Whooping cough rises sharply in UK and Europe

Pertussis incidence is high and climbing in the UK. In January 2024, there were 553 cases in England compared with 858 cases for the whole of 2023. The largest previous pertussis outbreak in recent years was in 2012, when cases were at their highest level in two decades. At this stage, it is difficult to tell how the current rise in pertussis activity will play out over the coming months. Pertussis is highly contagious. Up to 90% of household contacts become infected, although harms occur predominantly in young infants, who are too young to be fully vaccinated and are at the highest risk of severe complications.1 Roughly 4% of confirmed cases in January were in infants under the age of 3 months, although most people affected have been over 15 years old.2The rise in pertussis infections has been replicated across many European countries. It is thought to be the result…
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