization, the baby is less likely to contract Pertussis. There is an importance behind this; Pertussis early on in a baby's life is the worst time to contract as it presents a plethora of respiratory issues. Immunizing the mom also reduces the chances of being infected with Pertussis and passing it on to the baby.

"We always encourage people to make sure that they're immunized. For any adult over the age of 18, there is an opportunity to provide them with an immunization," he said. "They're eligible for a booster dose, for all adults."

"Usually it starts off similar to a cold, runny nose and coughing. The problem can be because of these protracted spells of coughing, kids have difficulty breathing," continued Dr. Horne. "In extreme cases they can get seizures and pneumonia. In rare cases, it can cause death."

A good start to get your immunization from Pertussis is to check in with your family doctor.

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