Whooping cough rising among unvaccinated babies

Via Slashdot:

In its fortnightly Communicable Disease newsletter (PDF), Oregon Public Health officials note increasing cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in infants, with 146 hospitalizations noted in the 2 year period ending March 2011, and at least 4 deaths since 2003. Most cases are attributed to lack of vaccination, with 86% of those due to parents declining the vaccine. ‘Most of our cases are occurring in under- or unvaccinated children, so getting these kids vaccinated seems to the most obvious approach to reducing illness. In principle… pertussis could be eradicated; but we have a long way to go.

Ignorance kills.


  1. Aliasalpha says

    Look on the bright side, all those kids won’t get autism!

    Sure its because they’re likely to die before manifesting symptoms but thats basically irrelevant…

  2. tubi says

    I took my 4 year old to the pediatrician earlier this week because of a persistent cough. Fortunately she just has a bad cold and will be fine, but I just wanted to be sure. Her doc and I have had conversations in the past about vaccination, and he mentioned to me that he’s seen more cases of pertussis in the last two years than he had in his previous 26 years of practice. He gets worked up talking about this problem, as do I, so we had to just move on, but I thought that was an alarming, albeit anecdotal, observation.

    • lordshipmayhem says

      That anecdotal observation is backed up by good solid numbers arising from the Centers for Disease Control. Where the population includes a significant number of non-immunes (where the vaccination threshold is below the level required for herd immunity) we ARE seeing increases in pertussis and in other vaccine-preventable diseases.

      Thank you, Andrew Wakefield. Thank you Jenny McCarthy. You both have the blood of innocents on your hands.

  3. Blueaussi says

    You know how the ignorant and cruel are passing laws that force a woman to watch an ultrasound of a fetus before an abortion? I think a more useful law would be to force a parent who refuses vaccinations for their child to watch a video of a toddler struggling to breath, one making that horrible whooping gasp between coughs.

    Any parent who can do that and still refuse a vaccination that will protect their child should probably be listed as a potential abuser.

    • Makoto says

      I would fully be in favor of such a law. The parent is actively avoiding responsibility to not only their child, but the population as a whole by not vaccinating their kid.

      I’d write that suggestion to my congressfolks, but they like those ultrasound laws, because they hope to shame women out of an abortion (like that would make them a better parent, or even provide money for prenatal care required as a result of a successful shaming, should such an event occur).

      On a positive note, I’m happy to note that my brother and sister in law require anyone visiting my almost 1 year old niece to be up on their own vaccinations. No discussions, no pleading, they want their daughter to be as safe as possible until she can get her own shots.

  4. Dalillama says

    To be perfectly honest, I am increasingly in favor of criminal prosecution of parents who fail to vaccinate their children, barring legitimate medical contraindications. This would include the current standard childhood vaccinations at an absolute minimum. Of course, this would have to be accompanied by financial assistance to some parents to ensure that they are able to get the vaccinations in question (or, you know, universal healthcare…), but that’s totally feasible.

    • says

      Me too. And there’s a pretty heavy book to throw at them: An unvaccinated child counts as a biological weapon, for the purposes of the Geneva Convention.

      It’s not even as though you have to pay for the common childhood jabs anyway — they’re all free on the NHS.

      • says

        I can’t guarantee that all states provide them for free, but I believe in most states you can go to the department of health and get your kids vaccinated if you can’t afford it. You might not be able to get adult vaccinations, but if your kids are school-age, they can get free shots to be able to attend school.

        If there’s a state where this is *not* true, I’d like to know so I can start writing letters to their department of health…

  5. Sophia Dodds says

    ARGH. My little one’s just turned a month old and it’s another month before he can have his whooping cough jabs. I’m too scared to even take him out shopping with me and into the potentially virus-ridden general populace.
    I have a severe phobia of needles. SEVERE. Someone enters the room with a hypodermic and I’ll be in the corner sobbing uncontrollably and shaking like a leaf even if it’s intended for -someone else-. The midwives at the hospital I gave birth at arranged for me to have the two immunisations I needed simultaneously and so I couldn’t see them. It was still utterly terrifying, but if I can bite the bullet (as can my entire close family and everyone that wanted to hold my son for more than a minute) then dammit, anyone should.

  6. gwen says

    We had at least 8 deaths last year. I taken care of kids/infants with pertussis. It is no fun..and sometimes they died..

  7. Otrame says

    The 3 week old son of a friend of mine caught it. He spent the next three months in the hospital He very nearly died three different times. The docs say there was some brain damage but he was so young that his brain was able to rewrite and he is a perfectly normal 5 year old now, though his lungs are scarred and he will be susceptible to pneumonia and far more likely to die from pneumonia for the rest of his life.

    Vaccination is a public health issue. Unless there is a medical contra-indication they should be mandatory.

  8. coragyps says

    ” I think a more useful law would be to force a parent who refuses vaccinations for their child to watch a video of a toddler struggling to breath, one making that horrible whooping gasp between coughs.”

    I’m going to write a letter to my state representative suggesting that. It won’t do any damn good, but it might just be a start…..

  9. Robert B. says

    No shit, really?

    What’s next? “pH rising among un-neutralized alkalis?” “Kinetic energy rising among unsupported heavy objects”?

  10. says

    there’s been some ‘admissions’ that vaccines don’t do anything at all for kids under ~1year, if true, then the only place a child can really get their protection is in breast milk. about vaccinating at all… there are LOTS of good reasons to not inject things into your arms, but for at least one disease, there’s proof that injected vaccine works best for adults, but oral works best for children.

    with oral, or transdermal vaccines, that would remove nearly all the problems, and objections, related to injecting them, if they can be made to work that way. i see a problem that many parents won’t be told that there’s a more effective, much less risky oral vaccine available, doctors fail miserably, constantly, to give informed consent or propose less risky options. knowing they fail at that so badly… that’d make anyone trust the average doctor as far as a barbie doll could throw a buick.

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