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Whooping Cough Cases Have Doubled in Last Year Alone

Cases of whooping cough have almost doubled in the last year, according to newly released figures.

Provisional data from the Department of Health that was obtained by the Conservative Party showed there were 1,071 cases in England last year.

This is up on the 539 cases in 2006 and a 177 per cent rise on the 386 cases in 2003.

Cases of tuberculosis (TB) have risen 17 per cent, from 6,741 in 2003 to 7,862 in 2006.

Cholera has risen from 25 cases to 38, while typhoid has gone up from 174 cases in 2003 to 203 in 2006.

There were also 1,442 cases of mumps in England and Wales and 1,876 cases of scarlet fever last year – although these were down on the previous year.

Whooping cough (also called pertussis) can last up to 10 weeks and cause long bouts of coughing and choking. It is a highly infectious bacterial disease of the respiratory tract and is spread by droplet infection.

It is not usually serious in older children, but it can be very serious and lead to death in babies aged under one.

A vaccine is given to babies. It forms part of the DTaP/IPV/ Hib jab, which protects against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio and haemophilus influenzae type b.

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: "Labour have pumped billions into the NHS but they haven't made it a priority to stop people getting ill in the first place.

"In fact, they have slashed the number of staff working in public health. Now we're seeing the consequences, and illnesses that we thought were being wiped out are on the increase again.

"The Government needs to stop dithering and take urgent action to halt the rise in cases of these diseases."

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