Brits told to ‘wear a mask’ this Christmas over fears of spreading 100-day cough

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    Brits have been told to consider wearing a mask for Christmas as a virus sweeps the nation once again.

    Social distancing and greeting loved ones with elbow bumps rather than hugs have also been encouraged over fears of a 100-day cough spreading. An expert has made the suggestions as whooping cough case numbers have soared by 250% compared to recent years.

    The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has revealed 1,141 suspected cases in England and Wales in 2023 up until November, double the 450 seen the year before and 454 for the same period in 2021. Warnings about the measures have been shared withThe Sunby Prof Richard Tedder, ex-head of the Department of Virology at the University College London (UCL), who explained that increased socialisation over Christmas could see this number jump even further.

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    He told the outlet: "People should ensure they are vaccinated and consider using masks to help prevent the spread [of whooping cough]. They could also adopt the 'no hugging or kissing' rule and use their elbows to greet people."

    Fears remain among experts that the surge in case numbers could be coming from the common axing of pandemic-restricting measures. Its case numbers dropped during the pandemic, but numbers have since seen a resurgence since they were removed and life went back to a more normal rhythm.

    People are now being encouraged to check their vaccination records to find out if they are immunised. Known as pertussis or the 100-day cough, it is caused by bacterial infection and used to claim the lives of 1,000s of children before vaccines were introduced.

    Pregnant women have in particular been encouraged to get the vaccine, with the current number of people with it dropping to a seven-year low of 61.5% – in London that number is just 41.5%.

    The vaccine is normally given to babies alongside five other inoculations between the ages of 12 and 16 weeks.

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    • Christmas
    • London
    • Health issues

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