Figures released today by the Health Protection Agency show that 665 laboratory confirmed cases of whooping cough were reported to them between January and March 2012, compared with a total of 1,040 cases during the whole of 2011.
Almost a quarter of these cases were in the South East region, with some areas reporting clusters of cases in schools, universities and healthcare settings.
Dr Peter Biggs, a Canterbury GP says that babies should be vaccinated at two, three and four months and again when they reach their first birthday. Children also need a pre-school booster once they reach three and a half.
The main symptoms of whooping cough are:
- severe coughing fits
- a 'whoop' sound as the child gasps for breath
More information is available from the European Immunisation Week website