A SLEAFORD couple want to raise awareness of the dangers of whooping cough after their baby contracted the disease.
Allan Steel’s and Claire Wright’s baby daughter Stacey Steel was just three weeks old when she first showed symptoms of whooping cough.
Her parents took her to Grantham Hospital and from there she was transferred to the Children’s Unit at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital where she was diagnosed with the illness.
Stacey spent a week in hospital and now, at the age of three months old, she is still not fully recovered, and her parents want to highlight the dangers of the disease to other parents.
Mr Steel said: “It started off as the symptoms of a cough and a cold but then it got worse and she was struggling to breathe. She has had it for over two months now and the doctors said that it can last for up to four months.”
Claire added: “We want to raise awareness of whooping cough and to encourage parents of children who have a cough, but are not sure if it may be whooping cough, to be vigilant and if their child is showing the symptoms to get them to the doctors and have a test.”
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has confirmed cases of whooping cough in England and Wales are rising, with the total number of reported cases so far this year at 2,466, more than twice the total for the whole of 2011, when 1,118 cases were reported.
Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, affects all ages, but this increase has extended to very young babies who have the highest risk of severe complications and death.
At present, the HPA are working with the Department of Health’s Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization to consider the most effective ways to tackle the ongoing outbreak, which could include a booster vaccination for teenagers and a whooping cough vaccination for pregnant women.