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Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital 1007

First time accepted submitter dmr001 writes "In its fortnightly Communicable Disease newsletter (PDF), Oregon Public Health officials note increasing cases of pertussis (whooping cough) in infants, with 146 hospitalizations noted in the 2 year period ending March 2011, and at least 4 deaths since 2003. Most cases are attributed to lack of vaccination, with 86% of those due to parents declining the vaccine. 'Most of our cases are occurring in under- or unvaccinated children, so getting these kids vaccinated seems to the most obvious approach to reducing illness. In principle... pertussis could be eradicated; but we have a long way to go.'"
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Lack of Vaccination Sends Babies In Oregon To the Hospital

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  • Autism (Score:5, Funny)

    by FadedTimes ( 581715 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:28AM (#39658351)

    but I don't want my kids to get Autism. So I will risk a deadly disease instead. /trolling

    • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nam37 ( 517083 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:33AM (#39658435) Homepage
      Unfortunately, if you asked "WHY???" to the soccer moms involved that's likely what you'd hear.
      • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:43PM (#39659739)
        I personally think control and blame are two of the major unspoken reasons that the vaccine explanation was more readily accepted by parents. If the cause was genetics, that would be outside of their ability to control. Withholding vaccines are within their control. If vaccines were the culprit then parents could blame doctors, the medical establishment, and vaccine companies instead of blaming themselves (If the problem was hereditary, parents shouldn't blame themselves but most will feel guilt anyways.). The current speculation is de novo genetic mutations (mutations near or soon after conception) is the mechanism for autism and hopefully will give parents some relief that it wasn't their fault.
        • The thing is, there's no denying that genetics is, at the very least, a major component of autism. Just look at autism rates in children from autistic parents. I remember reading that companies like Microsoft (and other tech giants as you'll certainly find higher autism rates among programmers, mathematicians, etc) were actually adding treatment, therapy, etc for autistic children to their medical benefits.
      • Re:Autism (Score:5, Funny)

        by Archimagus ( 978734 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:11PM (#39660289)
        Sums it up I think. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfdZTZQvuCo [youtube.com]
    • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Myopic ( 18616 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:37AM (#39658493)

      To be fair, if vaccines caused autism, I would probably opt out of most vaccines, because most kids don't die of whooping cough or scarlet fever, but autism is forever. It might be rational, depending on the prevalence and severity of the disease, to decline a vaccination.

      But, vaccines don't cause autism, and we know that absolutely 100% for a fact. We don't even have to do fancy science to prove it (although we have done that fancy science), because we can simply look at autism rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated kids. If there is no correlation between vaccines and autism, then that precludes the possibility of causation; and there is no correlation, therefore there is no causation.

      Vaccinate your children. If you don't, you are a douchebag.

      • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:44AM (#39658617)
        Assuming the claims of the Playboy centerfold are true, the death rate from whooping cough is around 0.5% which is much higher then the rate of autism. In other words, even if there was a correlation between vacines and autism, the vacines are still safer.
        • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:25PM (#39659381) Homepage
          Also-- and this can't be stressed enough-- autism is not contagious. If vaccines did cause autism (which they do not), getting a vaccine would only put your child at risk. Not getting vaccines puts other people's children at risk too. Your kid might not die from whooping cough, but the fact that your kid gets sick means that he's exposing other children to the disease, and they might die.
      • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 19thNervousBreakdown ( 768619 ) <davec-slashdot&lepertheory,net> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:50AM (#39658741) Homepage

        If vaccines caused autism, most people would probably opt out of most vaccines, and the relative risk from disease would skyrocket.

      • Re:Autism (Score:4, Informative)

        by jschmitz ( 607083 ) <jeff.g.schmitz@gmail.com> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:52AM (#39658795) Homepage
        You are 100% correct - the guy that did that study (autism linked to vaccinations) has been totally discredited - I guess some people didn't get the memo - but yea its really disturbing that some idiot parent that doesn't vaccinate their child put's my child at risk - its totally not cool
        • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Myopic ( 18616 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:10PM (#39659141)

          Yeah. Andrew Wakefield. He might currently be the world's most discredited scientist. For profit motive, he has made children sick and die -- hundreds, maybe thousands of them. In fact, for sickness, certainly thousands, maybe tens or hundreds of thousands.

        • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

          by atheos ( 192468 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:12PM (#39659189) Homepage
          they got the memo, and they simply moved it into the "conspiracy" category. There is NO reasoning when it comes to these people.
      • by ewieling ( 90662 )
        If you don't, you are a douchebag and (in my opinion) criminally negligent. Just like if you did not use a car seat or seatbelts for your child, or let them play unsupervised near a road.
        • Re:Autism (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Myopic ( 18616 ) * on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:14PM (#39659215)

          It's a sliding scale, but I agree, in my opinion failure to vaccinate is criminal-level negligence. The legal question is, can a reasonable person decide not to vaccinate, and in my opinion the answer is no; only unreasonable people can do that.

    • Sadly, a lot of anti-vax people will actually claim that Pertussis isn't a deadly disease. One of the big anti-vax folks in Australia once said "Nobody's ever died of Whooping Cough." (This, after a four-week old baby died of it. The anti-vax lady claimed the baby must have been something else.) If they don't claim this, then they'll claim that vaccines really don't fight diseases and all you really need to do is wash your hands more/take more vitamins/avoid "toxins"/take some homeopathic pills/etc. (T

  • Vermont. (Score:5, Informative)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:31AM (#39658393) Homepage Journal
    Today Vermont state will be voting today on taking away the philosophical exemption for vaccination.

    You can show your support for this smart idea by contacting
    Patti Komline (802) 867-4232,pkomline@leg.state.vt.us
    Paul Poirier (802) 476-7870 paulpoirier33@gmail.com

    There is a massive anti-vax push here, be sure to show your support if you live in Vermont.
  • by grumling ( 94709 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:32AM (#39658415) Homepage

    Anyone who's more willing to listen to a centerfold model/actress for medical advice deserves what they get.

    I do feel bad for their children.

  • I work in the NHS (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:38AM (#39658505)

    I work in the NHS in the UK and it's amazing how some people don't want to get their kids vaccinated, solely because of the infamous Wakefield study and the subsequent media scare. I saddens me deeply to think that we could eradicate these diseases, but through ignorance and fear a minority of parents decline vaccination for their children. Children die of pertussis, children die of measles. These are achingly preventable, and no child ever asks for the disease. The parent is immune however.

  • by MarioMax ( 907837 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:49AM (#39658731)

    For those that want to give the anti-vaccinators something to argue about, the summary title is misleading. From TFA:

    "Diphtheria-Tetanus-acellular-Pertussis vaccine (DTaP) is recommended for all children at 2, 4, 6 and 15–18 months of age, with a pre-school booster between 4 years of age and entry into kindergarten."
    "Infants too young to have completed the primary vaccine series account for the lion’s share of pertussis-related complications, hospitalizations and deaths (at least four in Oregon since 2003). We reviewed data on infants hospitalized with pertussis during a two-year period from March 2009 through February 2011. One hundred forty-six infants with pertussis were reported during this time, and 62 (43%) of them were hospitalized for a median of 3 (range, 0–32) days. The median age at onset for hospitalized cases was 8 (range, 2–25) weeks."

    So in other words, many children hospitalized for whooping cough were too young to have been fully vaccinated.

  • Microbiology (Score:4, Informative)

    by overshoot ( 39700 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:50AM (#39658761)

    In principle... pertussis could be eradicated; but we have a long way to go.

    Ummm .... no. Unlike measles or polio, pertussis is a bacterial disease. Bordatella Pertussis can live without humans. The only way to eradicate it is to sterilize all of its potential habitats (unlike viruses, bacteria don't need hosts per se) and clear the disease from any human carriers.

    Ain't gonna happen.

    • Re:Microbiology (Score:5, Informative)

      by dmr001 ( 103373 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:15PM (#39659243)
      There's a lot of Bordetella out there, but the only known reservoir of Bordetella pertussis (the causative organism of whooping cough) is in humans. It cannot live without humans. While pertussis is exceedingly contagious, it is a "fastidious" organism, and can survive only a few hours outside of human hosts. It can be eradicated, in theory, by universal vaccination. The fact that it's a bacteria and not a virus is not relevant. (See Lancet. 2006;367(9526):1926, and Hewlett E. Bordetella species. In: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed, Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R (Eds), Churchill Livingstone, Philadelphia 2000. p.2701.)
  • by bulldog060 ( 992160 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @11:52AM (#39658805)
    This far into a post about sickness in Oregon and there have been no comments about dysentery or loss of oxen ... thought it was just an odd day in the office, not on /. too.
  • everyone seems to blame mccarthy for this madness, wrong

    mccarthy is just an idiot, the loudest, dumbest soccer mom

    but this whole madness was started by this evil asshole:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wakefield [wikipedia.org]

    being stupid is no defense. but this guy isn't stupid. his action is an intelligent calculated preying on the stupid

    it was a calculated fraud. andrew wakefield is an evil mass murderer

  • Am I really evil? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheRedSeven ( 1234758 ) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @12:31PM (#39659511) Homepage
    I don't vaccinate my kid. Not because I'm afraid of autism (as noted before, the autism link is flat out not there). But because the risks on either side are so minimal that I don't see the point.

    The odds of my kid being exposed to, say, pertussis are about 10%. The odds of her contracting the disease (ie the bacteria taking hold and causing symptoms) is about 0.5%. The odds of her having a serious case of the disease (involving hospitalization) is about 0.01%. The odds of her having any sort of permanent disability/harm are about 0.005%. And the odds of death are about 0.0001%.

    In contrast, the odds of having a mild reaction (mild fever, cold/flu symptoms, localized swelling) to a pertussis vaccine are about 1%. The odds of having a major reaction (lengthy illness, actually getting pertussis, etc) are about .01%. The odds of having a major allergic reaction to the vaccine are about .008%. The odds of having brain swelling, fever that causes brain damage, or other severe outcomes is about 0.005%. And the odds of death are about 0.00005%. And even with the vaccine, the odds of her still contracting the disease are about 2%--with all the odds of the above multiplied by a factor of .02.

    In short, the risk involved in either course of action is ridiculously small--similar odds with winning the Lotto. BUT getting the vaccine costs me money, time (a trip to the doctor), possible fear of the doctor (something I don't want her to be afraid of) and discomfort/pain to my child.

    I've weighed the risks. I've done a cost/benefit analysis for both courses of action. And I (and my wife) choose not to vaccinate. And yes, we have done similar comparisons for each and every vaccine that is offered, from the Diptheria, Pertussis, Tetanus (DTaP) vaccine to the HPV vaccine to the Chicken Pox/Varicella vaccine. And none of them make a definitive case that vaccination is orders-of-magnitude better than non-vaccination.

    I have not ruled out the possibility that I will reevaluate that cost/benefit and risk analysis at some later stage in her life (say, when she goes to pre-school) and come to a different conclusion.

    So again, I ask, what in all these odds and risks and everything, makes me evil for not vaccinating my child?

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