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Wednesday 21st August 2019

Five babies die from whooping cough

6th July 2012

The Health Protection Agency has urged parents to ensure they get their babies vaccinated against whooping cough after five deaths from the condition.


In what is thought to be the biggest outbreak in two decades, 1,781 adults and children have had the illness, according to HPA figures, compared to 2010 when there were just 137 cases of the condition named after the whooping sound children make in between coughs.

The HPA data also reveals that up to the end of May this year there have been 138 cases in babies aged under three months, six times the number compared with two years ago when there were just 22, with five deaths.

Dr Gayatri Armithalingham, consultant epidemiologist in the immunisation department at the HPA, said: “Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, affects all ages. However, over the last few months the increase has extended to very young babies who have the highest risk of severe complications and death.”

Whooping cough can spread easily to close contacts but vaccination is the most effective way to protect people and uptake of the vaccine is very good with figures showing 88% of all children have had the injections.

Dr Armithalingham added: “Parents should ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations so that they are protected at the earliest opportunity.”

At present the NHS vaccinates all babies when they are two, three and four months old as part of their ‘five in one’ jabs and then again just before school as part of their pre-school booster.


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