Alarming Nottingham whooping cough data shows huge number of cases reported in city

A general view of Bridlesmith Gate in Nottingham city centre
More cases of whooping cough have been reported in Nottingham here than anywhere else in the UK -Credit:Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post

Nottingham is the worst place in the UK for whooping cough cases, new figures reveal. It comes with the news that five babies have died of the disease in the first quarter of the year.

Across the country, there have been 2,793 confirmed cases of whooping cough in total in 2024. That's a staggering 9,210 per cent increase on 2023, in which there were just 30 cases confirmed in the same period. of time

And the figure is continuing to rise - with January's figure 556, February's 918 and and March's 1,319. Suspected cases are much higher - but of the 4,853 diagnosed in England between the start of the year and March 31, only 58% were confirmed by lab tests.

In the 21 days after that, there was another nearly 2,000 diagnosed, with 6,815 the total number for England since January. In Wales, there were 1,198 cases between January 1 and April 21.

And the city of Nottingham has had it worst in the entire country. There have been 187 cases suspected so far this year, with 15 in just the past week.

Around the county this year there have been 12 cases in Mansfield, 15 in Newark and Sherwood, 17 in Bassetlaw, 15 in Newark and Sherwood, 21 in Ashfield, 47 in Broxtowe, 49 in Gedling and 88 in Rushcliffe. In contrast, the cities of Derby, Lincoln and Leicester have only had 24 cases between them.

Cases have been rising in England due to a “combination” of factors, said the UK Health Security Agency, including the "cyclical nature of the disease" and the impact and isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to reduced immunity in the population. Vaccine uptake - the main preventative measure that can protect from the disease - has also fallen in recent years.

Whooping cough is a contagious bacterial infection which starts with symptoms of a cold such as a runny nose and sore throat. It can be passed on from around six days after these symptoms start and remains contagious until three weeks afterwards, or two days after treatment with antibiotics start.

After around a week of symptoms, bouts of coughing start which can last for a few minutes at a time and cause sharp intakes of breath between coughs, which can make a "whoop" sound. The cough can last for several weeks or months, hence its nickname, the "100-day cough".

If it is diagnosed within three weeks, antibiotics can get rid of the infection, without reducing symptoms, but after three weeks, the disease is no longer contagious and should get better itself. If it doesn't hospital treatment may be needed.

Most people can recover and the infection is usually not serious in adults, but children under six months old are at higher risk. The infants that died this year were all vulnerable and part of a "most at risk" category for severe complications from the disease.