Outbreak: Whooping Cough Nightmare for Scottish Family – Don’t Wait for the ‘Whoop’ Sound!

Portobello, Edinburgh – A mother in Scotland is sharing her family’s struggle with whooping cough, describing it as a relentless and exhausting ordeal. Jayne Saywell and her sons were hit by the infection over two months, causing severe coughing fits and sleepless nights. The experience took them by surprise, as they had believed whooping cough to be a thing of the past.

The Saywell family’s battle is just one example of a larger outbreak affecting Scotland, with the 10-14 age group being the most affected. Health authorities in Glasgow, Lothian, and Grampian regions have reported the highest number of cases in the first quarter of 2024. This resurgence of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, comes after a significant decline in cases in 2023.

Experts warn that the infection follows a cyclical pattern, with peaks occurring every three to five years. Factors contributing to the recent rise in cases include a decrease in vaccine uptake and reduced infections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Public Health Scotland is urging pregnant women to ensure they are vaccinated to protect themselves and their newborns.

Despite being vaccinated, the Saywell family still fell victim to the infection, highlighting the importance of seeking medical attention if persistent coughing occurs. Nine-year-old Peter’s experience with whooping cough left him unable to engage in normal activities for weeks, emphasizing the impact the illness can have on young children.

Dr. Sam Ghebrehewet from Public Health Scotland predicts that the outbreak may not peak until the autumn, underscoring the need for continued vigilance. Whooping cough presents as cold-like symptoms initially, progressing to severe coughing bouts, especially at night. The infection poses a significant risk to young children and infants, making immunization crucial for prevention.

New mothers Molly Mulhearn and Holly McPhee emphasize the importance of vaccination during pregnancy to protect their babies. They stress the need for parents to be informed about infection risks and preventive measures, advocating for open communication and support among new parents. By raising awareness and promoting vaccination, communities can work together to combat the resurgence of whooping cough.