Pertussis or whooping cough is a highly infectious disease which can lead to serious complications including death. The disease is especially severe in newborn babies and is a major cause of infant death worldwide; the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that in 2008 there were about 16 million cases of pertussis, and that about 195 000 children died from the disease. However, vaccination has led to a big reduction in infant deaths in recent years. WHO estimates that, in 2008, global vaccination against pertussis averted about 687,000 deaths. In 2012 the UK experienced a nationwide outbreak (epidemic) of pertussis. There were over 9,300 cases in England alone – more than ten times as many as in recent years. The causes of this are not clear. In the years since 2012 there has been a fall in cases, but numbers are still high compared to the years before the 2012 epidemic. 14 babies under three months old died of pertussis in 2012, and another 18 died between 2013 and 2016. There were no deaths from pertussis in 2017, and no deaths in the first half of 2018. Vaccination of mothers can protect babies from this disease. See more infomation on the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination programme for pregnant women.
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Source: Public Health England Archive and Public Health England pertussis reports