Babies offered treatment after outbreak of whooping cough at Forth Valley hospital
BABIES who were cared for at a Scottish hospital where four staff are being treated for whooping cough have been offered treatment to combat the illness, it emerged yesterday.
• Two members of A&E staff diagnosed with illness, two more suspected
• Antibiotics offered to babies who came into contact with staff
Two members of staff who work in the Accident and Emergency ward at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert have been confirmed as having the illness, the health board announced.
Two other staff members who work in the same unit are suspected as having contracted whooping cough.
Health bosses have contacted the families of 25 babies who were seen in the A and E warsd between Augsut 18 and Septemver 7th and offered the children a short course of anti-biotics as a precautionary measure.
They described the risk of the babies contracting the illness from the staff as “low” and said they were contacted as they were considered “higher risk patients” given their young age.
There are no plans to contact any other patients who visited the Forth Valley site in recent weeks.
All staff who work on the ward have also been offered anti-biotics which are designed to destory any bacteria which causes the illness to protect them from the illness, also as a precaution.
Dr Henry Prempeh, Consultant in Public Health Medicine at NHS Forth Valley, said: “The chances of contracting the illness from a member of staff is relatively low.
“However we are offering patients who are at higher risk from the infection follow up treatment as an extra precaution. “The risk to other patients who attended the Emergency Department is very low.”
Whooping cough is usually a relatively mild illness which does not normally pose a serious health risk. More than 1000 cases of whooping cough have been reported by GPs from across Scotland since the start of the year.
The incubation period for Whooping Cough, when an individual may not yet have any symptoms but could be infectious to others, is up to 21 days.
Early symptoms of whooping cough are often similar to those of a common cold and include runny or blocked nose, sneezing, sore throat and watering eyes.
These symptoms can last up to ten days and are usually followed by intense bouts of coughing, often characterised with a ‘whoop’ sound which is made after each sharp intake of breath after coughing.
In adults and older children, whooping cough does not normally pose a serious health problem as the symptoms are similar to a cold or mild respiratory infection.
Forth Valley said the condition can pose a more serious risk to very young children, especially babies under the age of six months who may not yet be fully immunised against the infection.
Babies are normally given three separate vaccinations carried out at two, three and four months of age. Forth Valley said it would could continue to monitor the situation.
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