Concern at rise in cases of whooping cough

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Parents in Derry have been urged to have their children vaccinated as a outbreak of whooping cough continues.

Twenty six cases of the disease have been confirmed in the Western Trust area - which includes Derry, Limavady and Strabane - since the start of this year.

In 2011, there were only 15 confirmed cases in the whole of the north.

However, a total of 148 cases have been confirmed so far this year

Dr Richard Smithson, Consultant in Health Protection with the Public Health Agency says it is vital parents get their children vaccinated.

“Quite a few of the cases are in children too young to be vaccinated. Therefore the Public Health Agency wants to urge parents to try to protect young babies in particular from coming into contact with people with coughs and to get children vaccinated on time from two months of age.

“Whooping cough can be fatal for babies aged under one.”