Staff whooping cough cases at Forth Valley Royal Hospital

image captionParents of 25 babies who attended Forth Valley Royal Hospital have been contacted

Two members of staff at a hospital in Scotland have confirmed cases of whooping cough.

It comes as the country is experiencing the worst outbreak of the disease since the 1980s.

The staff work in the emergency department at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert. Two others have suspected cases.

NHS Forth Valley said it was also contacting the parents of 25 babies who have attended the hospital recently.

More than 1,000 cases of whooping cough have been reported by GPs from across Scotland since the start of the year.

In a statement the health board said, as a precautionary measure, they had reviewed attendances at the emergency department between 18 August and 7 September to identify any higher risk patients who may require follow up.

Staff are contacting the parents of babies under the age of six months to offer treatment with a short course of antibiotics.

All staff within the emergency department are also being offered treatment as a precautionary measure.

'Extra 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."

He said: "The risk to other patients who attended the emergency department is very low.

"Should anyone have concerns about whooping cough they should contact their GP or NHS 24 for advice."

The whole of the UK is in the midst of an outbreak of the disease, but rates in Scotland and Northern Ireland are even higher than in England and Wales.

Nine babies have died in England, prompting a review of the immunisation campaign.

No fatal cases of the disease have been recorded in Scotland so far this year.

The disease can affect people of all ages, but its symptoms are generally most serious in very young infants.

Health Protection Scotland (HPS) has stressed the importance getting young babies vaccinated against the illness.

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