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Three more babies die after developing whooping cough, says UKHSA

Three more babies have died from whooping cough this year as cases continue to rise across the country, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

Since January, there have been 4,793 confirmed cases of whooping cough, with 181 babies under the age of three months diagnosed with the illness. A total of eight babies have now died from whooping cough this year.

Pregnant women have been urged to get the whooping cough vaccine in order for their babies to be protected before they are old enough to receive the vaccine themselves.

Babies can first be vaccinated against the disease when eight weeks old, while pregnant women are advised to get the vaccine at 16 and 32 weeks.

Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, a consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, said: “Our thoughts and condolences are with those families who have so tragically lost their baby.

“With whooping cough case numbers across the country continuing to rise and sadly the further infant deaths in April, we are again reminded how severe the illness can be for very young babies.

“Pregnant women should have a whooping cough vaccine in every pregnancy, normally around the time of their mid-pregnancy scan (usually 20 weeks). This passes protection to their baby in the womb so that they are protected from birth in the first months of their life when they are most vulnerable and before they can receive their own vaccines.

“The vaccine is crucial for pregnant women, to protect their babies from what can be a devastating illness.”

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Source: The Guardian, 6 June 2024


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