NHS issues 'call 999' warning after 'nine babies die'

Mums and dads in England have been warned after nine babies died amid skyrocketing '100 day cough' cases. There were 2,591 new cases in May - the most of any month in the past 30 years - in a major worry for UK households.

It marks the worst whooping cough outbreak since thr 1990s. Dr Mary Ramsay, vaccines director at the UK Health Security Agency, said: “Vaccination is the best defence against whooping cough and it is vital that pregnant women and young infants receive their vaccines at the right time.

“With cases continuing to rise and sadly nine infant deaths since the outbreak began last November, ensuring women are vaccinated appropriately in pregnancy has never been more important. Our thoughts and condolences are with those families who have so tragically lost their baby.”

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NHS England’s chief midwife Kate Brintworth said: “The rise in whooping cough cases over the past six months is of real concern. I urge pregnant women to get vaccinated to help protect their babies.” On its website, the NHS says: " Ask for an urgent GP appointment or get help from NHS 111 if your baby is under 6 months old and has symptoms of whooping cough."

It also urges you to call 111 if "you or your child have a very bad cough that is getting worse" or if "you've been in contact with someone with whooping cough and you're pregnant." "Check symptoms on 111 online (for children aged 5 and over) or call 111 (for children under 5)," it adds.

It says: "Call 999 or go to A&E if your or your child's lips, tongue, face or skin suddenly turn blue or grey (on black or brown skin this may be easier to see on the palms of the hands or the soles of the feet), if you or your child are finding it hard to breathe properly (shallow breathing) or if you or your child have chest pain that's worse when breathing or coughing – this could be a sign of pneumonia."