Whooping Cough Deaths ‘Preventable’

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An outbreak in California has some wondering about the connection between the disease and the anti-vaccination movement.

Would you protect your kids against any harm? Even if it meant you and the rest of your family had to submit to vaccines?

Now that an outbreak in California of whooping cough — a disease that is prevented in those that have vaccinations against it — has claimed its 10th victim under 3 months of age, many wonder how serious parents are about keeping their children safe and healthy. Reports The Atlantic:

While it’s difficult to draw a straight line between the anti-vaccination movement and the increased number of cases of once-rare diseases, the California HealthCare Foundation reports that at the same time the state was dealing with the 2009 pertussis epidemic, the number of students who were enrolled in schools without their vaccines tripled.

And the problem isn’t going away. The highly contagious bacterial disease, also called pertussis, is on the rise. In California, cases of whooping cough “jumped 61 percent in one year,” reports The Atlantic adding:

Those number are all the more horrifying when you consider this: Before it became somewhat more culturally acceptable to not vaccinate your kid, America had all but relegated pertussis to the waste bin of Western diseases. The pertussis vaccine has been around since 1926 and was combined with the diphtheria and tetanus shots in 1948. (The shot was updated in 1999.)

Health officials urge anyone who hasn’t had a pertussis vaccination in the past five years to get one, and to have their children vaccinated too. It’s particularly important for adults who come in contact with babies who are younger than 8 weeks and are too young to be vaccinated. Nine of the 10 who died were less than 8 weeks old, said CNN.

“This is a preventable disease,” Michael Sicilia, a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, told CNN.

Stacy Johnson

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