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Suspected 100-day-cough cases: Wirral ranks second in England and Wales

Wirral has the second highest number of suspected Whooping Cough cases in England and Wales. Health authorities are concerned.

Wirral, a region in England, has seen a surge in suspected cases of Whooping Cough, ranking second in the country for the highest number of reported cases. Whooping Cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and breathing tubes, as stated by the NHS. This year alone, health authorities have received notifications of 1,141 cases of Whooping Cough, marking a 26% increase compared to the previous two years combined.

The initial symptoms of Whooping Cough can often be mistaken for a common cold, such as a sore throat and runny nose. However, the infection can progress to severe coughing fits that can last for up to three months. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has been notified of 35 suspected cases of Whooping Cough in Wirral, making it one of the most affected areas in England and Wales, second only to Hackney in London, which has reported 77 cases.

When comparing the number of cases to the population, Hackney has the highest rate of cases per 100,000 people, with 29.6, followed by Gateshead with 13.2 and Wirral with 10.9. Cllr Janette Williamson, Chair of Wirral's Adult Social Care and Health committee, emphasized the seriousness of Whooping Cough, particularly for babies and young children. Vaccination is available for those who are most vulnerable, with pregnant individuals recommended to receive the vaccine to protect their babies from birth. Additionally, young babies are offered three doses of the whooping cough jab at eight, 12, and 16 weeks old.

Vaccination rates for whooping cough in Wirral are higher than the Cheshire & Merseyside and England rates, with around 65% in pregnant individuals and 85-95% in two and five-year-olds. However, efforts are continuously made to maintain these high vaccination numbers. Dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, a Consultant Epidemiologist at the UK Health Security Agency, stressed the importance of vaccination in protecting against Whooping Cough, especially for pregnant women. The impact of social distancing and lockdown measures during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in cases of Whooping Cough, making it crucial for pregnant women to ensure they receive the vaccine to safeguard their babies. If you are pregnant or have a child who is eligible for vaccination, speaking with your GP to arrange for the vaccine is highly recommended.

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