London, Nov 30 (IANS) In what is being termed the worst whooping cough incidence in 20 years, at least 13 babies aged under three months have died from the disease in Britain, official figures say.
There have been almost 8,000 cases of whooping cough confirmed in the first 10 months of this year, the Telegraph quoted the Health Protection Agency as saying.
In October, 1,614 cases reported were reported in England and Wales.
Gayatri Amirthalingam, consultant epidemiologist for immunisation at the HPA, said: "The October figures show a continuing rise in the overall number of whooping cough cases."
Whooping cough cases tend to come in waves as immunity against the disease provided by vaccination wanes over time and allows small outbreaks to occur.
America is also facing its largest outbreak of whooping cough since the 1950s.
The signs and symptoms of whooping cough include severe coughing fits accompanied by the characteristic "whoop" sound in young children but as a prolonged cough in older children or adults.