Whooping cough (Pertussis) infection appears to be making a comeback this winter with 444 cases notified to the NSPC as of last December 2012. This is probably an underestimate of the true prevalence of this infection as the swabs and blood tests GPs require to diagnose this infection are not being made available. The main group affected by this years outbreak are young babies and children with almost a third of cases occurring in babies under six months of age. This group are also most at risk of complications from the infection.
The characteristic symptom of whooping cough is a severe cough lasting more than two weeks and associated with a “whoop” or vomiting. Antibiotic treatment can be useful if given early. The HSE are also recommending that pregnant women receive a booster of their Pertussis vaccine between the 28th and 32nd week of pregnancy in order to protect their newborn babies. We are happy to provide this to any expectant Mums or see children with persistent cough for advise and diagnosis.