Unvaccinated kids blamed for whooping cough outbreak

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doctorChildren who did not get vaccinated against whooping cough contributed to the 2010 outbreak of the illness, when more cases were reported than in any year since 1947, researchers say.

Researchers who looked at the geography of the cases suggest that clusters of “nonmedical exemptions” to immunizations were one of several factors in the California outbreak. They reported their findings Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

In California in 2010, there were 9,120 cases of the illness that’s also called pertussis — one-third of all the U.S. cases. Los Angeles had 1,000 of those cases. Whooping cough is a respiratory ailment marked by bouts of coughing that are accompanied by a noise that can frighten parents — hence the name.

An earlier study published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that the DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis) vaccine loses some effectiveness after the fifth of the five recommended doses. That, too, was part of the reason for the outbreak, the Pediatrics scientists say. They also list the cyclical nature of pertussis and improved diagnosis as reasons for the high numbers.

The researchers from several institutions, including Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the California Department of Public Health, found 39 clusters with high rates of non-immunization and two clusters of pertussis among children entering kindergarten from 2005 through 2010. More cases occurred within the non-immunized clusters than outside of them, the scientists said.

Read more at latimes.com

4 comments

  • Jim

    As it turns out, 90 percent of those affected by an ongoing whooping cough epidemic that was officially declared in the state of Vermont on December 13, 2012, were vaccinated against the condition — and some of these were vaccinated two or more times in accordance with official government recommendations. As reported by the Burlington Free Press, at least 522 cases of whooping cough were confirmed by Vermont authorities, which was about 10 times the normal amount from previous years. Since that time, nearly 100 more cases have been confirmed, bringing the official total as of January 15, 2013, to 612 cases. The majority of those affected, according to Vermont state epidemiologist Patsy Kelso, are in the 10-14-year-old age group, and 90 percent of those confirmed have already been vaccinated one or more times for pertussis.

    Vast majority of those affected by all recent whooping cough outbreaks were already vaccinated

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