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Whooping cough left Herefordshire man 'struggling to breathe'
8:40am Saturday 20th October 2012 in News
AS an outbreak of whooping cough continues to sweep across the country, a Herefordshire man who contracted the illness has spoken about his recent scare.
Carl Badham, of Peterchurch, started feeling unwell at the beginning of last month, but whooping cough was only detected last week.
The 28-year-old, who has now returned to his job as a field sales representative, said the illness left him struggling to breathe at times.
“Whooping cough lasts so long and there are various stages of it,” he said.
“When you cannot catch a breath it is quite scary.”
The current outbreak of whooping cough - a contagious infection of the lungs and airways that often affects babies - is the biggest in the UK for more than a decade.
Nine babies have died from the illness in England and Wales this year.
NHS Herefordshire recently announced that it will offer a vaccine to pregnant women in the county to help protect their newborn babies against the disease.
The news has not been lost on Carl whose partner, Sasha, is pregnant.
Sasha has not yet been vaccinated but will ask for an injection soon, added Carl.
Elizabeth Shassere, director of public health in Herefordshire, said: "Whooping cough is very unpleasant at any age, but for infants can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia, weight loss, brain damage or even death.
"In Herefordshire we have seen the number of cases grow this year so, like many other counties across the UK, we are stepping up our immunisation programme by vaccinating pregnant women.
"The vaccine will be available free of charge from their GPs at their routine antenatal appointment.
“We will be working with Wye Valley NHS Trust maternity staff to make women aware of this vaccine and encourage them to protect their newborns from this highly infectious disease.”
- See nhs.co.uk for more information and advice on whooping cough.