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HPA warns parents to keep whooping cough vaccinations updated

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A rise in whooping cough cases has prompted a warning to parents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said there have been 665 confirmed cases already this year, compared with 1,040 in the whole of 2011.

Cases have been reported across all regions in England with some areas reporting clusters in schools, universities and healthcare settings.

The HPA is also reminding parents to ensure their children are protected against measles after a slight increase in cases since the beginning of the year.

So far, 251 measles cases have been reported in 2012 compared with 200 cases in the same period last year. The majority of cases have been in people who had not been vaccinated.

Dr Mary Ramsay, the HPA’s head of immunisation, said: “The HPA has written to GPs to remind them of the signs and symptoms of this infection and stress the importance of vaccination. The agency is also encouraging GPs to report cases quickly and to make them aware of the HPA’s guidance to help reduce the spread of the infection.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “We continue to see high uptake of the whooping cough vaccine, but the increase in cases - while not uncommon with such highly infectious diseases - highlights the importance of vaccination against this and other illnesses. Parents should make sure their children are up to date with all vaccinations, and should speak to their GP if they need advice.”




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