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Whooping Cough

Volume 928: debated on Friday 18 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) if he will give the estimate of the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vaccination of the approximate number of cases of whooping cough, from which one case of brain damage is likely to arise and if he will publish the evidence for the estimate;(2) if pursuant to his statement in the House of 8th February, he will state whether the four cases of brain damage which the Joint Committee on Immunisation and Vacccination estimates arise each year from whooping cough, are cases of temporary or permanent brain damage.

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 25th February 1977; Vol. 926, c. 727–8], gave the following information:In my reply to my hon. Friend's Question about the number of cases of encephalopathy which have arisen from whooping cough since 1960 on 17th January, I said that the number arising from whooping cough since 1964 up to 1975 was not known but had been estimated as about 50.In my reply to my hon. Friend's further Question on 3rd March I said that this estimate was based on a Public Health Laboratory Service study in the winter of 1974–75 which reported two cases of encephalitis among 8,000 cases of whooping cough. This study is by Miller and Fletcher and a report on it was published in the

British Medical Journal on 17th January 1976. The publication reports on the nine deaths in the 10 per cent. of patients admitted to hospital, on the 45 who were considered to be critically ill, including 27 who needed intensive care, and on the patients judged to be severely ill and to have associated complications. Of the latter, two children developed encephalitis and the report states that both were unvaccinated, recovered—apparently without sequelae.—[Vol. 924 c. 151–2; Vol. 927, c. 305–6.]