urge whooping cough vaccinations after surge in cases
have this week urged pregnant women in the Burnham-On-Sea area
to have the whooping cough vaccination and parents to ensure their
children are vaccinated against the disease after a surge in cases
New figures published this week by the Health Protection Agency
show that in the first ten months of this year there were 53 infant
cases of whooping cough in Somerset compared with just six cases
during the last 'peak' year of 2008.
This trend is reflected nationally, with almost 8,000 cases of
whooping cough confirmed for England and Wales this year - a figure
which is nearly ten times higher than for the same period in 2008
when 797 cases were reported.
NHS Somerset says young infants can be at the highest risk from
whooping cough with severe complications even leading to death.
Julie Yates, Public Health Consultant with NHS Somerset, told
Burnham-On-Sea.com: "Getting vaccinated while pregnant should
help to protect babies from developing whooping cough in their
first few weeks of life."
"The immunity that is gained from the vaccine will pass to
the baby through the placenta. Babies are not vaccinated against
whooping cough until they are two months old."
"We also strongly recommend all women make sure their children
receive their whooping cough vaccinations on time. Parents need
to be alert to the signs and symptoms of whooping cough. These
include severe coughing fits accompanied by the characteristic
'whoop' sound in young children."
Whooping cough is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the
lungs and airways. It spreads when a person with the infection
coughs and sheds the bacterium which is then inhaled by another
The condition usually begins with a persistent dry and irritating
cough which progresses to intense bouts of coughing. Other symptoms
include a runny nose, raised temperature and vomiting after coughing.