This site is intended for health professionals only

Whooping cough cases more than double in Northern Ireland

There have been more than double the number of whooping cough cases in Northern Ireland so far this year than in the whole of 2014, official statistics have revealed.

Public Health Agency statistics show 79 cases of whooping cough in the country so far this year, compared to only 33 for the whole of 2014. It said it fears a repeat of the problems from 2012, when 314 cases were recorded.

As a result, it is urging women who are 28 or more weeks pregnant to have a whooping cough vaccination from their GP.

Its consultant in health protection Dr Richard Smithson said: ’So far there has been a good response from pregnant women to get vaccinated but it is still important to remind those between 28 and 32 weeks pregnant to get the whooping cough vaccination as babies can’t receive the vaccine in the early weeks after birth.’

He added: ’Of the 79 cases this year, 19 have been babies under three months old, the time when they are most vulnerable, and unfortunately too young to be protected by the infant whooping cough vaccine.’