In response to the soaring cases of pertussis, a bacterial infection of the lungs, health experts have warned about the highly contagious disease known as the '100-day cough' that has spread across the UK. According to reports, the country has witnessed a 250 per cent increase in bacterial infection, with symptoms similar to a cold but can proceed to protracted and violent coughing spells lasting up to three months.
Health agency reports three times more cases than previous year
According to the UK Health Security Agency, 716 cases of pertussis were reported between July and November, three times more than the same period in 2022. Following reports, Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam, the agency's Deputy Director of Public Health Programmes, said that the number of infections dropped during the COVID-19 epidemic due to social distancing and lockdown regulations but is currently on the rise.
Pertussis, famously known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. Only humans are affected by the disease. It largely impacted infants and caused significant mortality cases. In the 1950s, a vaccine was developed that significantly reduced its impact.
Whooping cough's impact
Whooping cough can also impact older children and adults. The 100-day cough can trigger hernias, sore ribs, middle ear infections, and urine incontinence.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, whooping cough can make breathing difficult. A severe cough might also cause vomiting and painful or cracked ribs. However, the agency further said that the disease is preventable, and vaccines are available to protect children and newborns.