Home Lifestyle Urgent whooping cough warning as one baby dead and 50 ill

Urgent whooping cough warning as one baby dead and 50 ill


Whooping cough has been on the rise (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

A baby has died and 50 more people are ill after the outbreak of a 100-day cough at a popular European holiday spot.

Two people have already died from Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, in Greece since the start of 2024. One was a newborn baby.

The other person who died was an adult who had underlying health conditions.

Greece’s public health authority, NPHO, confirmed there have been 54 cases of the illness since the start of the year, with 32 being children and teenagers.

Eleven include infants under the age of one.

The symptoms of the infectious bacterial disease include a long, drawn-out cough which can last several minutes and a ‘whooping’ sound from the chest.

It poses the most risk to children and infants, but anyone can catch it.

What are the symptoms of whooping cough?

According to the NHS, the five key symptoms of whooping cough are:

  • Coughing bouts lasting for a few minutes and are worse at night
  • Coughs that make a “whoop” sound – a gasp for breath between coughs
  • Difficulty breathing after coughs, which could lead to turning blue or grey in young infants
  • Bringing up a thick mucus, which can lead to vomiting
  • Turning very red in the face

Greece’s health minister, Eirini Agapidaki, is urging anyone travelling to Greece to get vaccinated against whooping cough as cases rise.

Croatia, the Netherlands, Spain and Norway have also joined Greece in reporting a surge in cases of the illness.

‘Pertussis (as whooping cough is also known) is an endemic disease worldwide, even in the presence of a programme with high vaccination coverage, with peaks in disease spread every three to five years,’ the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said.

The ECDC added that a huge amount of cases were detected in babies under the age of three months.

It continued: ‘The current increase is potentially linked to lower circulation during the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with sub-optimal vaccination uptake in certain groups. Infants and young children who are too young to be fully vaccinated have also been affected, including several deaths.’

In the UK, people have been urged to ‘stay at home’ if they have symptoms of the illness and not go to work, school or nursery as the disease is fast-spreading.

And data shows that whooping cough is also on the rise in the UK.

In January this year alone, there have been 553 cases – in the whole of 2023, there were 858.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

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