Europe warns of risk of whooping cough in children under six months of age after cases increase tenfold

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reported that during 2023 and up to April 2024, almost 60,000 cases of whooping cough were reported in European countries, an increase of ten times more than in 2022 and 2021.

The European health watchdog attributes the resurgence in cases caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis to years of the pandemic during which the infection did not circulate. But also to failure in vaccination. More children are not vaccinated with the vaccine, and more cases are receiving only one dose, reducing protection.

In particular, during 2023, more than 25 thousand cases were registered, and from January to March of this year – more than 32 thousand. Despite this, the ECDC states that whooping cough is endemic in Europe and worldwide, causing larger epidemics every three to five years, even in countries with high vaccination coverage. In fact, similar numbers were observed in 2016 (41,026) and 2019 (34,468).

Recently born

ECDC is concerned about the particular vulnerability of newborns. The highest risk of serious illness and most hospitalizations and deaths associated with whooping cough occur in children under six months of age. Therefore, public health authorities are advised to strengthen vaccination programs and maintain high vaccination coverage, including subsequent booster vaccinations. And reassure pregnant women that if they are vaccinated against whooping cough in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, they can protect their children from birth, before they are vaccinated.

Most European Union countries, including Spain, recommend maternal immunization in addition to the routine childhood vaccination program.

Serious illness

“This is a serious disease, especially in infants. We have safe and effective vaccines that can prevent this. “Vaccination is our key tool to help save lives and prevent further spread of the disease,” recalls Stella Kyriakides, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety.

Whooping cough is a highly infectious bacterial disease that affects the lungs and airways. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth, nose and throat of infected people. Even in countries with high vaccination coverage, it remains a serious public health problem. After the end of the pandemic, it began to spread actively again and lost its seasonal nature.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button