Persistent Pertussis

Sep 20, 2014

By Jyoti Madhusoodanan


Amid new teachers and first homework assignments, the start of the school year often brings sniffles, coughs, and other signs of infectious diseases. In some parts of the U.S., going back to school can also mean a greater risk of students coming down with vaccine-preventable illnesses. In California, for example, the parents of approximately 3 percent of children opted out of having their kids vaccinated on the basis of their personal beliefs this year, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. This state-wide opt-out rate has nearly doubled in recent years, KQED’s State of Health blog reported this month (September 11).

The proportion of unvaccinated children in California schools varies by county, with some reporting opt-out rates as high as 7.5 percent. As these numbers increase, herd immunity—a population’s ability to prevent disease transmission because the majority of people are inoculated—begins to collapse, raising the risk of preventable infections such as measles and pertussis, also known as whooping cough.

In its most recent tally of California’s continuing whooping cough epidemic, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported nearly 8,000 cases of pertussis in the state this year; 267 of those cases were severe enough to require hospitalization.

And it’s not just California that’s seen a recent surge in pertussis: several Washington, DC-area schools reported more than a dozen cases just last week. Minnesota has reported 708 cases already this year. Nationwide, there have been more than 17,000 reported cases of whooping cough since the start of 2014, according to the CDC.

While treatable with antibiotics, pertussis can be serious. The protracted fits of deep, violent coughing caused by this pathogenic bacteria leave infected adults breathless for weeks; in infants, the paroxysms can lead to cracked ribs, collapsed lungs, and even death.

10 comments on “Persistent Pertussis

  • I think parents who rely on herd immunity to protect their children from disease are some of the most selfish, anti-social people in the world. They’re barbarians who take advantage of society.
    Religious leaders who advocate not immunizing children should be arrested for crimes against humanity.

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  • Exactly. These selfish, ignorant parents not only risk the health of their own children – they risk the health of everyone else’s children as well. Who gave them the right to do that? I think the laws should be changed to allow exemptions only for those children with documented medical reasons why they can’t receive certain vaccinations. Exemptions for “beliefs” don’t cut it. You might as well not require vaccination at all.

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  • I think the laws should be changed

    In Australia, the debate has started. It looks like if you don’t get you child vaccinated, you are not allowed in schools or day cares. Society has had enough of @#$%^

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  • The problem many don’t see is that there are those in our society that cannot get immunised due to being immune compromised, people with AIDS, undergoing Chemotherapy, organs associated with immune system not working, children too young to be immunised etc. This is one of the clearest examples where sudo-science and sometimes religious beliefs cause real and significant harm to others. How guilty would you feel you found out you were the cause of an innocent baby (or anyone else) suffering from hooping cough or dying, yet in every case someone who was not immunised is in fact responsible. Peer pressure can be a destructive thing but in cases like this it needs to be engaged in.

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  • Failing to get your kids vaccinated is a type of child abuse. Just like they take children away from Christian Scientists who endanger them, these children should be removed from these families or maybe they can be returned once the children have been vaccinated.

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  • Injecting the known neurotoxin aluminium directly into your infant’s blood stream is the real child abuse. We normally are exposed to aluminium silicate by ingestion within our food and which does not get across the Blood brain barrier as does the aluminium salts directly injected into your baby’s blood and muscles. Injecting whole undigested proteins into a child’s blood stream is also child abuse, since the left over fragments undestroyed from the muted immune response provoked from the weakened attenuated virus of the vaccine, get absorbed into the body cells preventing the T- cells from accessing them so the T-Cells then attack the whole cell, leading to auto-immune diseases like Multiple sclerosis, asthma, arthritis and even cancer. It seems to me that the real child abuse is to recklessly risk your child’s exposure to some form of permanent long term damage which often does not manifest itself immediately, just to please a majority which seems to not care enough about their child’s welfare to do some serious research into the risks. Very few parents even bother to ask for and read the vaccine information about the ingredients or contra-indications BEFORE having a form of poison injected into their kid’s muscles, which is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with your child’s brain and immune system health.

    Here is an eye-opening and scary quote form Dr Susan Humphries :-
    ” injecting aluminium into an infant is like dropping a cluster bomb into the baby’s immune system and should be considered a criminal act”.

    The vaccine industry should address the legitimate concerns of parents about these issues, and allowing them to sweep them under the table is the real child abuse which is possibly doing much more hidden long term harm to children than their ever getting measles or mumps or the flu will do.

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  • Leith,

    I wondered who Susan Humpheries was having read your comments, and what makes her an authority on immunisation. 5 minutes latter it appears she is a MD and a nephrologist (kidney doctor). She also has spend 4 years studying homeopathy’s and has been advocating its use in blogs and articles in spite of it consistently failing to show any benefit beyond placebo in spite of much time and money spent on it. This makes me suspect she is an attention seeking quack. She has in spite of any evidence it would seem (other than anecdotal), been shooting her mouth off about this and like Andrew Wakefield using their qualifications instead of evidence to convince others. As Measles can lead to death and vaccinations have been well understood and tested for a very long time I think such claims should be backed up with peer reviewed evidence not shouted out by quacks.

    This is not to say she is wrong, or a quack. She may be neither but can she point to any actual peer reviewed data? I am not even as qualified she is (she is by the way apparently not qualified in any way in immunology) to comment so in absence of direct knowledge myself I need to rely on immunologists (people who are qualified and who’s opinions are backed by evidence). If I had a brain tumour I would not ask a proctologist to remove it for me likewise I’m not going to ask a brain surgeon to deal with anything wrong with my bum. Again maybe she is right, but if she is shooting her mouth off it needs to be based on the best of evidence, not her gut feeling or intuition. It took me all of five minutes to dig up the references to her actual articles on google. If you are going to base your behaviours on the scariest thing that is said to you what won’t you do or believe?

    Can I suggest you look at this very good documentary which does deal with both sides and points of view on the issue Jabbed

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  • Can I suggest you look at this very good documentary which does deal with both sides and points of view on the issue Jabbed

    Another one that I highly recommend is The Vaccine Wars. Very scientific evidence based documentary with no Cable TV “Amazing” revelations. Just good science. For example, the medical records of the entire Danish population have been recorded for nearly fifty years, post WW2. An amazing data set over a very long period of time. Zero correlation between immunization and any of the recorded adverse effects. I’ll repeat that word “Zero”.

    This is the link and the video runs for me in Australia.

    POST EDIT. I should have read Leith’s comments before I posted. He’s not going to watch the documentaries identified.

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  • Child abuse. Failure to avail your children of the most effective public health measure (short of basic sanitation I suppose) in human history because of your adherence to junk science inspired by a particularly vapid b-movie actress who made an appearance on a terrible daytime TV show several years ago is child abuse. Plain and simple.

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  • There is clearly no evidence to support what you have written here. Vaccinations are not released to the public without being proven in terms of efficacy and safety. I feel bad that you are so easily swayed to believe in a conspiracy theory, rather than trust the thousands of researchers who consistently devote their lives to bring these medications to us after careful and comprehensive analysis.

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