Pregnant women are to be vaccinated against whooping cough after the biggest outbreak of the illness for two decades claimed the lives of nine babies.
While whooping cough can cause nasty symptoms in adults, it does not usually cause any long-lasting complications and can be treated with antibiotics. In the very young, whooping cough can be a serious illness and can lead to death in some cases.
Babies and children can often make a distressing "whoop" sound while gasping for air after a coughing fit. Older children and adults tend to suffer a prolonged cough.