Intended for healthcare professionals


Whooping cough: Doctors are urged to encourage vaccination as eight infants die in England amid case surge

BMJ 2024; 385 doi: (Published 07 June 2024) Cite this as: BMJ 2024;385:q1265
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. London

Royal colleges and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have urged pregnant women to take up pertussis vaccination and for parents to ensure that their children have been vaccinated, after a surge in whooping cough cases and eight infant deaths.

On 6 June the agency released provisional data showing 4793 laboratory confirmed cases of pertussis from January to April 2024, which compares with just 858 provisional laboratory confirmed cases in the whole of 2023.1

Cases are continuing to rise each month, from 555 in January to 920 in February, 1430 in March, and 1888 in April. So far eight deaths have been reported in infants who developed pertussis from January to April—three more than were reported in last month’s figures.2

The UKHSA has updated its guidance for health professionals on managing pertussis,3 and …

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