A warning has been issued after fears that cases of a life-threatening disease could reach a 40-year high in Norfolk. 

There has been a rapid uptick in whooping cough cases in recent months with experts concerned the trend could continue.

Dubbed the "100-day cough", there were 553 confirmed cases in England in January alone, compared with 858 cases for the whole of 2023.

READ MORE: 'I thought I might lose him' - Thetford mother shares baby son's terrifying ordeal

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia told the BBC: "I don't think we know all the reasons for the rise, I think it's probably because of a combination of things.

"Vaccination rates fell during the COVID pandemic.

"In most people it's unpleasant but in young children and babies under three it can be very severe with a relatively high risk of death and brain damage.

"The age most at risk is too early to be vaccinated and therefore it is important to vaccinate pregnant women."

The bacterial infection of the lungs spreads very easily and is marked by a severe hacking cough followed by a high-pitched intake that makes a "whoop" sound.