Whooping Cough Making a Comeback in South Carolina
Thanks anti-vaxxers! For the last decade a growing number of parents have bought into a lie made up by a man who not only was marketing his own alternative vaccine but had his medical license pulled when he was caught experimenting on children. That lie is that vaccines cause autism.
The lie has had devastating consequences as diseases once eradicated have resurfaced in America, killing children. While Whooping cough poses little threat to an adult, infants can easily die from the disease. Now it’s on the rise in South Carolina and in the coming years dozens if not hundreds of babies will die at the hands of ignorant and uninformed parents:
The illness also known as pertussis is on the rise in South Carolina.
It seems no more perilous than a common cold at first, but whooping cough can be serious and sometimes even deadly.
In the first five months of this year, it struck twice the number of people as during the same period in the previous three years, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Childhood vaccinations are the best prevention. But state health officials also are urging the state Legislature to make a booster shot mandatory for seventh-graders by the 2011-12 school year.
DHEC this month issued an alert to physicians around the state to expect more cases of this highly contagious respiratory disease, often marked by a high-pitched “whoop” as children struggle to catch their breath.
“It looks like a cold for about a week; then the cough starts and is so severe that kids gag themselves and vomit, and they may turn red or blue in the face,” said Dr. Robin LaCroix, director of pediatric infectious disease at Greenville Hospital System’s Children’s Hospital.
“Most cases are in children younger than 6,” she said, “and in the state of South Carolina, we’ve had two deaths in the past five years.”
A century ago, there were about 160,000 cases of pertussis and 5,000 deaths nationwide annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number dropped to about 1,000 cases in the 1970s after widespread vaccination began. But by 2008, more than 13,000 cases were recorded, including 18 deaths.
And there is some evidence that more people aren’t having their children vaccinated, or spacing the vaccinations out to avoid side effects, perceived or real, he said.
“Pertussis is not one of our most effective vaccines — its efficacy is around 70 percent — so even fully immunized children can still come down with pertussis,” he said. “And until you have had the three primary series, you’re not going to be as protected as you can be.”
Pertussis doesn’t strike any one group more than others, except for the unvaccinated, he said, noting that a recent measles outbreak was linked to children who hadn’t been vaccinated.
To be fair illegal immigration has also contributed to the rise of diseases common in the third world as we see exploding populations of people who have not gone through medical screenings, but the fact is the anti-vaccine movement is a growing fad that endangers the lives of children.
Don’t get me wrong, there are concerns with our vaccine happy medical establishment. The quickly rolled out swine flu immunizations proves that there isn’t enough research being done. But parents need to use common sense and stop getting their medical advice from celebrities and Wikipedia before their child spreads a deadly disease to other children.