Broward Whooping Cough Cases Shouldn't Surprise Anyone

Categories: Health
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The Broward County Health Department on Friday afternoon announced that it has confirmed four cases of pertussis, three among school-aged children and one case in an adult. More  commonly known as whooping cough, pertussis is a "highly contagious respiratory disease" that can cause "permanent disability in infants and even death."

While all of that sounds very grim, there's a safe and effective vaccine available. Despite this proven precaution, cases of whooping cough in Florida have soared in recent years, and it looks like we're poised to top last year's 312 cases.  

Data from the Florida Department of Epidemiology show that there have been 103 cases of the disease reported through April 7, and that doesn't include the four new Broward cases. 

At the same point in 2011, there were only 84 cases reported. 

And even more worrisome is that the average number of cases for the past five years reported through April 7 is 73.4. So in case arithmetic isn't your strong suit, we're already 30 cases ahead of the five-year trend.

It gets worse, though. In 2000, there were only 48 cases of whooping cough in all of Florida. Less than a decade later, in 2009, there were 497 cases. 

The surge is nationwide too, with states like Washington and California among the hardest-hit. 

So why the uptick in the past decade? There's no one answer. 

Part of the problem is the antivaccine folks. As documented by our sister paper the Seattle Weekly, some so-called vaccine "refusers" have explored the terrible idea of "pertussis parties" as a way of helping their kids develop natural immunity against the infection. So vaccines aren't safe, yet it's totally fine to throw your kid in a room with a bunch of other little sick brats and hope they all sneeze on one another -- au naturale.

Unvaccinated folks certainly diminish herd immunity and increase the risk. However, a study released earlier this month found that the effectiveness of the vaccine fluctuates among age groups. Like a lot of vaccines, the one for pertussis needs boosters, and the new study suggests that changes might be needed to the schedule of when kids get their boosters. 

In announcing the four cases, Broward health officials made sure to warn that "with pertussis circulating in the community, there is a chance that a fully vaccinated person, of any age, can become infected."

The department also noted that the rise in cases down here is consistent with a rise in cases across the country, including in North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Montana, and Washington. 

For those worried, it's probably best to check with your doctor to make sure you and your kids are up to date on boosters.

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6 comments
Dfa
Dfa

Rita - I'm not sure if you understand how the Internet works, but the blue text where it says Seattle Weekly is a link to an in-depth feature on the issue that greatly elaborates "who is doing such a thing."

Rita
Rita

My son was injured by a DTaP vaccine as a 3 year old. He lives the rest of his life with a severe brain injury, needing care for the rest of his life. With that being said, I have been a prominent member of the vaccine safety population for many, many years, and have never hear of this before. The article mentioned that antivax people "explored" the idea. I think most of my vaccine safety advocate friends, if not all of them would not do this, not at all. I think the article is misleading, and should elaborate more on who is doing such a thing. As a vaccine safety advocate, I have to say...I find this to be ridiculous, and any one attempting such should be condemned. The population of children currently affected by the Pertussis infection are mostly vaccinated, per CDC reports. Showing that the culprit is most likely the ineffectivness of the vaccine.

Shawn_Siegel
Shawn_Siegel

Pertussis parties? Are you kidding? You're the first person I've ever seen mention such a preposterous notion, Mr. Sweeney - and just so's ya know, it's a bad idea. There are parents who will purposely expose their kids to measles, mumps and chicken pox, but they have good reasons: they're not afraid of the diseases, because there's no reason to be; and they know they're potentially more harmful if contracted during adolescence or adulthood.

Typically, those parents are also aware of the history of SIDS and bulging fontanelle associated with infants administered the DTaP vaccine, as well as the literally thousands of reported cases of brain damage, anaphylactic shock, epilepsy, autism and death, among others. You're not helping by failing to mention the serious nature of vaccine damage in your article. From many perspectives, vaccines are experimental, and as such should fall under the aegis of the Nuremberg Code, which demands full disclosure of all available negative vaccine information. As Dr. John Robbins, an FDA official, once said, in full acknowledgment of the type of injuries vaccines leave in their wake: once having been told by a doctor that the vaccine she was considering could leave her child brain damaged, a responsible parent would have to refuse the shot.

Guest
Guest

Since 81% of the kids who get pertussis are fully vaccinated, and another 11% are partially vaccinated, that leaves only 8% who are unvaccinated.  Statistically, children who receive vaccines containing attenuated viruses, actually spread the virus for up to 21 days.  These kids are then free to infect other children and grandparents, while the Bill Gates and others, who are heavy investors in vaccines, make billions more through sham articles like yours. Vaccinated kids should be guaranteed, instead of being allowed to spread diseases for 21 days, according to the CDC. Pertussis is increasing, because vaccines are typically only 31% effective at the end of three years, and only 16% effective at the end of five years, and because of this, you will soon have the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics announcing that EVERYONE, including adults, needs to be vaccinated EVERY THREE to FIVE YEARS, and the government will be turning over billions to the vaccine industry to vaccinate (by forced mandate) every US Citizen.

Wise up!  Vaccines are a product, and Pediatricians sell this product.  The HPV vaccine costs 67 cents to make, and sells for $108.00 per shot. 

TO prove my point, MERCK left a smoking gun.  Look for the EXCLUSION LIST in a clinical trial called MOTHER-DAUGHTER INITIATIVE on CLINICALTRIALS.GOV.  Every girl I have interviewed, who has had an adverse reaction to the Gardasil HPV vaccine, fits the EXCLUSION CRITERIA.  MERCK knows that Gardasil can be deadly, but doesn't protect American Children, because they can't be sued in the U.S.

Dwhawk21
Dwhawk21

So the vaccine doesn't work according to this article. vaccinated children can get whooping cough as well as the unvaccinated " brats" as you call them.

Kit
Kit

The Seattle Weekly article mentioned above includes one mother "musing" about pertussis parties. I have never seen or heard of anyone actively organizing them. Furthermore, the rate of public vaccination appears to be unrelated to recent strains of whooping cough, according to this New York Times article (see http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/....

And this news article from North Carolina says that not a single case there is in an unvaccinated individual (http://www.thetimesnews.com/ne...

This implies that the vaccine is largely ineffective.

It also implies that a public policy of vaccinating everyone could lead to a sense of false security among the vaccinated, which could aggravate the spread of the disease. 

For these reasons, a policy of encouraging the vaccination of everyone with periodic boosters is very questionable, and could even be part of the problem.

It would be a much better public health practice to educate the public about keeping coughs away from babies and their caregivers, and educating caregivers to avoid crowded and/or close social contact when babies are less than six months old. In fact, semi-isolation is normal for small infants and their mothers in traditional cultures, because it's long been considered a good health practice.

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