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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Rise in whooping cough in Cumbria

Nearly 200 cases of whooping cough have been diagnosed in Cumbria so far this year as the country faces a possible epidemic.

Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated against the infection to give unborn children more protection after birth.

Most cases are found in adults but whooping cough in children can be fatal, and 10 babies have died in the UK in the worst outbreak for decades.

There were 1,322 people infected in September, bringing the national total to 6,121 this year, according to the Health Protection Agency.

In the North West there have been 380 cases of whooping cough in 2012 compared with 73 in 2011. There have been 190 cases in Cumbria.

The situation was highlighted recently when parents of an 18-month-old baby from Maryport told how he had nearly died from the infection.

Deon Goulding, of Buttermere Road, was admitted to hospital at 15 days old but sent home the next day with the all-clear.

A few days later he stopped breathing and was re-admitted but doctors were unable to give a correct diagnosis, and his father Johnathan refused to take him home.

A doctor later suggested that Deon should be tested for whooping cough and he was successfully treated.

Mum Janine Teasdale warned: “I wouldn’t want other people to go through what we did. It’s vital for pregnant women to get this.”

For maximum immunity, youngsters need jabs at two, three and four months old, followed by a booster when they are three years old.

Getting vaccinated 28 to 38 weeks into pregnancy can also protect unborn babies from developing whooping cough in the first few weeks of life.

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