04/08/2014 06:24 EDT | Updated 06/08/2014 05:59 EDT

Whooping Cough Outbreak In Southern Alberta

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LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - Alberta Health Services says there's been 34 confirmed cases of whooping cough so far this year in the southern part of the province and more may be unreported.

Local medical officer of Health, Dr. Vivien Suttorp, says the disease is cyclical, with outbreaks occurring every three to five years.

She says it's affecting people of all ages.

Suttorp says young children would likely have the worst symptoms and adults more of just a nagging cough that could last several weeks.

The last whooping cough outbreak in the south zone — which is the area south of Calgary and includes Lethbridge and Medicine Hat — was in 2012 and before that in 2009.

Alberta Health Services says whooping cough is extremely contagious and the best way to protect yourself and your family is to get immunized.

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