10 infants dead in California whooping cough outbreak

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Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, has claimed the 10th victim in California, in what health officials are calling the worst outbreak in 60 years.


Since the beginning of the year, 5,978 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of the disease have been reported in California.

All of the deaths occurred in infants under the age of 3 months, says Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health. Nine were younger than 8 weeks old, which means they were too young to have been vaccinated against this highly contagious bacterial disease.

"This is a preventable disease," says Sicilia, because there is a vaccine for whooping cough to protect those coming in contact with infants, and thereby protect the infants.

However, some parents are choosing to not vaccinate their children. In other cases, previously vaccinated children and adults may have lost their immunity because the vaccine has worn off.

Written By: Miriam Falco
continue to source article at cnn.com

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  1. As well as quarantining antivaxers a think doctors need to remind their adult patients of the need to boost. I had no idea I needed a booster shot for pertussis until I was informed while pregnant. I would have happily continued to get the boosters if they were bought up during my well visits. I will be bringing it up from now on

    • In reply to #3 by BigDyTerminator:

      As well as quarantining antivaxers a think doctors need to remind their adult patients of the need to boost. I had no idea I needed a booster shot for pertussis until I was informed while pregnant.

      I asked my doctor a few years ago if I could get the TDAP (was planning on becoming pregnant) and they said they didn’t do that for adults and didn’t know who would – perhaps the health department. I thought that was ridiculous.

      Fortunately, there was a free TDAP vaccination program at TAM last summer, so I got it there. I still want my husband to have one, though, and I think pharmacies offer them now.

  2. From the CDC:
    “Even though children who haven’t received DTaP vaccines are at least 8 times more likely to get pertussis than children who received all 5 recommended doses of DTaP, they are not the driving force behind the large scale outbreaks or epidemics.”

    Then why are there more reported cases???

    “Increased awareness, improved diagnostic tests, better reporting, more circulation of the bacteria, and waning immunity.”

    Let’s not start an anti-vaxxer rant just because it’s convenient. Let’s leave that kind of BS to the religious cults.

  3. A doctor friend and his wife came down with whooping cough recently. Oddly they were puzzled what it was, though it was obvious to my roommate and I who got it last year. Immunity to whooping cough is not lifetime. Not knowing this can dissuade people like me from getting vaccinated. People tend to think of it as a childhood disease. When adults get it, they are not nearly careful enough about spreading it not recognising it. We need to focus on vaccinating seniors along with the newborns.

    • Is he a physician? If so, what a bad example for his patients. Most healthcare professionals I know of must keep up to date on vaccinations as a job requirement. I know it’s a requirement for nurses where I work. Furthermore, even if it wasn’t, we can’t expect the public to take vaccination seriously if healthcare workers don’t.

      In reply to #7 by Roedy:

      A doctor friend and his wife came down with whooping cough recently. Oddly they were puzzled what it was, though it was obvious to my roommate and I who got it last year. Immunity to whooping cough is not lifetime. Not knowing this can dissuade people like me from getting vaccinated. People tend…

  4. ” “This is a preventable disease,” says Sicilia, because there is a vaccine for whooping cough to protect those coming in contact with infants, and thereby protect the infants “

    Which is why I am immunized. How anyone could risk the life of a small child because of some new age woo is beyond me.

    Allow these delusional-oids the ” freedom ” to not immunize themselves but tax them onerously. They would need to carry heavy liability insurance also.

    • In reply to #9 by Peter Grant:

      Compulsory immunisation for all, except those with legitimate medical reasons. We should be satisfied with nothing less.

      Obviously I’m in favour of the entire population being vaccinated, however the term “compulsory” does worry me. I have no suggestions re an alternative method, except for a massive public education initiative. My argument against compulsory vaccination is weak I know, but the term sets up alarm bells in my head.

      • In reply to #12 by Nitya:

        In reply to #9 by Peter Grant:

        Compulsory immunisation for all, except those with legitimate medical reasons. We should be satisfied with nothing less.

        Obviously I’m in favour of the entire population being vaccinated, however the term “compulsory” does worry me.

        As I pointed out in an earlier anti-vax discussion, compulsory immunisation for some wishing to enter the USA – already exists! Other countries have their own requirements.

        IMPORTANT NOTICE TO IMMIGRANT VISA APPLICANTS CONCERNING VACCINATION REQUIREMENTS – http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/info/info-1331.html

        United States immigration law requires immigrant visa applicants to obtain certain vaccinations (listed below) prior to the issuance of an immigrant visa. Panel physicians who conduct medical examinations of immigrant visa applicants are required to verify that immigrant visa applicants have met the vaccination requirements, or that it is medically inappropriate for the visa applicant to receive one or more of the listed vaccinations:

        • Hepatitis A
        • Hepatitis B
        • Influenza
        • Influenza type b (Hib)
        • Measles
        • Meningococcal
        • Mumps
        • Pneumococcal
        • Pertussis
        • Polio
        • Rotavirus
        • Rubella
        • Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids
        • Varicella
      • In reply to #12 by Nitya:

        My argument against compulsory vaccination is weak I know, but the term sets up alarm bells in my head.

        Actually, I think this would establish an important legal president, helping to illuminate the exact nature of epistemic liberties, to politicians, the legislature, as well as the population at large.

  5. just a note this article is from 2010. I approve of the idea of bringing things like this up every so often to remind everyone just how important it is, however this is not a current story. It does mirror what is currently going on in Australia and Wales though.

    • In reply to #11 by TanyaK:

      ’5,978 confirmed, probable and suspected’…? Erm, what exactly is the proportion of actually confirmed cases?

      CDC don’t seem to have the figures easily available. ‘Confirmed’ and ‘probable’ are context-dependent: you can be confirmed if you have symptoms and test positive on swabs or if you have symptoms and are confirmed as a contact of somebody else who has tested postive. When there’s an outbreak, even having just the prolonged cough can upgrade you from ‘suspected’ to ‘probable,’ which adds to the overall count.

  6. As an RN, I can’t harp enough on the subject of vaccination. It’s not just a kid thing. Teens and adults of every age should be aware of the vaccinations they need and when to get them. I think reviewing a person’s vaccination status should be a part of every visit to a clinic, doctor’s office, or hospital, and the patient informed and offered (and urged to get) any needed vaccines on the spot. Regular news items should appear on TV, websites, social networks, etc., reminding teens and adults to get their vaccinations updated. It would be nice if we hadn’t gutted our public health system so that people who don’t have other healthcare access could get vaccines at public health departments, but these departments are shells of their former selves in many areas.

    • In reply to #17 by Sue Blue:

      Exactly, I’m lazy. Although I agree with vaccination in principle, I don’t get vaccinated as often as I should. It would be nice if there was a system in place that forced me to.

        • In reply to #20 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

          Coercion: Last refuge of the inadequate.

          It can work the other way when a job needs to be done including the inadequate.

          As one of my bosses used to say: “Codes and regulations – are for the guidance of sages – and the instruction of idiots”!

  7. In reply to #20 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

    Coercion: Last refuge of the inadequate.

    Agreed, the fact than many people will not get vaccinated voluntarily indicates a much larger and more general systemic inadequacy.

    Give me liberty, or give me death.

    Sure thing, as long as the liberties you take do not result in the deaths of others instead.

    • In reply to #21 by Peter Grant:
      In reply to #22 by Alan4discussion:

      Gentlemen,

      I responded to:

      Although I agree with vaccination in principle, I don’t get vaccinated as often as I should. It would be nice if there was a system in place that forced me to.

      Politicians have many tools at their disposal:

      • Education
      • Advertising
      • Health Services
      • Media

      While the modern editorial idea of balance undermines traditional media’s effectiveness – that also sits within the politicians’ remit of policy and debate.

      All too often, when confronted with a seemingly difficult problem, the politicians’ response is to make a law. In the case of immunisation, and people like Peter, the option does indeed exist that a law to coerce the population at large into action.

      However, we should be careful what we wish for.

      A law that trespasses on your sovereign right to your own existence is a law that puts far more at stake.

      While I appreciate, as Peter appears to suggest, that herd immunity means his inaction, and the inaction of others, can be interpreted as putting self above others to the extent that the inactivity harms others, does that excuse the politicians?

      Alan, it seems to me, has missed the main point. The inadequacy of uptake of jabs is not a failure by the population, it is a failure of politicians. They, presumably, are being fully informed. They have the tools, as above. They have the remit to direct resources. Their job is to ensure that the public debate is focused on the important things. Failing to get near-total immunisation is a political failure, QED.

      Why should I have to give up any freedom, any morsel of my sovereignty, to the politicians – due to their incompetence?

      If, as Peter suggested, the only option to ensure immunisation is now to coerce, then my response is: That is a clear sign that our politicians are failing us. They are inadequates.

      Now, what are we going to do about that?

      By the way Alan, I believe the original quote is from Squadron Leader Douglas Bader:
      “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.”

      I don’t share your jaded view of the great unwashed. Many are simply ignorant, poorly served and oppressed. PRISM is merely that latest tool of said oppression.

      Peace.

      • In reply to #23 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

        Alan, it seems to me, has missed the main point. The inadequacy of uptake of jabs is not a failure by the population, it is a failure of politicians. They, presumably, are being fully informed. They have the tools, as above. They have the remit to direct resources. Their job is to ensure that the public debate is focused on the important things. Failing to get near-total immunisation is a political failure, QED.

        A bit like the failure to get 100% compliance with road safety laws and vehicle testing. There needs to be enforcement. Pretending that everyone will comply because of reason and persuasion, (and if they don’t – blame it on the politicians) – is just a wishful cop-out!

        Why should I have to give up any freedom, any morsel of my sovereignty, to the politicians – due to their incompetence?

        There are plenty of incompetent politicians, but there are even more citizens who will abdicate any responsibilities they can dodge and then blame other people when problems pile up!. Community health, is everyone’s responsibility. People living in communities, do not have absolute “sovereignty”, or freedom. They need to consider others, unless they live in splendid isolation on some remote island!

        By the way Alan, I believe the original quote is from Squadron Leader Douglas Bader: “Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the obedience of fools.”

        Yours is a different quote – He may have been referring to the military blindly following of orders, – but my quote @22

        @22 – “Codes and regulations – are for the guidance of sages – and the instruction of idiots”!

        . . . .. was about the competent management of people in running professional organisations – despite having some uncooperative idiots involved.

        • In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

          Hi Alan,

          A bit like the failure to get 100% compliance with road safety laws and vehicle testing.

          Yes.

          Pretending that everyone will comply because of reason and persuasion, (and if they don’t – blame it on the politicians) – is just a wishful cop-out

          I didn’t pretend everyone would comply.

          The main reason people are not getting immunised is due to the Media. They were persuaded.

          Cop-out from what? I am merely saying that we shouldn’t let politicians off the hook – and we definitely shouldn’t be giving them anything just because they’re incompetent.

          There are plenty of incompetent politicians …

          Interestingly, it’s more difficult to name a competent one, don’t you find?

          … but there are even more citizens who will abdicate any responsibilities they can dodge and then blame other people when problems pile up!

          Yes, and the most obvious way to do that is by voting the incompetents back into power. It will be too much of a tangent from the OP to explore in detail but we have also returned to the subject of persuasion.

          Community health, is everyone’s responsibility.

          No argument here.

          People living in communities, do not have absolute “sovereignty”, or freedom.

          I wasn’t talking in absolutes. I was discussing the principle of sovereignty of the individual, also called Self-Ownership.

          They need to consider others, unless they live in splendid isolation on some remote island!

          I covered this in my Comment 21:

          While I appreciate … that herd immunity means … the inaction of [some] can be interpreted as putting [themselves] above others to the extent that the inactivity harms others, does that excuse the politicians?

          Or are you suggesting a society with some bizarre philosophy of shared ownership of persons?

          Bader’s comment was also about where competence lies in professional organisations – though I suspect he was also being a bit gung-ho. He is remembered in large part for being the kind of military man who doesn’t blindly follow orders, of which there are many.

          Peace.

          • In reply to #25 by Stephen of Wimbledon:

            In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:
            … but there are even more citizens who will abdicate any responsibilities they can dodge and then blame other people when problems pile up!

            Yes, and the most obvious way to do that is by voting the incompetents back into power.

            I was thinking more of letting them into power by not bothering to vote at all, or by badge voting without reading the manifestos, while taking no interest in the candidates’ past records.

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