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Leaflet on whooping cough, United Kingdom, 1927-1969

Whooping cough is named after the sound of the cough this disease produces. The highly contagious disease can be fatal in babies under six months old. Spread by infected droplets from the coughs, early isolation of children with whooping cough is recommended. An attack gives a person life-long immunity. The leaflet informs about the symptoms of whooping cough and how to get help. Immunisation against whooping cough was introduced in the United Kingdom in the 1950s. Vaccines are given at two, three and four months old and before children start school. As part of the administration of the so-called triple vaccine (also including diphtheria and tetanus), this regime caused alarm when reports of brain damage emerged in the 1970s.

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Glossary: leaflet

Use for small printed works consisting of one sheet folded and not stitched or bound. For larger printed works, but generally of fewer than 80 pages, often with paper covers, use "pamphlets."

Glossary: tetanus

An acute infectious disease, affecting the nervous system. Infection generally occurs through contamination of a wound. Symptoms include a locked jaw, arching of the back or neck and the inability to urinate.

Glossary: whooping cough

An acute highly infectious disease, primarily affecting infants. Whooping cough gets its name from the severe hacking cough followed by intake of breath that sounds like a ‘whoop’. A highly effective vaccine was introduced in the 1940s.

Glossary: diphtheria

An acute highly contagious infection, generally affecting the throat but occasionally other mucous membranes and the skin. Diphtheria has been largely eradicated due to world-wide vaccination efforts.