UK & World News
Whooping Cough Deaths: Mum Tells Of Heartache
The parents of a baby who died from whooping cough have told of their heartache amid the biggest outbreak of the disease in 20 years.
Jon and Helen Parsons spoke out as health officials revealed that three babies had died in October.
The total number of babies under the age of three months who have died as a result of the infectious disease this year now stands at 13, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) said.
The number of confirmed cases in England and Wales this year is now 7,728.
The HPA said 1,614 cases of whooping cough were reported in England and Wales in October. In 2011, the total number of cases was 819.
In a move to combat the outbreak, health officials recently announced that all pregnant women are to be vaccinated against the infection.
Jon Parsons, whose daughter died of the disease recently aged seven weeks, said he agreed with the vaccination scheme.
"I came home from work one night and she was not feeding at all," Mr Parsons told Sky News.
"We decided to go to the doctor's the next day because we were bothered about her being dehydrated.
"Over the next few days she went steadily downhill, until three weeks later unfortunately she passed away."
Jon's wife Helen, who is now pregnant again, said the benefits of having the vaccination far outweighed the risks.
"It never crossed my mind that she would get something like that - it's an old-fashioned disease," Mrs Parsons said.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies, the Government's principal medical adviser, said mothers-to-be will be offered the vaccination to protect their newborn babies.
Youngsters cannot receive the jab until they are two months old. Vaccinating their mothers before they are born will boost their immunity until they reach the age when they can have the injection themselves, she said.
Women across the UK who are between 28 and 38 weeks pregnant are being offered the vaccination.
Increases in whooping cough are usually seen every three to four years. The last rise in the number of confirmed cases was recorded in 2008.
Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the HPA, said: "We strongly recommend all pregnant women take up the offer of vaccination."
In the very young, whooping cough can be a serious illness and can lead to death in some cases.
Babies and children can often make a distressing "whoop" sound while gasping for air after a coughing fit.
Professor David Salisbury, director of immunisation at the Department of Health, said: "Whooping cough is highly contagious and infants are particularly vulnerable."
He said there had been nearly 400 cases of the disease in children under three months old this year.
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what do you think?
Why dont threse mothers bother with vaccines?rip liitle ones
These babies were all less than three months old so they were probably too young to be vaccinated its a bit unfair to blame the parents at what must be a dreadful time for them.
If I remember first one babies have is at 2 months
If you read it says the baby featured was 7 weeks. Too young for vaccine. So stop blaming the parents. All too quick to place blame!
Not blaming all parents,this poor baby COULD. have caught it from a child that had not been vaccinated
The vaccines might not have started for the women while they were pregnant with their baby's. It hasn't long been in. I'm due to have my vaccine on Monday as I'm 28 weeks pregnant with twins. R.I.P to all the baby's. :-(
Good luck Bev, when I had my 3 the babies had the jab
Well said Shaun, If some parents choose not to get their babies vaccinated thats their choice but what about babies who can't have it for medical reasons those are the ones I feel sorry for R.I.P little darlings
The vaccine hasn't been in that long. Maybe the mothers had gone past the stage in pregnancy for them to have it so they might of been waiting for their baby's to turn 2 months.
And we thought we seen the last of whooping cough get vaccinated now . Avoiding life saving drugs and the young happy to pop back shed made drugs while drinking . Crazy world .
These little babies were too young to be vaccinated so it's a bit unfair if the parents get the blame. They may well have planned to have the vaccinations done at the appropriate time. On a more general point, cases of whooping cough have been rising over the last decade as parental mistrust of previously trusted vaccines grow. Previous generations saw cases regularly and knew what an awful illness the "90 days cough" was. Once the vaccination is delivered pre natally, the number of very young babies targeted by wc will be reduced. It doesn't offer 100% protection but by helping reduce the number of cases in the wider population, the infection rate will drop off
Lisa Marie Williams
It only says they were under three months babies first jabs are at 2months so they could of had them unles they werent 2months
John and Helen Parson's wee girl was seven weeks old
It would help if everyone who came to live in this country was vaccinated. Instead we let anyone in. Its basic bio-security, if you tried to go to australia and en route you fell ill. Quarantine officers would lock the plane down untill they had checked if you were safe. Ive seen this happen for a woman who fell and hit her Head on a flight from auckland to sidney. We had to wait 3/4hr while they took statements and checked that it was a fall and not some plague passed to her from being bitten by an angry cave weta(giant cricket lives new zealands caves). Here its like "oh hello, Mr.... welcome to great britain i see here you haveTB and ebola virus. You'll fit in fine in london!"