Having an autistic child is not the end of the world--far from it. It is my hope that through this blog, at least a handful of people will get to understand that. My child is amazing, she brings us tremendous joy. We have good days & bad days, but we CHOOSE to focus on the good. Our belief is that by loving our daughter, giving her the most comfortable environment we can, and by most of all accepting her differences, she will continue to blossom--in her OWN way.

6/6/08

Whooping Cough, Again...

Whooping cough has again made the news in recent weeks. The subject has hit closer to home for me, as there have been cases in an elementary school not far from where I live. I have contacted that county's Department of Health--as thus far the media nor the county's website have spoken of these. I do have confirmation (letters from the school officials) however that there are indeed cases. Will update as I receive more information.

So often, people who are anti-vaccine tout that measles and whooping cough really aren't that bad. They tend to cite a child they knew who got one of the diseases and is fine. As I've mentioned before, whooping cough nor measles are anything to take lightly. And, certainly for the parents who have lost a child due to either of these diseases, these diseases are an absolute nightmare.

Last month, the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante, California closed down due to a whooping cough outbreak. As the writer, Matt Keller, notes in his article, this entire event, and the whooping cough is "easy to avoid with a simple vaccine." An unknown writer at the San Francisco Chronicle ends his May 28 (2008, on page B-8 of the newspaper) editorial with this,

The Waldorf school closure offers some perspective: There is a risk in any medical decision - including the decision not to act. In this case, the choice of each parent became the shared infection of an entirely preventable disease.
There's also this report out today, that reminds us of the importance of booster shots. And, at the very least, of ensuring those who work with the youngest in our population are immunized against these diseases (and, also trained to realize symptoms and to not continue work when symptoms may be related to whooping cough or other serious, fatal diseases):

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Public health officials investigating a 2004 outbreak of whooping cough, or pertussis, among newborns in Texas identified the source as a health-care worker where the babies were born.

Staff members at a children's hospital in Texas noticed that six infants admitted with whooping cough had been born during the first half of June at the same general hospital.

A review of records uncovered a total of 11 such infants, on average about a month old, whose symptoms included cough, congestion, vomiting and arrested breathing. Nine infants had to be admitted to the hospital, including five treated in the intensive care unit.

According to their report in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, J. L. Hood and colleagues identified a 24-year-old health-care worker who had symptoms of cough, which brought on vomiting, and difficulty breathing while working in the newborn nursery from early June until mid July.

During that time she directly cared for 113 infants, including the 11 who came down with whooping cough.

All the babies recovered after treatment.

The health-care worker in this case had been fully immunized against pertussis during childhood. However, the CDC points out in an editorial note that the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that health-care workers with direct patient contact and adults who have close contact with infants should be given the Tdap (tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid and acellular pertussis) vaccine.

SOURCE: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 6, 2008.

I wrote yesterday about "Do Vaccines Cause That?" One of the sections that really stood out was regarding pertussis (whooping cough) and outbreaks that occurred following concerns over the vaccines. It is startling. And one can only wonder, when will we learn from history?
Because of the concerns about whole-cell pertussis vaccine, immunization rates had dropped in 1978 from 80% to 30% in the United Kingdom—and whooping cough epidemics soon followed. Indeed, between 1977 and 1979 the United Kingdom experienced 102,500 cases of whooping cough with 36 deaths...
Bold for emphasis by me, of course. Does that register with anyone who doesn't give their child the pertussis vaccine? 102,500 cases in 2 years, 36 deaths. Are you really willing to gamble your child's life?
In Japan a national debate resulted in the Ministry of Health and Welfare changing the recommended age for immunization because of concerns about the whole-cell pertussis vaccine’s safety and claims that it was no longer necessary to immunize because pertussis was not present in the community any more. Vaccine coverage for infants fell from about 85% in 1974 to 14% in 1976.4 Then, in 1979, a whooping cough epidemic resulted in 13,105 cases and 41 deaths. In the early 1980s Japan re-introduced pertussis-containing vaccines—using the newer acellular pertussis vaccines that cause less fever and local reactions—and the number of cases of whooping cough went down.8

Sweden had a similar experience. After discontinuing pertussis vaccine, rates of whooping cough returned to the levels seen in the prevaccine era. Of 2,282 who were hospitalized for whooping cough in 1981–1983, 4% had brain injury from the illness.4
Again, figures put in bold by me. 13,105 cases in one year, with 41 deaths in Japan. In Sweden, you have 2,282 children hospitalized, 4% of those have brain injury. Again, I ask--are you willing to gamble your child's life? To hold onto a belief that cannot be supported by any scientific data (that vaccines cause autism), and make serious (possibly life or death) decisions regarding your child's health is at best utter ignorance and selfishness, at worst, child endangerment.

Still feel whooping cough is no big deal? Watch this. And don't turn it off after 2 seconds, thinking your unvaccinated child is somehow "immune" from this. Watch the entire video. This is what whooping cough is. This is what a non-immunized child could sound and look like if they catch this horrible disease.

EDITED: I altered the time on this, as I wanted it to be the lead story for the day (not Jenny on TV)

9 comments:

Ms. Clark said...

I think we all ought to have pertussis parties, don't you? :-(

Club 166 said...

It's not surprising that a Waldorf school was implicated in this. Steiner (whose teachings serve as the basis of the Waldorf schools) was very anti-vaccination.

There have been whooping cough outbreaks connected to the Waldorf school in Boulder, as well as measles outbreaks connected to a Waldorf school in Germany.

Joe

S.L. said...

Ms. Clark:
OMG--I had totally forgotten about the "chicken pox" parties until I read your comment. Oh, yes, what great fun. It still amazes me how many ignorant parents exist in this world. Very sad.

Joe:
Thanks for those links. I had never heard of these schools or their belief system until this story came up. Unbelievable...

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting that you have all those statistics about death or long-term damage as a result of whooping cough. Where are your statistics about the documented side effects of vaccination? Death and permanent brain damage are included in possible vaccine side effects. Have you heard of Dr. Sears, a well-respected pediatrician and author of numerous books? Even he has concerns about the recommended vaccination schedule and offers an alternative one in his "The Vaccine Book". Have you bothered to research the ingredients of what is injected into tiny little babies as early as the first or second day of their life? (the Hep B vaccine - mostly transmitted through needle sharing and sexual intercourse - a real danger among infants) Aluminum is a major ingredient of concern - there has not been a single study about the safety (or danger) of aluminum in vaccines. Never mind the formaldehyde - do you know what the safe level of formaldehyde is? Oh yeah, it isn't safe at ANY level.

I'm amazed that as a parent of an autistic child you can exclude vaccinations as a cause with such conviction. I highly recommend "The Vaccine Book" to any parent or parent-to-be. It isn't an anti-vaccination rant. In fact he recommends most vaccinations, but he actually lists all ingredients in all vaccines which is information that is hard to come by because it would make people think twice about vaccinating. It's enough to make you cringe. It actually reaffirmed my decision NOT to vaccinate my daughter. I'm not excluding the possibility of selective vaccination in the future, but for now she has not been touched by the needle. She will be 19 months next week and actually has the whooping cough at this moment. It is definitely a scary disease and I don't wish it on any child, but she is strong and healthy otherwise and we're already well on our way to recovery.

I understand why people vaccinate their children, but I also understand why some choose not to. What I don't understand is blind faith in the medical and pharmaceutical community where it's all about profit. Don't get me wrong, they come up with some good stuff, but certainly not all of it.

Well, I have more to say, but it's bedtime...

Have at me!

Oh, yeah, I'm posting anonymous because I don't feel like taking the time to open an account now...

Anonymous said...

I don't honestly think the severity of the disease has really hit home for any of you. When I was vaccinated against whooping cough, I had an allergic reaction to the shot. Yes, I acknowledge that at this point, my mother feared for my life, as I was very young, and it was a traumatic experience for her. HOWEVER, when I was 9, I contracted pertussis. I began to feel sick around the last week of October, and could not return to school until the following April. THIS DISEASE IS NOT A GAME. After losing my ability to eat, as the coughing spells were triggered by any movement I made at all, I lost 20 lbs. which is an incredible amount of weight for a 9 year old to lose (given that yes, I was overweight when I contracted the disease). When first hospitalized, They told me I was simply being dramatic, and the sickness would fade when my want to be sick did as well. Now here I have to stop and say that the fault is not simply on the parents. Many doctors do not even know what to look for with this disease, as in my case, and even though I was clearly not vaccinated, they did not test me for the disease for several months. WE NEED TO EDUCATE EVERYONE. After several weeks in the ICU, they finally diagnosed me with pertussis (after a terrible encounter with a wire Q-tip and the back of my nasal passage) and began a course on introvenus antibiotics. I was better in a few weeks. Now, however, AT 19 YEARS OLD, I STILL EXPERIENCE SIDE EFFECTS TODAY. There are words my mind will simply not hold, I have a slight tick in my left eye, and yes, when I become ill with a respiratory infection or ailment, I STILL WHOOP. It actually hurts, to "whoop" as they call it, and suprisingly I have never heard mention of this when the subject is being addressed. It is in my opinion that it is the painful whooping that causes the tearing and drooling associated with the disease.
NOW STOP.THINK. Do you really want your child to have to go through this, when it could have been prevented by a simple shot?

Alan said...

I'm afraid there's no such thing as a simple shot!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, you just reconfirmed why I don't trust doctors. I could have diagnosed you in a day using WebMD. Whooping cough is horrible and I am very sorry you had to go through that and continue to deal with the lasting effects.
To the other Anonymous, thank you for your insight. The vaccine ingredients are horrifying to the point I would feel better if my kid smoked cigarettes.

To the author, I'm sure you're very nice. My suggestion is that you never gamble using real money. You don't understand how to play the odds. I am not a parent, but I look at all of these autistic children and see $$$. Autism will most likely be a lifelong issue costing lots of money. Measles, mumps, rubella have been around forever and can be cured in most cases.

Regardless, hard choice as a parent either way.

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