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Further drop in whooping cough cases

Cases of whooping cough have continued to decline for the third month running after a peak of more than 9,700 cases in 2012. 

Figures published today (1 March 2013) by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show 668 confirmed cases of whooping cough in January compared to 835 cases in December 2012. 

Only 25 cases of whooping cough were confirmed in 2008, which was the last peak year. 

“The January figures show a welcome continued decrease of whooping cough cases since October,” said Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the HPA. 

However he noted that there is usually a reduction in cases at this time of the year. 

Almost 60% of pregnant women accepted the vaccination in January, which Dr Amirthalingam said is good news. 

He said: “The aim of vaccinating of women between 28 and 38 weeks of pregnancy is to offer babies protection against whooping cough in the first few months of life, before they receive their own vaccines.”