Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Health News

Whooping cough outbreak claims life of 10th baby

The number of babies who have died in the biggest outbreak of whooping cough in England and Wales for 20 years has risen to 10, health officials say.

There were 1,322 confirmed cases of the disease in September alone – 200 more than the total for 2011 – and 6,121 cases since the start of the year, the Health Protection Agency said.

In a move to combat the outbreak, health officials recently announced that all pregnant women are to be vaccinated to protect their babies.

Children cannot receive the jab until they are two months old but vaccinating the mother-to-be boosts a newborn's immunity.

Increases in the incidence of whooping cough are usually seen every three to four years. The last rise in the number of confirmed cases was in 2008.