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05th Apr 2024

Whooping cough outbreak at popular holiday destination leaves two dead and 50 ill

Nina McLaughlin

Cases are higher than they have been for more than a decade

Whooping cough has been seeing a resurgence in Greece, with two reported to have died from the illness so far, and over 50 cases having been reported

Ekathethimerini newspaper reports that eleven babies under the age of one have been affected by the cough, with one newborn dying due to the disease.

The other death is reported to have been an adult with underlying health conditions.

The Greek Health Minister, Eirini Agapidaki, has urged the population to get vaccinated against whooping cough to prevent the spread.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has raised concerns that cases of the illness has been rising across Europe, including in Spain, the Netherlands and Norway.

“Pertussis (as whooping cough is also known) is an endemic disease worldwide, even in the presence of a programme with high vaccination coverage, with peaks in disease spread every three to five years,” they explained, via The Mirror.

“The current increase is potentially linked to lower circulation during the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with sub-optimal vaccination uptake in certain groups. Infants and young children who are too young to be fully vaccinated have also been affected, including several deaths.”

It comes amid rates of the ‘100 day cough’ reaching a decade high in the UK.

Dr Chris Johnson, a public health expert, issued a warning to pregnant women and parents of young children to get vaccinated against the infection.

“With rates suppressed during the lockdowns of the pandemic we are naturally seeing a resurgence this year,” he said

“It can be very serious and lead to pneumonia and permanent brain damage.

“Young babies with whooping cough are at risk of dying from the disease.”

Professor Helen Bedford, an expert in child public health at University College London, echoed this sentiment, saying: “Whooping cough in young babies can be very serious and vaccinating their mothers in pregnancy is the only way of ensuring they are protected in the first few months.”

The NHS advises people see their GP if they or their child have the symptoms of whooping cough, or have had a cough for more than three weeks that is getting worse.

If you or your child are having significant breathing difficulties, fits or signs of pneumonia call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.

Children under six months and people with severe symptoms will normally be admitted to hospital for treatment.

For more information about whooping cough, you can visit the NHS website here.

Related links:

Symptoms of deadly ‘100-day cough’ sweeping the nation

Travel warning issued to Brits planning Spain, Greece or Portugal trips this summer

Brits will soon not be allowed to enter Spain, Greece, or France unless they make a £6 purchase