Annual cases of whooping cough almost trebles in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland has seen a significant increase this year in cases of whooping cough.
The Public Health Agency (PHA) recorded 44 cases to June 19, compared to 16 reported during the same period last year.
Just over a fifth were in infants under six months of age and so too young to be protected by their routine childhood immunisations.
The disease, named due to the presence of severe bouts of coughing accompanied by a 'whoop' sound, can potentially be fatal to young babies.
The PHA urged pregnant women here to receive the vaccine between 16 and 32 weeks of their pregnancy.
A spokesman said: "Whooping cough continues to circulate in Northern Ireland and every three to four years it is normal to see increased activity, which is what we are experiencing this year.
"It is therefore really important that women receive the pertussis vaccine during every pregnancy so that their baby is protected against whooping cough in their first months of life."