WHOOPING cough is on the rise.

According to the Health Protection Agency there has been a tenfold increase in the number of cases so far this year compared with the same period in 2010.

The disease has already affected nearly 1,800 adults and children this year, almost double the number in the whole of 2008.

Explanations for the rise include greater detection by doctors – who have been warned to look out for the disease – and waning immunity because the effects of the vaccine reduce in time.

“Cases do increase every three to four years and this is the case the world over – it seems to be a characteristic of the disease,” said Dr Gayatri Amirthalingam from the Health Protection Agency.

“Our last major outbreak was in 2008 so we were due another one.”

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