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Whooping cough cases on the rise in Quebec, Montreal confirms cases

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There is a growing number of cases of whooping cough in Quebec, with most cases occurring in the Eastern Townships and the Beauce.

However, the cases appear to be spreading to other areas, including Montreal.

The latest numbers from Montreal public health report 1,476 cases of whooping cough (pertussis) across Quebec since the beginning of the year.

Last month, Montreal saw a spike in the number of cases: there's now a total of 57 confirmed cases from Jan. 1 to June 3.

"There were different pockets, but I can tell you, just supervising our laboratory here at the MUHC, we're seeing more positive cases in adults and in children more from the local area, so the numbers are definitely increasing," said the division director of pediatric infectious diseases at the MUHC Dr. Earl Rubin.

The respiratory tract infection is highly contagious with the most common symptoms are coughing fits, low-grade fevers, a runny nose and red, watery eyes.

Whooping cough can cause complications, and nearly half of those who end up in hospital are children under the age of three months.

"There's a problem in terms of reporting it," said Rubin. "It's an obligatory report to public health. The labs will report any positive tests. The problem is getting the tests done is not easily accessible, so numbers are an underestimate."

Montreal Public Health said there is a peak in whooping cough cases in Quebec every three to five years.

The last outbreak was in 2019. 

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