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In Calif. Study, Most Kids With Whooping Cough Were Fully Vaccinated 293

Posted by timothy
from the conventional-wisdom-isn't-always dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this extract from a Reuters article: "In early 2010, a spike in cases appeared at Kaiser Permanente in San Rafael, and it was soon determined to be an outbreak of whooping cough — the largest seen in California in more than 50 years. Witt had expected to see the illnesses center around unvaccinated kids, knowing they are more vulnerable to the disease. 'We started dissecting the data. What was very surprising was the majority of cases were in fully vaccinated children. That's what started catching our attention,' said Witt."
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In Calif. Study, Most Kids With Whooping Cough Were Fully Vaccinated

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  • by Yobgod Ababua (68687) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @11:29AM (#39734361)

    This actually makes perfect sense. Consider the following:

    1. Most children -are- vaccinated.
    2. Vaccinations do not really make you "immune" to catching a disease, they train your body to more efficiently fight it off.

    So, what happens is that the small percentage on unvaccinated children are bringing Whooping Cough back into contact with the rest of us, and those vaccinated children who perhaps don't have their immune system running at full capacity (tired, stress, fighting other illnesses, etc) catch it. Since there are statistically so many more of the latter available, it makes perfect sense that there are more cases in vaccinated children than unvaccinated.

    A more interesting statistic would be if every outbreak could be traced back to an unvaccinated "patient zero". I strongly suspect this is the case.

  • by Giftmacher (2621375) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @11:35AM (#39734453)
    Exactly, what the study is highlighting is that the vaccine's efficacy may wane slightly earlier than expected which means the booster at 12 years of age is a bit too late to provide continuous protection. At worst the study is pointing to the need for additional/rescheduled vaccinations, not that the vaccine is ineffective. Moreover the article notes: "Ward, who did not participate in the new study, also said that immunized kids who catch whooping cough don't get as sick as unimmunized kids." If anyone has ever seen whooping cough in action you'll know how important reducing the symptoms is...
  • Re:Here we go (Score:1, Interesting)

    by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @11:47AM (#39734609)
    I talked do a doctor about this yesterday. He said that chicken pox is worse in adults mainly because adults complain more than 3 year olds. In his career he's never seen an adult chicken pox case that had complications. He wouldn't even give out the vaccine if it wasn't required by law.

    I was having that conversation because my wife and I were just exposed to a child who came down with chicken pox even after being vaccinated. I've never had it and my wife had a bad case as a child but now tests negative for the antibodies.
  • Re:Here we go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 19, 2012 @11:55AM (#39734719)
    Right. Now let's work on improving the adjuvants used. For example during the swine flu scare a few years ago, Germany used a quality adjuvant that could not cause guillain-barre syndrome. In the US we used a worse adjuvant that caused various incidents of guillain-barre syndrome, narcolepsy, and death? Why? So the pharma companies could save a few cents per vaccine?
  • by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Thursday April 19, 2012 @12:04PM (#39734803) Homepage Journal

    If your local health authority depends from a democratically elected body and is monitored by an independent body, then yeah, common sense indicates that I should trust their judgements in general terms.

    This is not to say you should not be vigilant, but in general terms if you are not vigilant you are still likely to be OK (the decrease of infant mortality, longer life spans and better conditions of life later in life are proof that such optimism is not misplaced).

    In other places you may have no choice: health service would be so precarious that it would not be a major concern, or you would be forcibly vaccinated to protect the fatherland.

    So at the end, yeah, you as an individual have limited choice, because whatever the quality of your society you live on one and your choices don't take place in a vacuum (the day they do you are most welcome to do whatever you see fit), by limiting our choices within reasonable limits we benefit from joint action against diseases.

    If everybody acts on his own, we can as well go back to the Middle Ages and wait for the next bout of the pest.

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