Whooping cough outbreak in Boulder

By Phil Plait | April 9, 2012 9:40 am

Medical officials are saying that there have been 37 cases of pertussis — whooping cough — reported in my hometown of Boulder so far this year.

We’re not even 100 days into 2012 yet. [Note: Washington State is in the midst of an actual epidemic of pertussis.]

How serious is this? 30 of those Boulder cases are in children under the age of 18… and it almost took the life of six week old Natalie Schultz. The local news reported on this:

[You may need to refresh this page to see the video.]

This outbreak might shock you, especially considering Boulder is one of the most educated cities in the United States. But in fact, I’ve been wondering if and when something like this might happen here. Denial of the benefits of vaccination is strong in educated areas, like Boulder or Marin county, California — being educated doesn’t mean you get things right, and in fact can make people believe in their own knowledge even more strongly. They go online and find antivax literature which magnifies their own beliefs.

Also, these tend to be more left-leaning areas, and the antivax movement does better there. The result? A little baby, not even two months old, is recovering from a nearly-fatal event that was totally preventable if enough people were vaccinated. Herd immunity would have prevented this whole thing. Natalie is too young to get a pertussis vaccine herself, so babies like her rely on adults — us — to be immunized against these diseases.

Adults should have a pertussis booster every ten years. I got my TDaP booster a couple of years ago. Just two months earlier, unbeknownst to me at the time, a little girl in Belgium named Lore Darch died from pertussis at the age of 83 days. Her father, Danny, wrote a diary for her as a memorial. Read it if you can. I did, and my heart aches so hard it’s a physical pain.

Like David and Toni McCaffery — who lost their daughter Dana to pertussis — Danny and his wife Katrien have become vocal advocates for vaccination.

If you haven’t had your booster, you should talk to your board-certified doctor and see if you need one as well.

As Danica, Natalie’s mother put it:

"I almost lost my daughter at almost six weeks old… that could have been prevented if everyone was vaccinated."

She’s right. Antivaxxers are wrong. DON’T believe them about vaccine ingredients. DON’T believe them when they say they just want to educate people. DON’T believe them when they say vaccines cause autism. DON’T believe them when they say vaccines don’t work.

Vaccinations save lives. It’s that simple. Go talk to your doctor. NOW.

My thanks to The Vaccine Times on Twitter for alerting me to this.


Related Posts:

- Stop antivaxxers. Now.
- Pertussis can kill, and you can help stop it
- Pertussis and measles are coming back
- More on Wakefield’s descent: money, money, money!

Comments (84)

  1. 00001000bit

    It doesn’t help that many are uninsured or under-insured. People in those situations typically only go to a doctor when something is seriously wrong – so it is easy (for an adult) to miss routine vaccinations.

  2. To be clear, there *are* people who are allergic to vaccinations. More specifically, they’re generally allergic to the carrier ingredients within the vaccine serum. This has been a persistent problem in my family. The last time I was vaccinated, the result was nearly three weeks of miserable, stay-in-bed sickness. Considering this happens every time I get a vaccination, and the same reaction takes place in nearly all of my family members, I don’t think it’s entirely a coincidence.

    With that said, this sort of allergy is quite rare, and shouldn’t be used as a systematic argument against vaccination. This is particularly true when the vaccine is preventing a disease with more serious symptoms than the side-effects of the vaccine itself (e.g. malaria).

  3. Caleb Jones

    Whooping cough cases reach epidemic levels in much of Washington:
    http://doh.wa.gov/Publicat/2012_news/12-038.htm

  4. lunchstealer

    I think another part of the pertussis problem, specifically, is a tendency among adults to be lax on their vaccinations. School requirements are doing a good job of promoting vaccination in children, but for vaccines that require ongoing boosters, there often isn’t a good mechanism in place to remind adults that they need boosters. Unboosted adults have been found to be the reservoirs in pertussis outbreaks in California.

    Good PCPs can be worthwhile in this regard, but I’ve moved around enough that I rarely maintain a relationship with a physician for more than a few years, and transferring records is not always simple.

    Anyway, don’t just get vaccines for your kids – talk to your doctor about which ones you may need re-administered.

  5. I made sure that everyone who was going to come into contact with my newborn son (he was born last April) had their boosters – or they didn’t get to see him. It is SO incredibly important that people get their immunizations and boosters. TDaP is something you should be getting done every 10 years regardless – if you can’t remember your last booster, chances are it was around 10 years or more ago. Go get one now.
    I would be more surprised if it weren’t Boulder, but with all the granola and trustafarians I can see why people would be more swayed by “antiestablishment” thinking. Thanks for continuing to bring attention to this, Phil.

  6. Usually, when someone uses a “think of the children” argument, it’s because they’re trying to push something awful so they candy-coat it in concern for kids. Vaccines are *NOT* one of those items, though. They are one of the rare instances where “think of the children” is a valid argument.

    Want to see what a world without vaccines would look like? Ask anyone who was old enough to remember the outbreaks of polio, smallpox, mumps, measles, whooping cough, and other diseases which are now fully treatable by vaccines. Most people alive today (and this includes myself) don’t know first-hand what these were like because vaccines pushed those diseases out of our daily lives. Instead of living in fear of my kid contracting one of these diseases and dying (or winding up horribly scarred), they get a simple jab in the arm and they’re good to go.

    The good side of this is that vaccines have saved millions of lives. The bad side of this is that people tend to reduce the risk of things they don’t see often. So the risks of vaccine preventable diseases get artificially deflated. (See the “nobody dies from whooping cough” statements some anti-vax folks make.) Meanwhile, any imagined risk vaccines might present (even if it is only supported by the flimsiest of rumors), are magnified.

    In the end, vaccines do save lives and our children deserve a life free from worry over vaccine-preventable diseases. Here’s hoping that Phil won’t ever have to post about another vaccine-preventable outbreak again (especially one that caused deaths). I’m sure Phil would love to retire those tags from use if it meant that lives were being saved.

  7. Keith Hearn

    I have no idea when I last had a TDaP booster. I’m pretty sure I’m out of date on tetinus as well. I’m sure it’s been over 10 years since I’ve had any sort of vaccinations. So what other vaccinations should an adult get to be up to date?

  8. Blargh

    How serious is this? 30 of those Boulder cases are in children under the age of 18

    Whooping cough is one of the classic childhood diseases, so that’s not especially surprising…

    And I’ll repeat my statement from last time: the Kid Picture is the Godwin of causes.

  9. Jfmatthews

    Keith Hearn,

    I was like you, I had let my Tetanus shot go, then I cut my leg on a fence so I went to a local clinic and got a booster. You want a DPT (Diptheria-Tetanus-Pertussis) shot. I think mine cost something like $35

    I don’t know about wherever you are, but a lot of pharmacies down here in Texas have certified folks that can administer those, along with shots for other things like shingles. So maybe that’s an alternative if you don’t want to (or can’t for some reason) go to a doctor or clinic.

    Personally, I think all day care places and schools should have a strict “no exception” (except for maybe due to a proven medical reason only) policy about requiring complete and up-to-date vaccinations for all students.

  10. Heather Shaw, MD, MPH

    I just wanted to clarify that Tdap booster only needs to be given once in adults between ages 19 and 65 and may be given once to those over 65 coming into close contact with infants. A tetanus-diphtheria booster (Td) needs to be given every 10 years, and the Tdap simply substitutes for one of those.

    To find out what other vaccines you might need as an adult, the CDC website offers an interactive quiz that can let you know what you are due for:
    http://www2a.cdc.gov/nip/adultImmSched/

  11. Very valid point about adult booster shots.

  12. MadSciKat =^..^=

    I didn’t realize adults needed DTP shots too. Duly noted!

  13. Gary Ansorge

    I asked my Dr for the TDaP last year…she didn’t have it to give. Seems the only people here in Georgia that CAn give it are thru the local health dept.

    Plain old Tetanus for adults however, can be administered by local physicians. I guess around here, they are more concerned about abortion prevention than keeping kids safe after they’re born…

    Gary 7

  14. Angela T

    Keith, if you’re really serious, ask your PCP to have your titers tested. They are blood tests that determine your levels of antibodies toward typical vaccine-preventable diseases. If you work in healthcare, you are asked to show proof of Hepatitis B and Measles-Mumps-Rubella. I believe colleges are now requiring meningitis vaccines for incoming dorm residents. Older people are advised to get a varicella vaccine to prevent shingles, and a pneumonia vaccine.

  15. Carter

    I just got an adult Pertussis/Tetanus booster last week, and DAMN does that hurt….

  16. I often have to ask, why is it that proponents of the anti-vax variety are caught LYING for their point of view so often? Shouldn’t that be a hint to the rest of us?

    http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php

    No comment section on that KDVR page. I’m actually glad since the anti-vax pro-disease nutters would probably already have overwhelmed that page with their lies…

  17. ^^^^^^^^^

    See? Lies, lies, and more lies….

    This Patrick Thomas nutter is a well known crank by the way. It is better to just ignore him since reality has yet to penetrate into his worldview.

  18. Raven

    Patrick, why don’t you put don the glossy magazines with Jenny McCarthy on them and pick up some scientific literature to educate yourself…? I mean really educate yourself? The “mainstream” medical community you deride has improved and doubled life expectancy, and part of that can be attributed to proper vaccinations. Period. Those vitamin supplements and pills you recommend earlier, are useless. Most of what you ingest gets urinated out.

    If vaccines are poisonous, why then do 99.99999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of children who take them show absolutely no ill effects? In fact, it seems to keep them from getting sick! Fascinating stuff this science. It works! And if it doesn’t work, scientists test and re-test until they find out why it didn’t work and what can work better.

    So when you get sick, do you go to a doctor? If you do you’re a hypocrite based on what I’ve read from you here.

    Look – there is no “other side of the story”. There is no conspiracy. There is only established, continually tested science (which is at its core no different from the science that gave you plasma TV, the internet, and iPhones) and those who have no grasp of reality.

  19. Thespis

    Phil, I had forgotten to get my TDaP booster, but I will call and schedule it today- three of my best friends are due to deliver soon, and I owe it to them to get boosted. Thanks for the pertinent reminder.

  20. Blargh

    @ Patrick Thomas

    The vaccine is a complete failure, as I have demonstrated above. The vaccine is actually CAUSING these outbreaks.

    You have demonstrated nothing of the sort. What I see is a naturalistic fallacy-based Gish Gallop (classic crank argumentation tactic; look it up) full of “you know it to be true”, “They are covering it up”, misunderstood biology (and not just of the “live enzymes” kind – you’re contesting germ theory for chrissakes) and pure falsehoods.

  21. Lawrence

    @PT – given that in the past almost 100% of the population was exposed to / suffered from these various diseases, regardless of their state of health, I’d say vaccines have been too effective – because we’ve forgotten what the cost was when these diseases were endemic.

    You do know that Smallpox, by itself, killed more people than all of man’s wars combined, right?

    The 1918 Flu Pandemic killed more often healthy & young individuals – I assume you may be aware of that, right?

    The total population of deaf children continues to decline because of a lack of Measles / Mumps / Rubella causing childhood deafness as a side-effect, you know that too, right?

    Being healthy is good – not having to suffer these diseases in the first place – because of vaccines, is the cherry on top.

  22. Ryan the Biologist

    @15- B. parapertussis is a considerably less severe critter than B. pertussis. I’d gladly accept a 40-fold increase in my odds of getting chickenpox to immunize myself against an ongoing smallpox outbreak, for example, and I’d gladly immunize my children for the same reason. And this is even assuming that the study you mentioned turns out to be verified by counter-studies and to my knowledge, it hasn’t.

    Further, the study you are referencing makes no mention of mutations, either caused by the vaccine, the bacterium, or anywhere else. You have fabricated that, which makes your other points less credible than they already were. Perhaps this is because you do not understand what “mutation” actually means, and made assumptions based on your limited understanding of the biological sciences. Perhaps it was a purposeful attempt to cast vaccines in the worst possible light for your own benefit. Whatever the reason, it would behoove you to leave this kind of investigation to the people who actually understand what they are talking about (and that does not include Jenny McCarthy or Oprah Winfrey).

    EDIT: I see you have posted a great many new ramblings since post #15. I wish I had the time to dissect all of these for you, but given your mistreatment of the first study you posted, I seriously doubt that would be worth my time.

  23. Dave

    Interested to hear from knowledgeable folks about the @Patrick Thomas postings. I’ve googled a few of his excerpts and found the articles he has found. They sound interesting, but I don’t know how reliable they are.

  24. ragnar

    ^^^^^^^^
    Someone needs to get a girlfriend.

  25. haversham

    Yeah, I have a feeling he won’t be around for long. Not because he’s a dissenting voice, but because of his inane and annoying way of posting, then reposting, and posting again. All of it material that’s not been reproduced, outright wrong, or cherry picked.

  26. haversham

    Hey Patrick, could we get a citation of your story?

  27. Not everything Patrick is saying is a lie.

    What about getting plenty of sleep? What about reducing stress? What about getting exercise? What about breast feeding? … What about the avoidance of Cokes and Count Chocula?

    These are very important components to being healthy. If you get little to no sleep, stress out a lot, and consider getting up to get another Coke exercise, then you are more likely to get sick. That being said, none of these things will protect you from the diseases that vaccines prevent against. Well, except maybe breast feeding to some degree. But that typically only works with infants. Even then, it only provides an immune system boost, not immunity. Those are two completely different things.

    Note, I clipped out the portion of his quote about not consuming toxins. While it is important not to consume toxic materials, the definition of “toxins” used by most people like Patrick stretches to encompass pretty much anything they deem to be bad. I believe Dihydrogen Monoxide is the next toxin on the list to vilify.

    As for the tons of posts he’s made with “proof” of vaccines inefficiency, I’d like to see sources for some of those. Posting small “exerpts” without any link to the source is highly suspect in my book. One could either misquote the original source, cherry pick quotes to mislead as to the source’s intent, make up a source completely, or quote accurately and the reader would have no idea which happened.

    Finally, as for his list of “ingredients”, I know there are anti-anti-vax pages that refute all of those. Someone care to post the link here? (They tend to get posted and reposted every time one of these articles appears.)

  28. Rachel

    I think Patrick Thomas is awesome :)

  29. derecho64

    Mr. Thomas is a well-known anti-vaxxer crackpot. He posted almost exactly the same articles, in the same order, in the local Boulder newspaper.

    He’s nothing but a troll. Ignore him.

  30. Patrick Thomas is egregiously misinterpreting the articles he refers to.
    An informative article about the fact that the vaccine is less effective (not ineffective) can be found by clicking my name.

  31. Shelby

    Mr. Thomas ~

    Were you ever vaccinated against pertussis?

    Have you ever lost a child to whooping cough due to making the choice NOT TO VACCINATE?

  32. I’m (a) calling my old Dr’s office to get my records transferred to my wife & son’s Dr’s office, and (b) setting up our appointment to get our TDaPs ASAP.

    PTroll: Assuming you haven’t got the message the last bazillion times anyone has bothered refuting your dishonest nonsense, what is the point of doing it now?

  33. Ema Nymton

    Holy crap!

    Patrick Thomas, you are amazingly stupid.

    You realize that, right?

  34. Now, now Ema Nymton (#39), that’s an ad hom. Instead, the lies and distortions being posted by PT are stupid. PT himself could be intelligent, just incredibly deluded, off his meds, being held hostage by Jenny McCarthy, etc. We have no idea why his behaviour is so trollish.

    (Although, to be honest, I actually agree with you, it’s just sorta dickish to say that outright on the internet like this.) :D

  35. BruceH

    Well, it seems that Patrick lies again, and transparently so. You CAN post links as URLs.

  36. Cairnos

    In case anyone who isn’t already aware wants to know about the reliabliity of some of these ‘mainstream sources’ of PT’s, here are a couple of quotes from the Eleanor Mcbean he mentioned back up there as the author of a book called ‘The Poison Needle’:

    “These mythical anti-bodies are said to make war on disease germs. But germs are not the cause of disease in the first place and are useful wherever they are found in nature [...]”

    “Disease is not something to be cured; it is a cure.
    These diseases [measles, chicken-pox, mumps, scarlet fever] are not contagious but are merely cleansing measures of the body[...]”

    ‘Nuff said

  37. Chris2

    Mr. Thomas:

    However, at the end of the day, you have to deal with YOUR own kids getting vaccine-injured – EVEN THOUGH THE VACCINES DON’T WORK.

    Really? Seriously? Then answer this question (data will follow): Why was the rate of measles incidence (morbidity) in 1970 in the USA only 10% of what it was in 1960? Please document with real scientific evidence your statements to the reason for the steep decrease in measles cases.

    Some rules: Do not change the decade, do not change the country, so not change the disease and do not mention mortality (death). Answer the question as it was asked. The next comment will have the data, including the URL of the source of the data, a very large USA census report.

  38. Chris2

    Here is the data:
    From http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of measles
    1912 . . . 310.0
    1920 . . . 480.5
    1925 . . . 194.3
    1930 . . . 340.8
    1935 . . . 584.6
    1940 . . . 220.7
    1945 . . . 110.2
    1950 . . . 210.1
    1955 . . . 337.9
    1960 . . . 245.4
    1965 . . . 135.1
    1970 . . . . 23.2
    1975 . . . . 11.3
    1980 . . . . . 5.9
    1985 . . . . . 1.2
    1990 . . . . .11.2
    1991 . . . . . .3.8
    1992 . . . . . .0.9
    1993 . . . . . .0.1
    1994 . . . . . .0.4
    1995 . . . . . .0.1
    1996 . . . . . .0.2
    1997 . . . . . . 0.1

  39. kat wagner

    @Patrick Thomas – boy howdy, you’re having a hissy fit. You know what, the ONLY person you need to call is the epidemiologist who works for your public health clinic. Ask him or her the questions you have about vaccinations. He/she will set you straight about why vaccinations are needed. I don’t know why you have a problem with all the science behind this stuff.

    Any whackadoo on the planet can post whatever they like on the internet; if you’re not quoting your sources, then I don’t believe a bit of what you say. None of it. Quotes, man. Cite your sources. From what I’ve seen (and I’m a journalist) I believe what comes from on-the-level media outlets. I don’t believe you, however; not a word of what you have spewed here.

  40. Chris

    I think if Phil were to write a post on creationism, vaccinations, global warming and religion he might get a record number of wacky people comment.

    All we need is to get Lil’ Poundcake from SNL
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3G8SR9a1Mbg

  41. digitalatheist

    My mother was a survivor of polio (thanks to a really great doctor), and the idea that there are people out there that willingly avoid vaccinations for themselves or their children ticks me off to no end. The only way this mess is going to end is after a major epidemic takes a lot of lives that could be easily spared, especially amongst the anit-vax crowd (and no, I’m not making a wish for it… far from it. It will just take it to make things be real again).

  42. For anyone looking for the actual scientific article on Pertussis vaccine-induced mutation, the reference is:
    Kurniawan et al. 2010. Emerg Infect Dis. 2010 February; 16(2): 297–300.

    This does not suggest that unvaccinated people are better off. In fact, it suggests that the acellular vaccine, which replaced the old whole-cell vaccine due to side effect concerns, is causing the disease to mutate. (edit, mixed up old and new)

  43. For anyone looking for the text of Kurniawan et al. 2010, a link to the NIH website is here:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957989/

  44. It is my considered opinion that Patrick Thomas is a spammer; he left over a dozen comment here that were all antivax nonsense, and linked to a dangerous antivax website. In general I don’t like deleting comments based on content, but given this topic, I don’t feel especially obligated to give him a platform.

  45. David C

    I’m example A for what happens without vaccination. The mumps vaccine didn’t exist when I was young, neither did the chicken pox vaccine. The mumps left me unable to have children and chicken pox left me with a 50% hearing loss in one ear. It does matter.

  46. Patrick Thomas, there’s a way around the link posting thing here. Just change the website to a link to your source instead of vaclib.org.

    And yes, I’m genuinely curious.

  47. amphiox

    With that said, this sort of allergy is quite rare, and shouldn’t be used as a systematic argument against vaccination.

    On the contrary, this sort of allergy is an argument to encourage more vaccination. As people in your situation are that much more dependent on herd immunity.

    Want to see what a world without vaccines would look like? Ask anyone who was old enough to remember the outbreaks of polio, smallpox, mumps, measles, whooping cough, and other diseases which are now fully treatable by vaccines.

    Note how the anti-vaxxer movement started to take off just as the living memory of these things starts to fade? That is not a coincidence.

  48. ian

    Lol. PT and his bag of crazy strikes again. I really feel sorry for the nutter trolling the net looking for comment threads to spam with his stupidity.

    Thanks for wielding the Scalzian Ban Hammer.

  49. quietann

    What absolutely makes me steaming mad is that many of my educated “anti-vax” acquaintances know all about herd immunity. Their basic attitude is that those “other” (poor, black, uneducated, stupid etc.) people will “take the risk” and vaccinate their kids, thereby protecting the unvaccinated children of my privileged acquaintances !

    There *are* kids out there who can’t be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g. kids with immune suppression from disease, cancer treatment, etc.) and it’s imperative that the healthy kids get vaccinated to protect the sick ones.

  50. Bruce of Canuckistan

    >Note how the anti-vaxxer movement started to take off just as the living memory of these things starts to fade? That is not a coincidence.

    Nor is it unique to things medical. Witness the financial sector going off the rails one lifespan after 1929. Let’s hope it doesn’t also apply to major wars.

  51. VinceRN

    We have a pretty continuous Pertussis outbreak here in Washington. Not huge numbers, but far higher then they should be. 640 cases in the first quarter of this year, compared to 94 in the first quarter last year.

  52. Chris2

    quietann:

    Their basic attitude is that those “other” (poor, black, uneducated, stupid etc.) people will “take the risk” and vaccinate their kids, thereby protecting the unvaccinated children of my privileged acquaintances !

    And yet those who get a free ride on herd immunity for no good medical reason get upset if you call them selfish leeches or parasites. If I point out that this is what they are, and they should be ashamed I am told that I am calling them names. They then claim that they only care about their kids and not others.

    Seriously, what do you call persons who sit back and reap the benefits of the actions of responsible persons, and at the same time declare they do not care what happens to anyone else? Do tell me what noun I should use for this group. Because all I can think of are names for parasites.

  53. hosch

    I don’t want to really offend the grieving parents who are dealing with this. But both sides are completely wrong. Vaccinations will not prevent or provoke this epidemic. Whooping cough is being misdiagnosed, these children are not being exposed to a virus.

    This epidemic is being caused by toxic flame retardants that were newly introduced into foam matresses that many children are now sleeping on. I bought a foam matress this year, I have been experiencing mild to severe health issues the entire year, I had removed the matress from my room after one week because it would not air out, one year later I am shocked by the persistent, relentless, undiminished toxic properties of the chemicals in that matress. There is no doubt flame retardants are the cause of this. It’s going to be a schock when everyone realizes this, but that is the root of the problem.

    The children are not experiencing a virus. There mouth, throat and lungs are being blocked by the accumulation of flame retardants that are off-gasing out of their matress. It is also very similar to asbestos, in that once it is kicked into the air, it becomes a particulate that is a nightmare to deal with and I believe impossible to remove. I also found that when combined with sunlight and heat the chemicals become far more toxic. This is going be a colossal problem, I have spent a year trying to figure this bs out. I have thrown away 95% percent of my belongings, the only things I have left is one pair of sandals, my computer and my car. I absolutely for the life of me can not get it out of my car, if I drive my car, it spreads onto whatever I was wearing and all my skin, so it has been pushing my health to the limit. This could definitely damage a child, this would very well give the symptoms of whooping cough.

    The only way to deal with it that I have found, is to let the air in the room with the matress settle. Close the windows, close the door, leave everything in the room, do not bring it outside or else it will take particles with it. Buy new clothing for your child, throw out their old clothing that has been exposed, if you really want to keep a piace try and assess how exposed it has been, if you wash it with a soap based detergent and borax you will be able to get a majority of the chemical out. Wash yourself head to toe with a strong bar soap. Wash your child head to to toe with a strong bar soap. The only thing I have found that is effective for getting it off the skin. If your kid is old enough, have him gargle a little of the soap it will help get it out of his mouth.

    Take the kid outside, the more outside air he breathes in, the faster his body will break down the chemical. The body can remove it, natural air is the only way to accelerate it, however when the child is outside, if he is under direct sunlight or heat it will exacerbate the toxins so the kid will probably show severe fatigue, in that case take him out of the heat and sunlight. However, the longer this kid can breathe fresh air and avoid flame retardant particulates that are probably spread into the house, the more his system will be able to get it out and break it down. Some of it will be broken down by the body, some of it will be coughed and sneezed out, do not let the kid wipe himeself with where he coughed it out, he will just re-expose himself to whatever he just got out of his lungs.

    This is what I’ve found. You might not believe me, but I am right. Listen to this advice.

  54. Daniel

    I was reading an article about an outbreak here in Australia (Victoria to be specific), where 1369 people in the state this year have whooping cough, about a quarter of them under the age of 14.

    Going by the stats in Australia, almost 90% of kids under 5 are immunised against Whooping Cough, so from that statistic, 308 (out of 342) of the kids were immunised.

    Apparently, the whooping cough disease is becoming more resilient against the vaccine, which has caused the increase in the number of instances. At least they say that the vaccine, whilst not preventing it, does decrease its severity.

    Article in question: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/ipad/hundreds-test-positive-to-whooping-cough-in-victoria/story-fn6bfkm6-1226322355237 (don’t know why it came up as the ipad version on a PC)

    I wonder if the strain in Boulder is similar to this and is becoming more resilient against the vaccine?

  55. csrster

    i) I’m 48 years old and have lived in four different countries but I’ve never once had a booster vaccine recommended to me by any doctor. I suppose I could rush round to my doctor now and ask for one, but I doubt the herd effect would be very effective if I’m the only adult in the whole damn country who’s had one. So why isn’t there more of a drive to get adults vaccinated?

    ii) “Want to see what a world without vaccines would look like? Ask anyone who was old enough to remember the outbreaks of polio, smallpox, mumps, measles, whooping cough, and other diseases which are now fully treatable by vaccines.”
    Agreed 100% but I always wonder why people don’t often include diptheria on that list. That was a really nasty disease, with a lot of associated deaths, now wiped out in the developed world thanks to vaccines.

  56. jupiterisbig

    Diptheria is not even known by forty somethings, so that’s why it’s left off the list. We saw the effects of the others, or lived through them. I had measles and chicken pox and am having dinner with a lady who obviously had chicken pox, because half her face and part of the left side of her body are paralyzed by shingles …

  57. My wife and I recently had a baby and consider her so lucky that she was born to two parents who completely accept the practice of vaccination and science-based medicine in general. She has a genetic condition called Noonan’s disease, which she inherited from my wife, and if it weren’t for trusting doctors, she’d probably already be dead.

    My wife too would likely not have survived past childhood for the same reason. And I myself survived several bouts of pneumonia and severe asthma problems, which would have probably doomed me as well.

    Science-based medicine is the only reason I have a family today. It may not be perfect (i.e. there still are incurable diseases out there), but it’s the best we have. And its getting better all the time.

  58. Jenny

    I went to that Fox site with the video and there’s this guy in the comments spamming people with links saying that the whooping cough vaccine is a sham. Many of his links do not exist, hmm, geee, I wonder why.

    Anyways, feel free to take him apart. I’ve already linked to one of my favourite medical quackery debunking sites. Not for that guy, I’m sure he will ignore everything I say or rant like a Baptist preacher. For the other poor unfortunate folks who may be mislead by some of his weirdly sourced links.

  59. Anne

    I’m one of the few people who have had an adverse reaction (anaphylaxis) to Tetanus vaccinations and cannot receive them. I inherited this charming trait from my mother and seem to have passed it to my son. We are forced to rely on herd immunity to protect us from Pertussis. We also have asthma and I’m particularly prone to pneumonia. I would LOVE to be vaccinated against Pertussis (and Diphtheria too, why not?), but it is only distributed in the US bundled with Tetanus. I’ve called vaccine manufacturers and they absolutely do not distribute it without its companions. I keep an eye on outbreaks, we practice good handwashing, and our physician has a protocol for us.

    So on behalf of my family, please get your DaTP. You are my only hope.

  60. Peter B

    Hosch @ #55 said: “…both sides are completely wrong. Vaccinations will not prevent or provoke this epidemic. Whooping cough is being misdiagnosed, these children are not being exposed to a virus. This epidemic is being caused by toxic flame retardants that were newly introduced into foam matresses that many children are now sleeping on.”

    Can you provide some evidence to back up this claim?

    Is there a correlation between the use of the flame retardant and whooping cough in other parts of the USA/world?

    Can you explain how people diagnosed recently with whooping cough manifest exactly the same symptoms as people diagnosed prior to the introduction of the flame retardants?

  61. outlooker D.M.

    The U.S. is very sick, look at the Dollar, the environment, etc… How will the vaccines be produced in a post-Peak-Oil world? Wishing for the best for citizens in the United States and elsewhere.! (“End ‘infinite growth’ and change the way money works!”)

  62. I had a long, frustrating conversation with a friend of mine over vaccines. Neither of us are scientists, so the details of the biology were beyond us and the argument basically boiled down to, “You cite your medical authorities, I cite mine.”

    Then he sent me a copy of a book that was the source of most of his concerns, called the Vaccine Safety Manual. I read a good part of it, and wrote a letter to my friend as a result. The letter also doubles as a review of the Vaccine Safety Manual, and illustrates several flaws in basic reasoning, as well as the numerous propaganda techniques that the author uses to mislead his readers.

    You don’t need to have specialized education or deep knowledge to counter anti-vaccination misinformation. I hope that your efforts, Phil, will make a difference and save lives.

  63. Ian M. Fallon

    @ #8 Blargh:

    Perhaps you’re just troll, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t really know what Godwin’s Law means. Godwin does not mean trying to convince people of the correctness of one’s claims via emotional impact. It refers to the comparison to the Nazis in an inappropriate way to try to prove a claim. For example, if one were in a debate as to which computer company is better, Microsoft or Apple, if one were to compare either’s business practices to the Nazis that would be a Godwin. While I’m sure we can find examples of unethical business practices of both companies, a comparison to the Nazis is such an outlandish tactic that it typically suggests that the one making the comparison has run out of legitimate points to make in the discussion and has therefore lost the debate. Godwin does not apply if there is a reasonable application to the comparison. For example, comparing fascist Spain to Nazi Germany. In such a case the comparison is not necessarily an automatic Godwin.
    Using Dana’s picture in an Anti-Vax discussion is not by any stretch of the imagination a good analogy to Godwin’s Law for two reasons. First of all, showing that a lack of vaccination can lead to children’s untimely and unnecessary deaths is not a direct comparison to the Nazis. If Phil said something along the lines of, “These Anti-Vax people are killing children and are no better than Nazis!” That would be a Godwin. Saying, “A lack of vaccination can lead to children dying.” And then posting an example complete with the deceased child’s picture is not a Godwin.
    The other reason is that I can see two legitimate grounds for Phil using that picture. The first is to counter the Anti-Vax movement’s claim that Whooping Cough specifically and childhood illnesses in general do not kill. Dana is an example that this claim is at best wrong and at worst an outright lie. The second is a reason he has admitted to earlier. In addition to the factual claims he is using emotion to add impact his side of the discussion. Besides the fact that that is not what Godwin’s Law means using emotion in a debate, the use of emotion is not automatically a dirty trick. In my opinion using emotion with the facts is a legitimate tactic. I would only consider it an illegitimate tactic if he were using emotion alone while either ignoring the facts or outright lying about them. Just as the Anti-Vax movement does.

  64. Ian M. Fallon

    @ #8 Blargh:

    Perhaps you’re just troll, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you don’t really know what Godwin’s Law means. Godwin does not mean trying to convince people of the correctness of one’s claims via emotional impact. It refers to the comparison to the Nazis in an inappropriate way to try to prove a claim. For example, if one were in a debate as to which computer company is better, Microsoft or Apple, if one were to compare either’s business practices to the Nazis that would be a Godwin. While I’m sure we can find examples of unethical business practices of both companies, a comparison to the Nazis is such an outlandish tactic that it typically suggests that the one making the comparison has run out of legitimate points to make in the discussion and has therefore lost the debate. Godwin does not apply if there is a reasonable application to the comparison. For example, comparing fascist Spain to Nazi Germany. In such a case the comparison is not necessarily an automatic Godwin.
    Using Dana’s picture in an Anti-Vax discussion is not by any stretch of the imagination a good analogy to Godwin’s Law for two reasons. First of all, showing that a lack of vaccination can lead to children’s untimely and unnecessary deaths is not a direct comparison to the Nazis. If Phil said something along the lines of, “These Anti-Vax people are killing children and are no better than Nazis!” That would be a Godwin. Saying, “A lack of vaccination can lead to children dying.” And then posting an example complete with the deceased child’s picture is not a Godwin.
    The other reason is that I can see two legitimate grounds for Phil using that picture. The first is to counter the Anti-Vax movement’s claim that Whooping Cough specifically and childhood illnesses in general do not kill. Dana is an example that this claim is at best wrong and at worst an outright lie. The second is a reason he has admitted to earlier. In addition to the factual claims he is using emotion to add impact to his side of the discussion. Besides the fact that that is not what Godwin’s Law means using emotion in a debate, the use of emotion is not automatically a dirty trick. In my opinion using emotion with the facts is a legitimate tactic. I would only consider it an illegitimate tactic if he were using emotion alone while either ignoring the facts or outright lying about them. Just as the Anti-Vax movement does.

  65. Blargh

    @ hosch

    Whooping cough is being misdiagnosed, these children are not being exposed to a virus.

    Nobody is claiming they are. Whooping cough is caused by a bacterium, Bordetella pertussis.

    Your story was an interesting read, though. Not because of its validity – you’re dead wrong on whooping cough (we know exactly what causes it; see above), and I’m pretty sure that the problems you’re experiencing aren’t due to flame retardants either – but because of its similarity to the accounts of those who claim to suffer from “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”.
    (Which, BTW, isn’t actually what they’re suffering from (please don’t get any ideas!) – it’s an entirely somatoform disorder, for which CBT has proven fairly effective.)

    @ csrster

    I’m 48 years old and have lived in four different countries but I’ve never once had a booster vaccine recommended to me by any doctor. I suppose I could rush round to my doctor now and ask for one, but I doubt the herd effect would be very effective if I’m the only adult in the whole damn country who’s had one. So why isn’t there more of a drive to get adults vaccinated?

    The prevalence of disease varies from place to place, and so does the recommended/mandatory immunization schedule. A cost/benefit analysis always has to be done. For example, there would be no reason to vaccinate the general public in, say, Norway against a tropical disease like yellow fever. Even if the prevalence is the same, the health officials and professionals in one region may come to a different cost/benefit conclusion than another – local conditions vary, including the current level of immunization (this is why chickenpox vaccination is recommended in some places but not in others, for example).

    TL;DR: it might well be that adult vaccination simply isn’t considered worth it whereever you live. It isn’t recommended where I live.

    @ Ian M. Fallon:
    I am very well aware of what Godwin’s Law is. It’s the following major properties that make it a valid comparison:
    * As an online discussion on health/social issues/etc grows longer, the probability of someone using a Kid Picture as ammunition approaches 1.
    * It’s a tired old cliché “argument”.
    * Anyone invoking it has automatically lost.

    “The X of Y” doesn’t mean “X”. It means “the equivalent of X for Y”.

  66. On “cocooning” (adults in contact with a newborn having a pertussis booster) see Natasha Burgert MD http://kckidsdoc.com/moms-and-dads-need-shots-too.html

    That’s the US recommendation, at any rate.

  67. flip

    @55 Hosch

    [Citation needed]

  68. L. Rosenblood @64: thanks for the link to your review of Miller & Blaylock’s mendacious book, the so-called “Vaccine Safety Handbook”.

    Readers wanting real information might want to look at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center.

  69. Nigel Depledge

    Chris 2 (54) said:

    Seriously, what do you call persons who sit back and reap the benefits of the actions of responsible persons, and at the same time declare they do not care what happens to anyone else? Do tell me what noun I should use for this group. Because all I can think of are names for parasites.

    Well, IIUC, behavioural zoologists use the term “cheaters” to cover individuals that exhibit such behaviours. The counterpart terms are “suckers” and “grudgers”.

  70. Nigel Depledge

    Hosch (55) said:

    This epidemic is being caused by toxic flame retardants that were newly introduced into foam matresses that many children are now sleeping on. I bought a foam matress this year, I have been experiencing mild to severe health issues the entire year, I had removed the matress from my room after one week because it would not air out, one year later I am shocked by the persistent, relentless, undiminished toxic properties of the chemicals in that matress. There is no doubt flame retardants are the cause of this. It’s going to be a schock when everyone realizes this, but that is the root of the problem.

    What utter rubbish.

    First of all, without an experimental control you have no idea what causes the changes in your health. Your are expounding the post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy as if it were a valid argument.

    Second, if the “flame retardents” (to use your term) were volatile enough for you to inhale a significant dose, they would also be volatile enough to disappear with a relatively short half-life. But they cannot do both.

  71. Nigel Depledge

    Hosch (55) said:

    This is what I’ve found.

    Without controlling for external factors, you have found no such thing.

    You might not believe me, but I am right.

    You are probably not right. You have certainly not demonstrated any such causal relationship. And there is absolutely no good reason for anyone else to believe your suppositions.

  72. popeye

    Nope, not going. I’ve seen far too much evidence that they’re deliberately putting stuff in the vaccines that does in fact cause autism and other neurological disorders. Just saying NO NO NO in bold font doesn’t change this. You got a problem with it, bring me and my boy to the doctor at the barrel of a gun.

  73. Chris2

    popeye:

    I’ve seen far too much evidence that they’re deliberately putting stuff in the vaccines that does in fact cause autism and other neurological disorders.

    Please provide the title, journal and date of the PubMed indexed papers with that evidence. If you fail to provide actual scientific documentation to support the above statement we will know that you are just parroting the fact-free screeds of various websites.

    And that you really do not understand the issues.

  74. ClayTwo

    In the United States, over half of the 2,480 compensation awards made made under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which total more than $2 billion dollars, have involved brain inflammation and encephalopathy resulting in permanent brain damage associated with whole cell and acelullar pertussis vaccine in DPT and DtaP shots.
    Previous research from Guinnea-Bissau demonstrated that a single dose of pertussis vaccine in DTP shots doubled the mortality rate in infants and more than quadrupled the mortality rate after the second and third DTP doses.
    A recent Danish study suggests many infant girls in Africa die after vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and that aluminum-derived adjuvants in the vaccine may play an important role. (Past studies have shown that pertussis toxin and endotoxin in whole cell pertussis vaccine are involved in the development of brain inflammation, shock and encephalopathy but the role of the aluminum adjuvant has been less clear).
    Mercury (thimerosal) preservatives and aluminum adjuvants are two additives commonly used in inactivated vaccines, including DPT vaccine. Although U.S. pertussis containing shots (DtaP/Tdap) no longer include mercury, they still contain aluminum. Mercury is used as a preservative and aluminum advjuvants are used to boost immune responses in an attempt to reduce the need for booster shots. However, both mercury and aluminum are known neurotoxins and can cause serious side effects when injected into the body.

  75. flip

    @74 Popeye

    [Citation needed] especially for that bit about “deliberately”.

    @76 ClayTwo

    Nobody says that vaccines are 100% safe. They do have many side effects, most minor but in some rare cases, severe. As usual anti-vaxxers (you) forget about risk/benefit analyses and would prefer millions of children suffer far more often and far more severe side effects from the actual diseases than from the vaccines which actually reduce illness and death.

    As for the rest of your comment… try visiting some non-anti-vax sites. These comments about ‘toxins’ have been dealt with a billion times before.

    You didn’t come here via Respectful Insolence did you? Sounds awfully familiar…

    PS. If you wish to cite a study as proof, it’s useful to actually post the title, authors, name of publication, etc. Instead of just alluding to it, since there are many studies out there on vaccines.

  76. Mandatory vaccinations for everyone, exceptions for medical reasons only, no ifs, ands or buts. If you don’t openly support this you are also responsible for these deaths. Taken to extremes, libertarianism kills babies.

  77. Nigel Depledge

    Popeye (74) said:

    Nope, not going. I’ve seen far too much evidence that they’re deliberately putting stuff in the vaccines that does in fact cause autism and other neurological disorders.

    Come on then, don’t just tease.

    What evidence?

    Just saying NO NO NO in bold font doesn’t change this.

    Erm, no.

    That’s why we have bucketloads of epidemiological evidence to confirm that there is no significant link between (for instance) thimerosal and autism, or between the MMR vaccine and autism. This is all in the scientific literature.

    The anti-vax pro-disease crowd, OTOH, have precisely zero evidence.

    Of course, you claim otherwise. So, ante up.

    You got a problem with it, bring me and my boy to the doctor at the barrel of a gun.

    So, you do not admit even the remote possibility that people who study disease, and have done so for decades, might know more about it than you do? I call that some huge arrogance.

  78. Nigel Depledge

    ClayTwo (76) said:

    In the United States, over half of the 2,480 compensation awards made made under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, which total more than $2 billion dollars, have involved brain inflammation and encephalopathy resulting in permanent brain damage associated with whole cell and acelullar pertussis vaccine in DPT and DtaP shots.

    So?

    The so-called “Vaccine Court” has the lowest standards of evidence anywhere. All they require for something to be decided is a smidge over 50% likelihood.

    Most of the settlements in the “Vaccine Court” would not have had enough evidence to support a case in a criminal court.

    And even fewer – perhaps actually zero – would have had enough evidence to support a scientific conclusion.

    Also, consider this : is half of 2480 (i.e. 1240) a big number? If this represents one month, or if it represents all applications of the DPT or DtaP vaccine, then it would be. However, my suspicion is that those 1240 cases are out of several million (or several tens of millions of) doses of the vaccine. Which is a damn sight better than the rate you might expect from the diseases that are prevented by the vaccine.

    Previous research from Guinnea-Bissau demonstrated that a single dose of pertussis vaccine in DTP shots doubled the mortality rate in infants and more than quadrupled the mortality rate after the second and third DTP doses.

    [Citation needed]

    A recent Danish study suggests many infant girls in Africa die after vaccination with diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine and that aluminum-derived adjuvants in the vaccine may play an important role. (Past studies have shown that pertussis toxin and endotoxin in whole cell pertussis vaccine are involved in the development of brain inflammation, shock and encephalopathy but the role of the aluminum adjuvant has been less clear).

    [Citation needed]

    Mercury (thimerosal) preservatives and aluminum adjuvants are two additives commonly used in inactivated vaccines, including DPT vaccine. Although U.S. pertussis containing shots (DtaP/Tdap) no longer include mercury,

    Yes, and autism rates are rising despite the withdrawal of thimerosal.

    they still contain aluminum. Mercury is used as a preservative and aluminum advjuvants are used to boost immune responses in an attempt to reduce the need for booster shots. However, both mercury and aluminum are known neurotoxins and can cause serious side effects when injected into the body.

    No. Well, kind of.

    But the way you have phrased this is misleading at best, and deliberately deceptive at worst.

    No vaccine (AFAICT) has ever contained elemental mercury, which is indeed a neurotoxin. Thimerosal is metabolised to ethyl mercury, which is rapidly cleared from the body. The toxic dose of elemental mercury is quite high – the hazard lies mainly in the fact that elemental mercury is accumulated as methyl mercury in the body, so repeated (chronic) exposure leads to toxic effects. Ethyl mercury does not do this.

    As for aluminium, it largely depends on the salt form, and on the dose. Aluminium is, in fact, “remarkably non-toxic” (source : Wikipedia’s page on Aluminium). In high doses it can cause neurotoxicity, but vaccine adjuvants do not count as high doses.

    Also, if you lead a typical western lifestyle, you almost certainly smear yourself with aluminium chlorohydrate every single morning, because it is the active ingredient in antiperspirants.

  79. JT

    Although I was vaccinated for pertussis as a child, I did contract the disease a few years ago while in college. At that point, I was unaware that I was close-to-due for a booster shot, as were most of my friends, who (like me) had no concept of what having whooping cough actually means. In my case, I never learned where I got the illness, and luckily it didn’t seem to spread onto my friends and family. The condition itself is dangerous, unpleasant, and disruptive of normal routines, if not worse. I hope that people will continue to raise awareness as to the importance of vaccinations in reducing incidence of this and other preventable conditions–so others don’t continue to needlessly suffer!

  80. Chris2

    Just to add to what JT said: the immunity wanes even if you have had the actual disease. So you will still need boosters. See:

    Pediatr Infect Dis J. 2005 May;24(5 Suppl):S58-61.
    Duration of immunity against pertussis after natural infection or vaccination.

  81. John Krehbiel

    I’m checking my booster status right away. Got a first grandbaby on the way.

    Gee I hope I don’t get TEH AUTIZZZMMMMZ!

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