MONTREAL - Montreal medical officials are recommending vaccinations against whooping cough, an affliction that can lead to death in children.

Health authorities are urging Quebecers to get vaccinated because 700 cases have broken out in the province so far this year – ten times more than last year.

The disease, known as pertussis and less formally known as the 100-day-cough, is characterized by intense bouts of coughing, but can also be a quiet killer to small children who have not yet developed an immune system to fight the bug.

“For the infants, the young children under a year of age, it can be more deadly,” said Dr. Richard Haber, director of Pediatric Consultation at the Montreal University Health Centre.

Though it affects small children the worst, everyone should get vaccinated, said Dr. Alexandra Kossowski of Montreal Public Health.

“If you have a lot of people that are vaccinated, the disease cannot spread, because you have a second protection for those who do not respond to the vaccine properly,” she said.

An estimated 90 per cent Quebecers are immunized against the disease. Teenagers and adults must be vaccinated every ten years.

Though some families choose not to vaccinate their children, Dr. Haber said he feels it’s important to urge everyone to get a booster shot.

“It’s always wise to ask people specifically what they fear - and try to deal with that specifically with the evidence,” he said. “No healthy child should ever die from a vaccine-preventable disease.”