Cases of whooping cough still rising

WHOOPING cough is continuing to spread across 1066 Country.

As of last week there were 31 confirmed cases, compared to 22 at the end of September.

There have also been more than 400 cases across Sussex so far this year, 13 times higher than the total in 2011.

Babies are at highest risk of severe complications and death from the illness, which is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the lungs and airways.

Dr Angela Iversen, director of the Surrey-Sussex Health Protection Unit, said: “We have been very concerned about the continuing increase in whooping cough cases and related deaths and welcome the urgent action recently taken by the Department of Health to introduce a vaccine for pregnant women.

“The introduction of a vaccine for pregnant women will not have an immediate impact on serious infection in infants so vigilance remains important. Working with the Department of Health we will continue to regularly monitor figures to evaluate the success of the programme. 

“All parents should ensure their children are vaccinated against whooping cough on time, even babies of women who have had the vaccine in pregnancy. This is to continue their baby’s protection through childhood.

“Parents should also be alert to the signs and symptoms of whooping cough, which include severe coughing fits accompanied by the characteristic ‘whoop’ sound in young children but as a prolonged cough in older children or adults.

“It is also advisable to keep babies away from older siblings or adults who have the infection.”