AN OUTBREAK of whooping cough has claimed the life of a baby in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The disease affects mostly infants less than three months old.

So far, 26 babies in Nelson Mandela Bay hospitals have been infected since the beginning of this year.

Provincial health spokesman Lwandile Sicwetsha confirmed that the outbreak response team in the district had noted that 26 cases of the disease had been reported.

“Of these, 13 cases were reported in private healthcare facilities and another 13 were reported at public healthcare facilities.”

Sicwetsha said five cases were reported last year.

“One fatality has been reported this year,” he said.

“The victim is a month-old baby.”

He said the disease showed flu-like symptoms.

“This includes coughing that carries on for more than two weeks and difficulty in breathing.”

He said parents were advised to be on the lookout for symptoms and to immediately take their children to the nearest clinics if they suspected infection.

“The disease is curable if it is detected during the early stages.

“Parents are encouraged to follow the immunisation schedule so that their children do not get the disease.”

People who come into contact with patients diagnosed with the whooping cough are given medicine.

This stops the disease from spreading to other people.