30th July 2012
Rise in Whooping Cough cases
The number of cases of whooping cough (Pertussis) has shown a marked rise in the UK; this has been reflected in Isle of Man as well. The Public Health Directorate has been notified of nine cases of whooping cough so far in 2012; this is in contrast to the previous three years when there was not a single case of whooping cough. There was a rise in the number of cases of whooping cough in 2008 across the UK and IOM had six cases.
Whooping cough also known as pertussis, is a cyclical disease with increases occurring every four years. It affects all ages but is particularly serious if it affects very young babies.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent whooping cough. In Isle of Man (and the UK) the whooping cough vaccine is offered to babies at 2, 3 and 4 months and a fourth dose is included in the pre-school booster, given three years later.
Advice to parents:
Whooping cough is a serious disease especially among young babies. In addition to the conditions being distressful to the child affected and the family, it can cause complications such as pneumonia and convulsions. Children can also faint following prolonged bouts of coughing as well as fracture their ribs or bleed in the eye (sub conjunctival hemorrhage).
- Ensure that all your children have received the full course of vaccination – it is especially important that if you have a young baby in your house that all older children have completed their full course of immunisation.
- No vaccination offers 100% protection and same is true of the whooping cough vaccine but the seriousness of the disease is considerately reduced by vaccination.
- If you are concerned about your child, please seek medical attention.
- If you are unfamiliar with whooping cough and need to hear what the cough sounds like, please go to the website www.whoopingcough.net/symptoms.htm
- The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has recommended that all Health Care Workers in contact with young babies are offered a booster dose of whooping cough vaccine. Isle of Man Department of Health is preparing to implement this recommendation in the next few days.