United Kingdom: 5 children die of whooping cough United Kingdom: 5 children die of whooping cough

United Kingdom: 5 children die of whooping cough

United Kingdom: 5 children die of whooping cough

Five infants infected with whooping cough have died in the United Kingdom since the beginning of the year, as the death toll from this respiratory disease continues to rise.

More than 2,700 cases of whooping cough (or pertussis, a highly contagious bacterial infection of the respiratory system) have been reported across England so far in 2024, more than triple the cases recorded in the whole of last year.

New figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) showed that 2,793 cases had been reported to the end of March, compared to 858 cases for the whole of 2023.

The agency said that between January and the end of March, five deaths occurred among infants, who are most at risk of severe complications resulting from the disease, indicating that updated estimates of the effectiveness of the vaccine during pregnancy showed high levels of protection (92 percent) against infant deaths.

While most cases (50.8 per cent, 1,420) recorded between January and March were in those aged 15 or over who usually develop mild disease, rates of whooping cough remain highest in children younger than three months old.

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