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Number of whooping cough cases soar in UK – raising concerns about vaccine uptake | UK News

The number of whooping cough cases in the UK has soared – prompting health officials to raise concerns about vaccine uptake.

There were 553 new cases of the highly contagious infection in January, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said.

This compares with 858 cases for the whole of 2023.

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes which can cause serious health problems.

Symptoms are similar to a cold at first but, after about a week, patients will get coughing bouts that last for a few minutes and are worse at night.

Young babies may also make a distinctive “whoop” or have difficulty breathing after coughing.

The condition spreads very easily but the UKHSA said case numbers fell during the pandemic due to reduced social mixing.

The increase in cases comes amid a steady decline in uptake of the vaccine against the infection in pregnant women and children, officials said.

Whooping cough cases in England. See story HEALTH Whooping. Infographic PA Graphics. An editable version of this graphic is available if required. Please contact
Pic: PA

Parents have been urged to check that their child is vaccinated against whooping cough and the UKHSA is reminding pregnant women to also get protected.

The vaccine is offered as part of the six-in-one jab when babies are eight, 12 and 16-weeks-old.

The number of two-year-olds who completed their six-in-one vaccinations as of September 2023 was 92.9%, compared with 96.3% in March 2014.

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Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, UKHSA consultant epidemiologist, said: “Whooping cough can affect people of all ages but for very young infants, it can be particularly serious.

“However, vaccinating pregnant women is highly effective in protecting babies from birth until they can receive their own vaccines.

“Parents can also help protect their children by ensuring they receive their vaccines at the right time or catching up as soon as possible if they have missed any. If you’re unsure, please check your child’s red book or get in touch with your GP surgery.”

Steve Russell, national director for vaccinations and screening at NHS England, said that people can contact their GP to book a vaccination appointment.

Those with symptoms should “ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111,” he added.

People with whooping cough are advised to stay at home for 48 hours after starting antibiotics, or three weeks after symptoms start if they have not had antibiotics.

Silverburn Shopping Centre’s dog-friendly scheme in Glasgow to end after ‘low uptake’ and complaints about mess | UK News

A dog-friendly scheme is to come to an end at a Glasgow shopping centre following complaints pets were defecating and urinating in the mall.

Silverburn Shopping Centre, on the south side of the city, announced it would be opening its doors to dogs back in October.

The “inclusive” policy was introduced in response to a rise in dog ownership.

Water bowls and waste bag stations had been placed around the complex. However, a number of visitors reported seeing dog mess being left behind by some owners.

‘Absolutely disgusting’

On the Crookston and Pollok community Facebook page, Kathleen Richards said she spotted dog faeces in the food court on her way to work.

She said the mess had not been cleaned up.

She added: “Absolutely disgusting. Had to find security to let them know.”

Another customer reported dog urine on a clothes rail, while Dawn Andrews added: “The thought of them slobbering and rubbing themselves about clothes I may want to try on is just not appealing.”

Shopper Murray Johnstone also described seeing a dog in distress after doing the toilet in the centre.

He noted: “[The dog] clearly wasn’t comfortable and [wanted] to be outside.”

On Wednesday, the centre announced the end of the trial following a review of feedback from customers and retailers.

A spokesperson said the news would be “disappointing” for those that have enjoyed taking their dogs, but added: “However, the comfort of our human guests and our retailers must be the priority.”

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‘Well done Silverburn for trying it all out’

In response to the centre’s Facebook post, one woman said her sister-in-law, who has Down’s syndrome, hadn’t been shopping since the scheme was introduced as she was “terrified of dogs”.

However, Marie Mabon praised the mall for trying the scheme out in the first place.

She said: “Well done Silverburn for trying it all out. But it didn’t work, so well done for making the decision to stop.”

The scheme is to be phased out over the next few weeks.

A statement on Silverburn’s website said: “Following a full review of customer and store feedback, we can confirm that our dog-friendly trial won’t be continued.

“We found that many of our guests don’t want the centre to be accessible to dogs for a variety of reasons, and we also had low uptake from our stores, with only a quarter participating in the trial.

“For that reason, dog-friendly shopping will no longer be in operation at Silverburn and we therefore ask that dog owners leave their pet at home when next visiting Silverburn.”

Assistance dogs will continue to be allowed in the venue.