Incidence of whooping cough highest in 50 years; consequence of anti-vax?

I think the article chickens out by not even touching on the issue of the anti-vaccination crowd.

It may be a consequence of the anti-vax crowd, but it may also be a consequence of parents slacking up on follow-up boosters.

Personally, I thinks its a consequence of 50 yrs of vaxing. It has finally taken it’s toll!

It does seem like quite a coincidence. I know of 2 families in my area alone (and it’s a sparsely populated area) that have had infants with whooping cough in the last month. One died and the other is not doing well at all. They both developed it before they were old enough to be vaccinated.

Yes. I realize that anecdotes do not equal data.

Of course it’s because of the anti-vax crowd. It isn’t a coincidence that this irrational fear of vaccination coincides with a sudden jump in the disease the vaccination is meant to prevent.

Some of the older vaccinations do not last. I was vaccinated as a youth, and then got it last year.

It could well be that the too many anti-vax “free riders” have weakened our herd immunity.

Individual liberty trumps one of medicine’s greatest achievements…almost matches unrestricted use of antibiotics for idiocy :smack:

Same here, although for me it was 7 years ago. The old vaccines simply don’t last.

I am not defending the anti-vaccination folks (with whom I disagree strongly), but this article says specifically that anti-vaccination sentiment does not seem to be the source of the problem:

Yes, but more like no. Vaccines don’t protect perfectly. That is why herd immunity is needed to prevent outbreaks like this. When herd immunity is gone (and most often it is gone because of anti-vaccination fears) this is what happens.

I guess I don’t understand your logic. If the whooping cough cases are mostly among vaccinated children, how is that caused by lack of vaccination? Sounds more like the vaccine is failing.

Vaccines aren’t 100% effective, generally speaking. If you take 1000 kids who have been vaccinated and expose them all to the pathogen, a small number (say 3 or 4) will get it anyway. If virtually the whole population is vaccinated however, these children (the 3 or 4 that are vulnerable to the disease, despite having received the vaccine) will be too few in number and too spread out to sustain an outbreak. The disease will be unable to gain a foothold in the population because it will be unable to “find” enough new hosts. This is what “herd immunity” means.

Herd immunity will protect the few people for whom the vaccine doesn’t work, plus maybe a few others who aren’t vaccinated for whatever reason. But once a certain number of people decide not to be vaccinated, the herd immunity is broken.

That’s why not having your kids vaccinated effects other people as well. If everyone is vaccinated, some will still be vulnerable but we’ll never know who, because they’ll never get the disease due to herd immunity. But if a bunch of idiots don’t vaccinate their children, then people who were vaccinated can start to get sick too.

Edit: After reading your linked article, I understand your post better. Presumably the CDC knows more about this situation than I do. Perhaps this outbreak is just a natural spike, or due to changing the vaccine in the early '90’s. But it is possible to have an outbreak due to broken herd immunity in which most of the sick were vaccinated.

Yeah, I think that’s had a large non-zero effect. I know that anti-vax claims have made a lot of otherwise rational parents wary of having their kids immunized…anecdotally I’ve seen it many times, even in my own (extended) family. After the numbers reach a certain level then you are going to have more outbreaks, and I think that’s what we are seeing. Sadly, it’s usually not the idiotic parents who decide to rely on everyone else immunizing their kid who pays the price. It’s certainly not the anti-vax idiots who usually pay the price either, unfortunately.


It doesn’t seem to be a clear-cut case of low vaccine uptake being responsible for pertussis outbreaks.

The current vaccine is not as good at inducing long-term immunity as the older whole-cell vaccine (which had a higher incidence of side effects). Older children and adults, even if they were vaccinated may develop pertussis and spread it to younger kids whether or not they were vaccinated (no vaccine is 100% effective). Complicating analysis are pertussis-like infections due to other organisms and false-positive test results.

There is some indication that lack of vaccination may play a role, at least in certain pertussis outbreaks.

One antivax meme you will often hear is that in such outbreaks most of the afflicted have been vaccinated. True but deceptive - since the vast majority of kids usually have been vaccinated, it stands to reason that a majority of those infected will fall into that group. Typically however the percentage of those infected is considerably higher in the unvaccinated group.

My fully-vaccinated daughter got pertussis when she was 9 years old. The failure rates on some vaccines can be as high as 20%, the pediatric resident told me at the time.

Now we’re finding that protection is not a life long event, and the effectiveness of vaccines can dwindle over time. There’s been a big public health campaign in my state for adults to get pertussis boosters.

I heard on the radio it was because you need boosters. I can’t recall getting any shots after I was 10. My mother wasn’t the most stable person so she probably never followed through.

I asked my doctor about it when I was 30 and he told me not to worry, I probably had what I was suppose to, but I don’t know.

How would one find out? I could ask my mom but as I said, she’s not mentally all together so it’d probably be 50/50 if I had them or not.

You should ask your doctor for a DTaP shot. It’s not expensive and will vaccinate you against whooping cough and tetanus. I got a booster recently (at age 34) because I hadn’t had a tetanus or pertussis booster since I was 18. If you haven’t had any shots since you were 10, I’d get a new doctor.

I contracted whooping cough last winter. I had no idea what it was, and since it always seemed to get better, I kept putting off going to the doctor- between time off and my copay, I was motivated to believe it was just allergies. A few days after I finally shook it, I looked up the symptoms and was really surprised to find out what it was.

Due to job changes and insurance changes by employers many, if not most, Americans will not have the same doctor for more than a handful of years. As for myself, I think I have had 10 different primary care doctors since I finished college 27 years ago. All were in the same city. One died, one retired, I have had 6 different jobs in that time, and the one I was at the longest (almost 10 years) changed insurance providers twice in that time. And this doesn’t count the ones who saw me for “urgent care” for things that couldn’t wait on a three-week off appointment. I honestly can’t even remember the name of several(most?) of the PCPs. I think I may have seen the same Doctor a maximum of four times, and most of them only once or twice. <Checks forum> This is the reality of the healthcare system Republicans claim is “the best in the world.”