Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man concern at whooping cough numbers

The rise in whooping cough cases on the Isle of Man is a cause for concern, according to a public health official.

Isle of Man Director of Public Health Dr Parameswaran Kishore said after three clear years, nine people have been diagnosed so far in 2012.

It is thought most of those affected on the island were adults and teenagers but newborn babies are most at risk.

Dr Kishore said vaccinating more people was being considered, "especially those who work with very young babies."

The main symptoms of whooping cough are severe coughing fits, accompanied by a "whoop" sound.

Surges in the number of cases are seen every three to four years. This latest outbreak began at the end of 2011.

The rise in numbers on the Isle of Man reflects that seen in the UK where 675 cases were reported in June bringing the total to 2,466 for 2012 so far.

"On the Isle of Man the ages of those affected are varied - it is not confined to children," said Dr Kishore.

"My concern is that if these infections are quite mild, it may go undiagnosed and then those people could in turn come into contact with very young children - they are particularly vulnerable."

A health spokesman said: "Vaccination is the best way to prevent whooping cough.

"In Isle of Man (and the UK) the whooping cough vaccine is offered to babies at two, three and four months, and a fourth dose is included in the pre-school booster, given three years later."

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