Whooping cough cases still historically high: RIVM

Photo: Depositphotos.com

The number of people who contracted whooping cough remains high although is declining, health institute RIVM said in its latest update.

In the last two weeks, over 1,400 people caught the disease, including some 50 babies. The numbers are among the highest ever recorded since the registration began in 1975.

Up to May 12 this year, a total of 8,625 people had the disease, of whom 426 were babies. Of the babies aged up to five months just over half had to be hospitalised. A quarter of babies between 6 and 11 months ended up in hospital, the RIVM said.

Of the babies up to two months old, 90% had not been vaccinated in vitro, through the mother. Some of the mothers who had been vaccinated were premature or the vaccination had been given with too little time to spare until the birth.

Vaccination during pregnancy offers a 90% to 95% protection rate for babies of up to two months. If the mother has not been vaccinated, babies are unprotected until the first months before the vaccination can be given.

The vaccination rate in general is falling in the Netherlands and has reached the “critical” stage, the RIVM warned. It is currently under 90% when the recommended rate is over 95%.

No deaths from whooping cough were recorded in the first half of May but earlier this year four babies  died in quick succession and two elderly people also died.

Whooping cough is extremely contagious and particularly dangerous to babies. Lack of oxygen during bouts of coughing can can cause damage to the brain and even death. Peaks in whooping cough cases have been occurring every two to four years, including among adults, since 1996.

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation