Greece: Whooping cough outbreak leaves 2 dead and 50 ill at holiday hotspot

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Greece: Whooping cough outbreak leaves 2 dead and 50 ill at holiday hotspot

A whooping cough outbreak at a popular holiday hotspot has resulted in two deaths and left 50 people unwell. The National Public Health Organisation of Greece confirmed that the illness had caused two fatalities in the country.

Since the start of 2024, there have been 54 recorded cases. Among these patients, 32 were children and teenagers, and 11 were babies under one-years-old, as reported by the Ekathethimerini newspaper.

One of the victims was an adult with underlying health conditions, and the other was a newborn baby. Whooping cough is known to be particularly dangerous for infants and young children.

Health Minister Eirini Agapidaki has encouraged people to get vaccinated against the illness as the number of cases continues to rise. However, Greece isn’t the only country affected, with several other popular destinations also reporting cases, the Mirror says.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) confirmed that almost all of the cases were detected in babies under three months old.

In its Communicable Disease Threats Report, the ECDC highlighted increasing cases in places as diverse as Croatia, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain.

« Pertussis (as whooping cough is also known) is an endemic disease worldwide, even in the presence of a programme with high vaccination coverage, with peaks in disease spread every three to five years, » the ECDC explained.

Whooping cough is making a comeback after Covid lockdowns and low vaccine uptake, health chiefs have warned. Brits have been urged to « stay at home » if they have been struck with the illness as cases soar – particularly among children.

The 100-day cough, which can be difficult to spot due to its cold-like symptoms, is a bacterial infection of the lungs and breathing tubes.

The fast-spreading infection can cause a runny nose, high temperature and a sore throat. In January alone, a staggering 553 cases of the condition were recorded, compared to the 858 cases for the entire of 2023.

Members of the public have been told to « stay at home and do not go into work, school or nursery until 48 hours after starting antibiotics, or 3 weeks after symptoms start if they have not had antibiotics ».

A record-breaking number of cases were detected in Czechia this year, 3,101 between January to March, 2024. It’s the largest number seen in 60 years.

Croatia saw 6,261 cases of pertussis between January 2023 and March 15 this year. Another 822 records of whooping cough were registered in Denmark.

Norway saw 707 and the Netherlands 1,749. In Spain, there were another 5,242 cases up to March this year. People with whooping cough often find it harder to deal with the illness at night, with coughing fits that can last for several minutes.

Parents are being warned that their little ones might turn a scary shade of blue or grey if they’re having trouble breathing. Another sign of this nasty bug is thick mucus which could make you sick, or turning red in the face – something that happens more often to grown-ups.

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