These two articles will showcase the difference of opinion on the whooping cough epidemic and who is really to blame. After reading them, what would you like to add or research further?
The Whooping cough Epidemic: Blame the Anti Vaccination Community
By Steven Salzberg
California is suffering the worst epidemic of pertussis, or whooping cough, in 60 years, with over 5,200 cases already, the most since 1950. Nine babies have died, all of them too young to receive the vaccine. Michigan is also reporting a serious outbreak, with over 600 cases so far this year. The deaths of the infants in California are tragic, and what’s more tragic is that some of them almost certainly could have been prevented if more people had been vaccinated.
The pertussis vaccine, called DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis) has been responsible for a dramatic drop in whooping cough in recent decades. It isn’t 100% effective, but its effectiveness relies in part on “herd immunity”: if enough people are immune to the bacteria, then even if someone gets sick, the disease cannot easily spread through the community. This is especially true for very young infants, who are too young to be vaccinated and whose immune systems are not yet strong enough to defeat the bacteria on their own.
It’s not a coincidence that California is the center of the new pertussis epidemic. Vaccination rates among adults in California have been dropping in recent years, large due to the influence of anti-vaccination zealots such as Jenny McCarthy and groups such as Age of Autism. Anti-vaccination sentiments seem to strike a chord with relatively well-educated segments of the population – the same people who favor organic food and want to use “natural” products as much as possible. Anti-vaxers appeal to this group by arguing that vaccines are unnatural, and that the body’s own immune system can be “boosted” by various natural treatments. Appealing though this may sound, it has no basis in science. California makes it easy for parents to claim exemptions from the required vaccinations for their children, and exemptions have more than doubled since 1997, according to the L.A. Times.
Among the Anti’s not helping the current pertussis outbreak is “Dr. Bob” Sears, a kindler, gentler Anti who claims (like many of them) to be in favor of vaccines, but only under his own, unscientific terms. He stated flatly in the Huffington Post (a hotbed of medical misinformation) recently that pregnant women should not get the DTaP vaccine. But as Dr. Paul Offit tells us in a tragic story, refusing the vaccine can lead directly to the death of an infant. Dr. Bob’s advice is seriously flawed. (While there is a lack of data, the CDC states explicitly that pregnancy is not a contraindication.) I should add that Sears has written two books on vaccines and autism, promoting his misguided “alternative” vaccine schedule (see this article in Pediatrics about that) and his rather naive theories about the rise in autism diagnoses.
Everyone should have his or her children vaccinated. On top of that, in order to maintain herd immunity, most of us should get the pertussis booster shot if we haven’t had one in the last ten years. That’s what vaccine expert Paul Offit recommends, and I’m planning to follow his advice myself. It won’t take long, and it might save a life.
Vaccine Refusing Parents falsely blamed for Whooping cough epidemic
Written By Heather Callaghan
Reporters are having a field day with headlines, outright blaming parents who sign vaccine exemptions for the spread of pertussis, also known as whooping cough. It’s not even posed as a question anymore:
- Anti-vaccine parents caused California’s lethal whooping cough epidemic
- What caused a whooping cough epidemic? Scientists blame parents
- Whooping Cough Outbreaks Tied to Parents Shunning Vaccines
- Vaccine Refusals Fueled California’s Whooping Cough Epidemic
However, there is much much more they are not telling you…
They can’t explain why whooping cough is back with a vengeance despite the most vaccinated populace ever known, why the DTaP-vaccinated are getting sick with it, or why “herd immunity” is falling apart. Forget it, let’s place all the blame on the few people who refuse vaccines – and call them baby killers.
The study in the journal Pediatriacs is quoted as having “confirmed” that it is parents who take vaccine exemptions as the Typhoid Marys of California. It actually concluded:
Our data suggest clustering of NMEs [non-medical exemptions] may have been 1 of several factors in the 2010 California pertussis resurgence.
The researchers are taking data from geographical clusters of outbreaks in California neighborhoods where more people filed personal belief exemptions. Basically, people in those areas with more exemptions were 2.5 times more likely to live in areas with whooping cough outbreaks. They did not follow up on those exemptions to see if the parents later had themselves or their children vaccinated, and they did not see if the people who contracted it were actually vaccinated individuals. They simply used geographic clusters and drew a conclusion based on 39 clusters of high vaccine exemptions and 2 clusters of pertussis in 2010. The media took it further and wider in scope saying the unvaccinated are definitely a major factor – which differs significantly from a headline of outright blame. What a stretch!
The other factors in the study, briefly mentioned towards the end of some of the articles, were; “the cyclical nature of pertussis, improved diagnosis, and waning immunity.” The major factor, brushed under the rug involves vaccination itself and newer vaccines, as you will see. Some of the reports even claimed that it was so crucial to get vaccinated because little babies can’t get the vaccines and are especially vulnerable. Actually, they do get the DTaP – it is recommended they get 5 doses by the age of six starting at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months….
California saw a spike in 2010 with 9 deaths and over 9,000 sickened – one of the worst in 60 years. What no one wants to emphasize is that whooping cough was on a steady decline in multiple countries, continuing to drop almost out of existence until the vaccine was in heavy use. Pertussis was almost wiped completely off the U.S. map in the ’70s. Vaccines did not save us from disease.
Then, the ’90s brought new acellular vaccines, because the older more toxic whole cell ones left people brain damaged and got vaccine makers sued before they scurried out of the market. Those faulty vaccines are creating great debate as cases of whooping cough are going up. So it’s readily admitted by scientists that the new vaccines are creating rebound pertussis.
This study really tried to project blame on people who don’t vaccinate by magically making it appear that way with unfounded comparisons. Yet, more often than not, pertussis happens to those who are fully vaccinated. This graph is just one example of pertussis rates climbing with vaccination rates:
If statistics are what people want, then here are some alarming ones about the DTaP vaccine from Dr. James Howenstine (2003):
In 1975 Germany stopped requiring pertussis (whooping cough) vaccination. Today less than 10 % of German children are vaccinated against pertussis. The number of cases of pertussis has steadily decreased even though far fewer children are receiving pertussis vaccine.
In 1986 there were 1300 cases of pertussis in Kansas and 90 % of these cases occurred in children who had been adequately vaccinated. Similar vaccine failures have been reported from Nova Scotia where pertussis continues to be occurring despite universal vaccination. Pertussis remains endemic in the Netherlands where for more than 20 years 96 % of children have received 3 pertussis shots by age 12 months. (source)
While pertussis is certainly a concern and on the rise, each year, the push for vaccination is bigger using low-blow emotional tactics. Yet, the number of deaths from last year (18) is less than half of those reported in 2005 (39). So how can it be that the 2% of the California population who were only recorded as filing exemptions in 2010 be responsible for an epidemic that has been on the rise for the last 10-15 years after a new vaccine was introduced?
To view the entire article please visit: http://www.activistpost.com/2013/10/vaccine-refusing-parents-falsely-blamed.html