UK whooping cough cases jump

8,000 cases confirmed and 13 infant deaths

LONDON | December 1, 2012

British health officials said Friday there were almost 8,000 cases of whooping cough confirmed and 13 infant deaths in the first 10 months of this year.

"The October figures show a continuing rise in the overall number of whooping cough cases. While there has been a decline in the number of infant cases it's important to emphasize that it's too early to see any impact from the pregnancy vaccination program," Dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist for immunization at the Health Protection Agency, told the Daily Telegraph.

"We strongly recommend all pregnant women take up the offer of vaccination. Parents should also ensure their children are vaccinated against whooping cough on time, even babies of women who've had the vaccine in pregnancy -- this is to continue their baby's protection through childhood."

Last September, women in the last trimester of pregnancy were offered a vaccine containing whopping cough to pass antibodies to their unborn child. The antibodies would protect the children until they can be immunized, Amirthalingam said.

In October, the cases of whooping cough in children age 1 dropped from a peak of 72 cases of in August to 46 cases in October but the almost 8,000 cases of whooping cough for 10 months this year was higher than at any point in 20 years.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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