Five infant deaths of whooping cough and mounting cases have sparked nationwide concerns.

Continued rising cases in the United Kingdom, with a total of 2,793 confirmed cases being reported during the first quarter of the year have been highlighted in the latest data published by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Tragically, the surge included five infant casualties from January through March.


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The report shows the number of whooping cough cases sharply rising each month to 1,319 reported cases in March, compared to 918 in February and 556 from January.

Despite high levels of protection (92 per cent) due to infancy vaccines, young infants are at the highest risk of whooping cough's severe complications and death.

The study further revealed that the disease mostly affected people aged 15 years or older, accounting for 50.8 per cent of cases.

However, rates are highest amongst babies under three months of age.

Since December, whooping cough has seen a surge across England due to various factors echoing the rest of the world.

The outbreak of the cyclical disease, which peaks every three to five years, is already overdue from its last 2016 rise.

Emma Booth, the health protection consultant leading on vaccine-preventable diseases for UKHSA West Midlands, said: "Vaccination remains the best defence against whooping cough, and it is vital that pregnant women and young infants receive their vaccines at the right time."

“Pregnant women are offered a whooping cough vaccine in every pregnancy, ideally between 20 and 32 weeks.

"This passes protection to their baby in the womb so that they are protected from birth in the first months of their life when they are most vulnerable and before they can receive their own vaccines."

A top-up vaccine is also offered to pre-school students before turning three years and four months old.

NHS national medical director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: "If you are pregnant and have not been vaccinated yet, or your child is not up-to-date with whooping cough or other routine vaccinations, please contact your GP as soon as possible, and if you or your child show symptoms ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111."