The South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting about a whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in South Florida area. There have been other outbreaks reported in Wisconsin, Washington state, Illinois, British Columbia, England, and Australia. This upsurge in whooping cough cases can mostly be blamed on falling vaccination rates and the lack of booster vaccinations in adults. Importantly, whooping cough can be prevented, with almost no risk, with a DaTP vaccine.
Though the number of actual cases in south Florida is still relatively low, it is a large increase over last year. There is a larger outbreak in the Tampa area, which is also far ahead of last year’s levels. A two-month old infant died of the infection in Palm Beach County. Two month olds are too young to be vaccinated, so the baby probably picked it up from someone who was not vaccinated (or an adult whose immunity had lapsed). Thus, it is critical that siblings and adults get vaccinated so they don’t pass the disease to babies who lack immunity to pertussis.
Furthermore, unvaccinated children who are in pediatrician’s offices to be treated for whooping cough, which is highly contagious, can pass the infection to other unvaccinated infants (those who are too young to be vaccinated) in that same office. So whenever you hear the anti-vaccination lunatics rant about how their choices do no harm, they are outright liars.
Unvaccinated babies are up to 10X more likely to contract whooping cough. And about half of those babies must be hospitalized. And the prognosis for those hospitalized can be serious, including death. In adults, it also can be dangerous. There are many reports of adults whose coughing is so violent that it breaks ribs.
Once again, vaccines save lives.
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