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Health Alerts

Get the latest information about health alerts that affect expectant or pregnant women and their newborns.

Vaccination in pregnancy

Cultural Safety

Antenatal Care

Newborn Care

Infant Feeding

September 3, 2019

In response to an increase in syphilis rates and two reported cases in BC of congenital syphilis in 2019, the following interim guideline is recommended, jointly developed by BC CDC, BCW and PSBC.

All pregnant individuals should have syphilis screening performed at 2 time points:
  1. During the first trimester of pregnancy or at the first prenatal visit ( existing recommendation); AND
  2. At delivery – at time of admission for delivery or any time after 35 weeks for those planning home births (new recommendation). 
These recommendations apply to all individuals, regardless of assessed or perceived risk, and are in line with several other jurisdictions in Canada.

The following information is available:

May 3, 2016

There has been an increase in infant deaths related to unsafe sleep practices. The BC Coroners Service Child Death Review Unit has identified an increase in infant deaths related to unsafe sleep practices. 

Over the past three years, there has been an average of 18 sleep related deaths per year. In 2016, in just under four months (between January 1 and April 28, 2016), 15 infants have died. Almost all were younger than six months of age.  

Health care professionals are reminded to ensure that safe sleep practices are discussed with all expectant parents and parents/caregivers with young infants. 

Please read the following for more information:

April 26, 2016

Listeriosis can cause serious illness in pregnant women and newborns. Listeriosis is most often caused by eating foods contaminated with the bacteria, Listeria monocytogenes

February 12, 2016

The Public Health Agency of Canada recently confirmed travel-related cases of Zika virus in Canada. 

Zika virus causes infections in humans and is transmitted by mosquitos found in South America, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Current evidence shows a possible association between Zika virus infection and an increased risk for serious health effects on fetal development.

For more information, visit:
As of November 1st 2020, the pertussis vaccine (as Tdap, or tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis vaccine) has become publicly funded for pregnant women/people. The OPTIMAL recommended time for Tdap vaccination is BETWEEN 27-32 weeks of pregnancy, although IF THIS WINDOW IS MISSED IN SPECIFIC CIRCUMSTANCES, this vaccine can be offered after the first trimester and up until delivery. 

Tdap vaccination is recommended with each pregnancy, regardless of the time elapsed since prior vaccination with Td or Tdap. 

The Tdap vaccine is available from your usual source of publicly funded vaccines (e.g., your local public health unit), in 10-dose cartons, and is given as an intramuscular injection. Like all vaccines, it must be stored at 2-8oC during transport and kept in a monitored fridge up until its administration. PRIMARY MATERNITY CARE PROVIDERS (family physicians, nurse practitioners, and midwives) AND most pharmacists in BC are able to offer Tdap immunization.  See, including the Immunization Manual and Q & A for more information.

SOURCE: Health Alerts ( )
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