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Pertussis in Ireland

21 Sep 2012

The media has reported on the rise in pertussis (whooping cough) infections in the Republic of Ireland. In the first 8 months of 2012, the number of pertussis cases doubled compared to the same time period in 2011. Between Jan and Aug 2012, 335 pertussis cases were recorded, compared with 145 in 2011.

Around one third of the total number of cases has been reported from the east of the country. Countrywide, infants under 6 months of age are most affected, with an increasing number requiring admission to hospital.

Several other countries are reporting an increase in pertussis cases in 2012, e.g. the UK, US, Australia and Canada. A waning immunity in older members of the community may be a contributing factor. It is important that infants receive their immunisations according to the national schedule.

Advice for Travellers

It should be confirmed that children have received their recommended doses of pertussis vaccine according to the national childhood schedule. At present booster doses of pertussis vaccine are not recommended for older children and adults in the UK.