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Heart has found out that nearly five hundred cases of Whooping Cough have hit the South West in just five months - this is DOUBLE the number of cases in the whole of 2011.
The HPA's Health Protection Unit in the South West has reported an increase in cases since the second part of last year. The increase has been reported across all English regions.
The infection can affect all ages and is easily passed between people, although does not often become a serious condition in adults.
However, for young children it can become more severe and even life threatening. The number of childrens cases has risen in the South West region.
Symptoms tend to start with a sore throat, mild fever and dry cough before the coughing fits happen, along with a 'whoop' sound caused by gasps for breath. The cough can last for weeks or even months.
If you notice these symptoms you are advised visit your GP as early diagnosis is recommended, and many cases often go unrecognised.
The main way to prevent Whooping Cough is through vaccination, this is available to children in the UK through the routine childhood vaccination scheme.
Parents are advised to make sure children are vaccinated so they are protected at the earliest opportunity.
For more information GO HERE: http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/WhoopingCough/