Pertussis (whooping cough) notifications - big increase in 2012 compared to 2011


The number of pertussis (also known as whooping cough) cases continues to rise.

Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease. The disease is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which can make it difficult to breathe. After a bout of coughing, someone with pertussis often needs to takes in a deep breath which results in a "whooping" sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age.

Most recent provisional data (as of 8th September) indicates that pertussis notifications continue to increase, 335 cases of whooping cough have been reported to the HSE, compared to 145 for the same time period in 2011. Approximately, a third of all cases have been reported from the HSE Eastern region. Nationally, young infants aged less than 6 months are most affected and most likely to be hospitalised for the disease.

Vaccination offers the best protection for young children. Parents please ensure that your child is vaccinated promptly with the pertussis containing vaccine ('6-in-1' vaccine) at 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A fourth dose is recommended at 4-5 years, at school entry. It is planned to extend this to all areas from next September. Children who have never received pertussis vaccines should attend their GP for vaccination.

People who think they or their child may have pertussis should contact their GP for appropriate treatment and stay away from young children and infants until properly treated. Treatment of people who are close contacts of pertussis cases is also an important part of prevention.

Please see your GP if you think you or your child may have pertussis. Pertussis is a notifiable disease.

What does pertussis sound like? You can hear the cough by clicking here and following the link

For more information on pertussis please click here