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Whooping cough is on the rise – it's important for children and pregnant women to follow vaccination recommendations

Whooping cough is on the rise – it's important for children and pregnant women to follow vaccination recommendations

Nationally, the prevalence of whooping cough is high and at levels even higher than in the years before the pandemic. Whooping cough can be life-threatening for young children, so it is important that they are vaccinated as recommended and are aware of the symptoms.

Whooping cough is a highly contagious respiratory infection. This year we have more cases in Sweden than in previous years, with a sharp increase since May. The number of cases this year is even higher than in the years before the pandemic. Before the pandemic, spring was a period of low transmission of whooping cough, followed by more cases in summer and autumn, so the number of cases is expected to increase in the coming months.

– Last week we had two cases of whooping cough in Västerbotten, whereas we had no cases at all in 2022 and 2023. Whooping cough is a notifiable disease and we are constantly monitoring developments. It is important that both healthcare professionals and citizens pay attention to symptoms, says Maria Marklund, infectious diseases doctor.

Whooping cough often starts out as a common cold but develops into severe coughing fits that can last for weeks. Adults who don’t know they have whooping cough can pass the infection to young children. So, be aware of symptoms that could be whooping cough and avoid close contact with young children. Children and adults who get sick despite being vaccinated usually have a milder infection.

It is important to get vaccinated.

It is important that children are vaccinated according to the childhood vaccination programme, because the protective effect builds up gradually. The Västerbotten region recommends vaccination against whooping cough for children and pregnant women after the 16th week of pregnancy. Vaccination protects children and reduces the risk of serious complications. Infants are most at risk of becoming seriously ill from whooping cough, and most children who become ill and are under three months of age require hospital care.

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The Västerbotten Region recommends that children be vaccinated against whooping cough according to the vaccination schedule because the protective effect builds up gradually. It is also important that pregnant women are vaccinated after the 16th week of pregnancy, as this protects the children and reduces the risk of serious complications. Infants are most at risk of becoming seriously ill from whooping cough, and most children who become ill and are under three months of age require hospital care.

– Vaccination against whooping cough is crucial to protect the youngest and most vulnerable patients, says Deborah Frithiof, MD, chief medical officer of pediatrics. Also, avoid letting babies under 6 months of age come into contact with people who have a runny nose and cough.

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more information
Maria Marklund
Infection Control Physician
Vasterbotten area
090-785 14 00
070-291 66 12

Britta Nesman Vilborg
Communications staff
Vasterbotten area
070-653 65 56