Australia sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases

According to the Vaccine News Daily, Australian sees sharp rise in whooping cough cases. In 2011, Australia has seen about 38,000 cases of  whooping cough, despite a relatively high level of vaccination. As a comparison, California, which has about 15 million more people than Australia (37 million and 22 million people, respectively) had only 3,000 cases of whooping cough in 2011.  Some of the difference may be related to improved diagnostic procedures, but they have also been implemented in California.

Apparently, there is a new genotype of the bacteria, Bordetella pertussis, which  constitutes over 80% of the pertussis infections in Australia. Apparently, this new genotype is capable of evading the immune response created by the vaccine, in effect, evolving to avoid being destroyed by the human host.

To preclude a potential critique from the anti-vaccination gang, whooping cough is a serious disease, so either genotype would have the same risk for kids and adults. Of course, Australia has its anti-vaccine groups, specifically, the Australian Vaccine Network run by the Australian version of Jenny McCarthy–Meryl Dorey. Well Meryl hasn’t posed naked in Playboy, but other than that, not much difference.

Dorey, in response to the report, had this to say:

The vaccine no longer contains the same strain of the bacteria as that which is circulating in the community. In addition, the newer strain of the bacteria seems to be more virulent which is why we’re seeing infants dying of whooping cough, which we haven’t seen for a very long time.

Yes, the new genotype  may be capable of evading the current vaccine, but there is just no evidence that the new genotype is more virulent. Dorey, lacking any historical perspective, or apparently, knowledge of medicine, does not understand that nearly 300,000 people die from whooping cough every year.  And that in the US, an infant under 2 months old who contracts whooping cough has a 1 in 100 chance of dying. A child of 2-12 months, has a 1 in 200 chance of dying.  

So does Meryl Dorey think that children would be better off without the vaccine?  I actually know the answer to that question, she thinks all vaccines should be eliminated. She would rather that our children die of the “nicer” genotype than the mutated one? Oh wait, in her Appeal to Naturalism, obviously the “natural” genotype is better than the one evolved to avoid the immunity.  There is nothing here that would indicate that Australians should stop vaccinating their children against pertussis.  None.  

OK, my Australian friends, how do you put up with Meryl Dorey?  Just don’t send her to the United States; you already gifted us Ken Ham and his Creation Museum.  

 

The Original Skeptical Raptor
Chief Executive Officer at SkepticalRaptor
Lifetime lover of science, especially biomedical research. Spent years in academics, business development, research, and traveling the world shilling for Big Pharma. I love sports, mostly college basketball and football, hockey, and baseball. I enjoy great food and intelligent conversation. And a delicious morning coffee!