London: In what is being termed as Britain`s biggest whooping cough outbreak in 20 years, at least five babies have died and nearly 2,000 cases have been reported this year.
A total of 1,781 cases have been confirmed in England and Wales, compared to just 137 in 2010.
People over 15 have been the worst affected, and there has been a sharp rise in whooping cough in babies aged under three months.
This year, there has been 138 cases confirmed in babies under three months, compared to just 22 cases in 2010.
While whooping cough can cause nasty symptoms in adults, it does not usually cause any long-lasting complications and can be treated with antibiotics.
In the young, whooping cough can be a serious illness and can lead to death in some cases.
Children often make a distressing "whoop" sound while gasping for air after a coughing fit.