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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic" 387

Posted by timothy
from the hooting-and-hollering-cough-looks-on-enviously dept.
As reported by the San Jose Mercury News, the state of California is "in the throes of a whooping cough epidemic, state health department officials announced Friday. Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, said 3,458 cases of whooping cough have been reported since Jan. 1 -- including 800 in the past two weeks. That total is more than all the cases reported in 2013." Public broadcaster KPBS notes that of the 621 people known to have come down with whooping cough in San Diego county, the vast majority (85 percent) were up to date on their immunizations.
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California Whooping Cough Cases "an Epidemic"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 15, 2014 @10:31AM (#47240443)

    So there's 100 or so unimmunized kids who got sick in just that last two weeks?

    Without those kids, would the other 500 or so gotten sick?

    There's a reason it's called herd immunity.

    Fuck Jenny McCarthy. With a 50-year-old telephone pole that's had linemen up and down it with spiked shoes thousands of times. Soaked in gasoline. On fire. Up the ass.

    • by houstonbofh (602064) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @10:35AM (#47240455)
      Yes, they ignore the fact that those un-immunized 15% gave a nice reservoir for the illness to mutate and develop stronger strains, like illnesses do. And lets not bring in the fact that most Americans have piss poor immune systems to begin with, and the shots just make one facet stronger, not invincible.
      • by LifesABeach (234436) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @11:28AM (#47240643)
        Maybe you could site a reference, other than your body's exit point for your food. When one is immunized, one can handle the real thing quickly. That means the sickness cannot take hold, or not for long. There is a group of dumb ass American parents that believe that immunizing their children is a bad thing. These parents will face outcomes like child mortality, and child cripplings for the unlucky. The immunized children will not understand that their close friend is forever negatively altered because their friend's parents are so short sighted that because they don't see it, therefore it doesn't exist.

        This idea is applicable to other things. Short Sigtedness paralleled with business shows rapid depletion of its resources in exchange for an increase in profit; like a child that has more free time because it doesn't have to wait in line for a vaccine shot. Then when the resources run out, the business colapses; the outcome is the abandonment of its employees, and its customers; now the community is damaged, also the death of the business. The survivers must now spend time, money, and resources that they would not have to before; the impact cripples.
        • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Sunday June 15, 2014 @11:46AM (#47240775)

          When one is immunized, one can handle the real thing quickly. That means the sickness cannot take hold, or not for long.

          Unfortunately that appears [informahealthcare.com] to be no longer be as true for whooping cough as it used to be: the currently circulating strains have diverged from the strains that were used to develop the vaccine, so protection is worse than it used to be.

        • Want to bet that as soon as (not if, not even when) their kids die or get crippled they start to look around for someone to sue?

          Stupid fucks. Just die off already.

        • by Millennium (2451)

          It doesn't sound to me like the grandparent was an antivaxxer. The rather unkind things they said about Jenny McCarthy should stand as a pretty strong argument that he (she?) isn't.

          But it's true: vaccines are not perfect. They give a big boost, and they can help a lot of people, but the fact is that some of their effectiveness really does depend on having very high participation: herd immunity helps the immunized almost as much as it helps the un-immunized. Which only makes it more of a travesty that the an

        • Maybe you could site a reference, other than your body's exit point for your food. When one is immunized, one can handle the real thing quickly. That means the sickness cannot take hold, or not for long.

          Unfortunately - that's not entirely true [cdc.gov], immunization against whooping cough is only partially effective. Worse yet, the effectiveness also fades over time. Even worse.... there's a possibility [sciencemag.org] that the vaccine may not stop an uninfected person from being a carrier.

          There is a group of dumb ass Am

      • by russotto (537200) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @11:39AM (#47240719) Journal

        Or maybe it's because the current acellular pertussis vaccine just doesn't work all that well.

      • I don't see why the illness should mutate more where it encounters less resistance, that is in the not immunized hosts.
        But OK, somebody will sure have studies on this, and hopefully they have been independently confirmed.

        Still it is the opposite phenomenon of what happens in hospitals: pathogens that manage to survive there become way difficult to remove. I also wonder what Darwin would have thought of less selective pressure leading to more mutations.

    • Having had had family members with whooping cough I looked into this. Adults are believed to be carrier's with silent symptoms. This year (2014) when adults get their physical they will very likely be offered an immunization for whooping cough. I just got mine since I was exposed to it. Although vaccines after the fact may not be useful for protection, the wisdom apparently is that the vaccine helps your body supress the silent infection. Not sure I understand why.

      • by EvilSS (557649) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @11:43AM (#47240745)

        Having had had family members with whooping cough I looked into this. Adults are believed to be carrier's with silent symptoms. This year (2014) when adults get their physical they will very likely be offered an immunization for whooping cough. I just got mine since I was exposed to it. Although vaccines after the fact may not be useful for protection, the wisdom apparently is that the vaccine helps your body supress the silent infection. Not sure I understand why.

        This. The immunity imparted by the pertussis vaccine was not as long lived as previously thought. Combine that with a larger community of unvaccinated children (some due to medical reasons but many due to parents choosing not to) and we get a resurgence of whooping cough. This problem has been know and building for quite a while now but the other problem is that adults tend to not keep up on their tetanus boosters. I know back in 2007 when I got my last booster they had already started giving adults Tdap (Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), as opposed to the Td vaccine that used to be the norm for adults.

        • The "ap" part of "Tdap" stands for "acellular pertussis", not just "and pertussis". The acellular variant of the vaccine has fewer side-effects, but also provides less protection, and less long lasting protection.
          • by EvilSS (557649)

            The "ap" part of "Tdap" stands for "acellular pertussis", not just "and pertussis". The acellular variant of the vaccine has fewer side-effects, but also provides less protection, and less long lasting protection.

            Thanks for the correction. Now what is the name of the vaccine for overly-pedantic commenter?

    • And sideways, you forgot!

    • Lets not heap abuse on McCarthy: that's pointless. She did suffer a tragedy: her kid does have a disorder (possibly not autism, by the way). When she started her ill-advised crusade, the Wakefield papers suggesting a link between autism and vaccines hadn't been retracted yet. And according to wikipedia, she hasn't made public statements against vaccinations since 2011.

      Instead, blame the media for reporting on what celebrities think and junk science. They should have known better. They are the ones w
    • by Greyfox (87712)
      What the fuck is up with that anyway? When I was growing up, they wouldn't even let you in the school if you didn't have your immunization papers. I don't care if you are afraid of "toxins" and use Cherokee hair tampons, if you're not getting your kids their shots you're endangering them and everyone else's kids. That should be enough grounds for child services to decide that you're an unfit parent and remove your kids to protective custody. We need to stop coddling stupid bitches in this country.
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @10:34AM (#47240453) Homepage

    It's much safer. Stock up on Doritos and Dr. Pepper and wait the epidemic out.

    Pertussis is a big deal and, as usual, the media is Doing It Wrong. For most adults, pertussis is annoying (very annoying) but not life threatening. It is also rather contagious and worse, it is most contagious early on when one's symptoms are mild and non specific. So when you are sick, stay in the basement. Wash your hands. Communicate with the rest of the world via Slashdot.

    For young children it can be fatal, hence the importance of immunizations.

    What is pretty clear is that the primary immunization series works pretty well (not perfectly). Immunizations of adults doesn't work well at all. What TFA didn't make clear was how immunized the adults were. They would be up to date if they had received their primary children's series but no adult Dtap (typically given as part of a tetanus immunization, not directly 'for' pertussis). But we know that the pertussis component of Dtap wanes after five years. So even if you were technically up to date by tetanus standards, you'd be behind for pertussis.

    We've known this for decades. What I can't figure out is why a pertussis only booster hasn't been marketed. We have the vaccine, we have much of the data. It would be fairly easy to do. (Insert favorite rant about the Medical Industrial Complex here.)

    • by EvilSS (557649)

      It's much safer. Stock up on Doritos and Dr. Pepper and wait the epidemic out.

      That may actually be MORE dangerous to your health! :)

      • However, sarcasm is fairly innocuous.

        • by lgw (121541)

          You must be new here. Everyone knows Cheetos are the food of choice for the Slashdot basement virgin legions! No other snack food leaves proper orange fingerprints on your D&D character sheet, c'mon.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sconeu (64226)

      I actually *had* pertussis back in 2001 (my '60s vintage vaccine wore off). It is horrible, I was coughing to the point of vomiting.

      I hope the anti-vaxxers all get it and drop dead from it.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Sunday June 15, 2014 @12:38PM (#47241069) Homepage

    The article is terrible. The CDC has a very good FAQ on the pertussis vaccine.

    http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/a... [cdc.gov]

    Q: Can pertussis be prevented with vaccines?

    A: Yes. Pertussis, or whooping cough, can be prevented with vaccines. Before pertussis vaccines became widely available in the 1940s, about 200,000 children got sick with it each year in the US and about 9,000 died as a result of the infection. Now we see about 10,000–40,000 cases reported each year and unfortunately about 10–20 deaths.

    Pertussis vaccines are recommended for people of all ages. Infants and children should get 5 doses of DTaP for maximum protection. A dose is given at 2, 4 and 6 months, at 15 through 18 months, and again at 4 through 6 years. A booster dose of Tdap is given to preteens at 11 or 12 years of age.

    Any adolescents or adults who didn't get Tdap as a preteen should get one dose. Getting Tdap is especially important for pregnant women. It’s also important that those who care for infants are up-to-date with pertussis vaccination. You can get the Tdap booster dose no matter when you got your last regular tetanus booster shot (Td). Also, you need to get Tdap even if you were vaccinated as a child or have been sick with pertussis in the past.

    Learn more about preventing pertussis.

    car

    Whooping cough can be deadly for babies. Learn how to protect them through vaccination. See this infographic.

    Q: Why is the focus on protecting infants from pertussis?

    A: Infants are at greatest risk for getting pertussis and then having severe complications from it, including death. About half of infants younger than 1 year old who get pertussis are hospitalized, and 1 or 2 in 100 hospitalized infants die.

    There are two strategies to protect infants until they're old enough to receive vaccines and build their immunity against this disease.

    First, vaccinate pregnant women with Tdap during each pregnancy, preferably at 27 through 36 weeks. By getting Tdap during pregnancy, mothers build antibodies that are transferred to the newborn, likely providing protection against pertussis in early life, before the baby can start getting DTaP vaccines at 2 months old. Tdap also helps protect mothers during delivery, making them less likely to transmit pertussis to their infants.

    Second, make sure everyone around the infant is immunized. This includes parents, siblings, grandparents (including those 65 years and older), other family members, babysitters, etc. They should be up-to-date with the age-appropriate vaccine (DTaP or Tdap) at least two weeks before coming into close contact with the infant. Unless pregnant, only one dose of Tdap is recommended in a lifetime.

    These two strategies should reduce infection in infants, since health data have shown that, when the source of pertussis could be identified, mothers were responsible for 30-40% of infant infections and all household members were responsible for about 80% of infections.

    It's also critical that healthcare professionals are up-to-date with a one-time Tdap booster dose, especially those who care for infants.

    Learn more about infant complications.

    Top of Page

    Q: Do pertussis vaccines protect for a lifetime? If I've had whooping cough, do I still need a pertussis booster?

    A: Getting sick with pertussis or getting pertussis vaccines doesn't provide lifelong protection, which means you can still get pertussis and pass it onto infants.

    Pertussis vaccines are effective, but not perfect. They typically offer high levels of protection within the first 2 years of getting vaccinated, but then protection decreases over time. This is known as waning immunity. Similarly, natural infection may also only protect you for a few years.

    In general, DTaP vaccines are 80-90% effective. Among kids who get all 5 doses of DTaP on schedule, effectiveness is very high within the year following the 5th dose

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