Expatica news

Whooping cough on the rise

12 July 2007

BRUSSELS – The number of cases of whooping cough in Belgium has doubled. 104 cases were reported to the Scientific Institute for Public Health between 1 January and 31 May, compared to 55 cases in the same period last year, according to Het Laatste Nieuws on Thursday.

Professor Pierre Van Damme of the University of Antwerp is urging once again that teenagers be administered a second vaccination against whooping cough.

There has also been a doubling of cases in Flanders on its own: 54 cases were reported in the first five months of this year, compared to 27 in the first half of last year.

Whooping cough, a childhood disease characterised by fierce coughing spells, has been on the rise for several years. In the course of the 1990s there were at most five reported cases each year. In 1998 this number reached 20, in 2003 100. The total number of cases in 2005 was 180, and last year the total was 196.

Still the Child & Family foundation says that more than 93 percent of children over the age of 15 months are vaccinated. But evidently the number of antibodies being produced when vaccinated as an infant is decreasing over the course of time. That is why professor Van Damme is urging that children be administered a second vaccination later on.

Adults who have frequent contact with young children are also advised to be vaccinated. Whooping cough can be very dangerous to young children.

[Copyright Expatica News 2007]

Subject: Belgian news