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Whooping cough still on the rise in Sussex
A whooping cough outbreak across Sussex is showing no signs of slowing.
There have been 254 reported cases so far this year, eight times the number recorded for all of 2011. Adults and children are the most prone but some very young babies have also been affected.
Parents are being urged to make sure they are up to date with their baby’s vaccinations to help with controlling the spread of the virus.
There have been 46 cases in Brighton and Hove compared to three last year while East Sussex has risen from seven to 101 and West Sussex from 21 to 107.
The actual number could be even higher because not everyone with the illness goes to the doctor.
Whooping cough is a serious illness for the very young and can lead to death in some cases. It has nasty symptoms for adults but does not usually cause any long-lasting problems.
The virus is highly infectious and can spread quickly in places where people are in close contact.
Although the take-up rate for vaccinations in the county is good, the vaccine wears off with age so adults are not protected.
This is believed to be one of the reasons for the current outbreak.
Health Protection Agency immunisation expert Gayatri Amirthalingam said: “We are very concerned about the continuing increase in cases.
“Parents should be alert to the signs and symptoms – which include severe coughing fits accompanied by the characteristic “whoop” sound in young children but as a prolonged cough in older children or adults.
“We also advise parents to keep their babies away from older siblings or adults who have the infection.”
People can speak to their GP for more information or visit www.nhs.uk .
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