University Hospital Southampton Makes Breakthrough in Whooping Cough Research


University Hosptial in Southampton has made a new discovery about the potentially life-threatening illness, whooping cough.

Researchers have determined that the bacteria that causes whooping cough, bordetella pertussis, can ‘lurk silently’ in the throat and nose of someone who is still healthy. Whooping cough is highly contagious disease that causes intense coughing for up to three months in someone who is affected, spread through coughing and sneezing.

The number of cases of whooping cough recorded in Britain has risen considerably with nearly 20,000 more cases seen in the years 2011 to 2018 than the 2005-2011 period. Whooping cough is particularly dangerous in young children, with babies under sixth months being the most vulnerable. Eighteen babies have died from whooping cough since 2012. There is a whooping cough vaccine, however the vaccine does not provide life-long protection, and is becoming less effective as time goes on. You are also not immune to whooping cough if you have had the sickness before.

Whooping cough is present throughout the world, where cases seem to be rising; there were several outbreaks of whooping cough in the United States in the early 2010s. Therefore, this discovery could make significant progress in determining how to be even more effective on how to prevent spreading and development of the illness, if the bacteria can be present within those who don’t show classic whooping cough symptoms.


Travel Editor 2019/20. Sub-editor 2018/19. Currently studying English and History.

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