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Thursday 18th July 2019

Whooping cough outbreak continues

27th July 2012

Whooping cough cases in England and Wales are continuing to rise, according to Health Protection Agency (HPA) figures.


In June, there were a further 675 confirmed cases reported to the HPA, bringing the total this year to 2,466, more than double the total for 2011 when 1,118 cases were reported for the whole year.

While the rise is across all regions, there have been some areas reporting clusters in schools or healthcare settings.

The disease is cyclical, occurring every three or four years.

The last peak was in 2008 with 421 cases between January and end of June, compared with the 2,466 cases for the first six months of 2012.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at the HPA said: “The HPA is very concerned about the ongoing increase in cases and we are working closely with the Department of Health’s Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) to consider the most effective ways to tackle the ongoing outbreak.

“The JCVI are reviewing a number of options including the introduction of a booster dose in teenagers and offering whooping cough vaccination to pregnant women.”

At its June meeting, the JCVI advised whooping cough vaccination for healthcare workers working with young babies to protect them against the infection and to stop any risk of them passing the infection on to young patients.

While uptake of the whooping cough vaccination in the UK is very good, Dr Ramsay said parents should ensure their children are up to date with their vaccinations so that they are protected at the earliest opportunity.


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