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6th Infant Dies in California, Possibly From Whooping Cough

6th Infant Dies in California, Possibly From Whooping Cough

At the end of June, officials in California declared an epidemic of whooping cough in the state, after the deaths of five infants all under the age of three months. Now the July 19th Los Angeles Times reports that another infant in Los Angeles County has possibly died from the disease; two of the babies who died earlier lived in Los Angeles County. Infants under the age of six months are especially vulnerable to get whooping cough as even those who have been vaccinated have yet to develop immunity.

Vaccination Recommended for Young Children, the Elderly, Pregnant Women
On Monday, the California Department of Public Health issued a recommendation that not only infants, but also children aged 7 and older, and adults aged 64 and older, get the pertussis vaccine. Women who are of child-bearing age are also being strongly encouraged to get the vaccine before, during, and immediately after pregnancy, as are those who come into contact with pregnant women or infants. 

Some 1,500 cases of whopping cough have been reported in California this year—nearly five times as many as last year. More about the state’s pertussis immunization policy can be found here.

Claims of a Vaccine-Autism Connection Have Hurt Vaccination Rates
Having followed for some years the claims of those who think that vaccines or something in vaccines might be linked to autism—and who have exhorted people to spread out vaccines for their children and even not to have their children vaccinated—I have to say, I’m saddened but not entirely surprised to hear about what’s going on in California. 

Talk to any parent of a young child these days and you discover, they’ve not only heard about a purported (though discredited) vaccine-autism link, bu tthey’re scared about what vaccines ‘could do’ to their child.  Parents of young children hear plenty about autism. The latest reports about autism research—about using voice recorders to detect autism, about observing the picky eating habits of young children—tend to be about new methods of detecting the neurodevelopmental disability in young (and younger and younger) children. All that it takes for a parent to hear some internet buzz linking vaccines to autism and a dangerous seed is planted about the purported ’causes of autism.’

Make sure your kids’s vaccines are up to date. And make sure that your own are, too.

Children can die from whooping cough. Not from autism.

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Photo by Andrew Rueda.

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83 comments

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9:50AM PDT on Sep 20, 2011

according to what people here say, if the baby ate better and didn't live with filthy people, they'd of lived.

or was it the baby didn't get an immune boost from being licked by animals, playing with mud and breast feeding?

2:40AM PDT on Aug 6, 2010

Vaccinating for everything known and a few things only dreamed of may debilitate the immune system. If the body does not experience the disease when the child is a host, the adult's immune system is not "programmed" to react to it when it visits again. This could also visit an infant as a sort of "legacy" infestation brought on by parents whose immune systems were not exposed to a given disease.

8:26AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

I'm obviously in the minority here, but I do not believe vaccines are safe. I am very sorry about these babies, but the whooping cough outbreak has been traced back largely to those who have been vaccinated (not the babies, obviously, but those they caught it from) because the vaccine does not work. The discredited autism link you write about is hardly a case-closed scenario. No safety test has been done on the vaccine program in its entirety, far more is spent on marketing than safety at all, and the studies that show that vaccines are not linked to autism suffer from serious flaws and are mostly conducted by big Pharma. I don't think there has been one independent non-conflicted study showing vaccine safey. And you say children can't die from autism. Maybe not directly, but they can certainly die as a result. How many drownings have we read about? Just this week an autistic man was left to die in a 100 degree van (left for 5 hours). And though 6 babies have dies of whooping cough, I believe that in the last 4 months, more than 6 autistic children have been murdered by their mothers. To call the whooping cough an epidemic and to dismiss autism - which is reaching record numbers, officials are now admitting that they cannot rule out an environmental trigger, yet no definite explanation can be given for the increase - as something children don't die from is both irresponsible and insulting the hundreds of thousands of families struggling with autism.

3:52AM PDT on Jul 30, 2010

School is going to start up in a couple of weeks. I hope all the school districts in California check on the vaccination status of it's students and teachers.

2:42PM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

The saddest thing about this is how we're starting to see that unvaccinated children are not the only ones at risk. As described, even with the vaccine infants that young have not developed immunity. Thus, they are depending on herd immunity to keep them unexposed until they can fight off the disease on their own. As this decreases, more such death will happen. Jenner would be devastated if he were alive to see this.

I say this every time: the math DOES NOT LIE. Even if every single claim against vaccines were true, I would still give them to my children because their odds are better with them than without them.

Many people continue to fear vaccines in spite of the evidence, supposedly preferring the devil they know to the devil they don't, but in the end it's still irrational. Would the same folks stop using seatbelts because a handful of people got trapped and died in unusual wrecks? Would they avoid driving with headlights at night because it makes them more visible "targets?" The alleged odds of side effects were similar vaccines, never mind how shoddy the research was or how thoroughly it has been debunked.

Bottom line: If you really care for the well-being of your children, stop with the fear and ignorance. Study the data for yourself.

8:00AM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

this is an emotionally charged issue, with both sides having strong opinions and neither side is going to be convinced by the other's arguments.

i think, in fairness, that if a parent wants to forgo vaccinating their child, they should - HOWEVER, since we live in society, and there are attendant responsibilities, along with rights, that come with living in society, those parents have to understand that if/when their child contracts, say, pertussis, then it's their responsibility to care for them. quarantine should be established, like in the 'good old pre-vaccine days'. all household members should be quarantined, in their house, with no exceptions. they should provide all care for their sick child. and, if/when that child dies, it's their responsibility, as well.
people should have the right to self-determination, however, that right does not extend to the point where their self-determination causes harm to me and mine. so, if you choose to not vaccinate, then you have to accept quarantine. and, like in the 'good old days', if you break quarantine, then you face civil and criminal penalties.

1:25PM PDT on Jul 26, 2010

Misinformation has led too many people to not get their kids vaccinated.

10:04PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

We have been told for decades that certain immunities can be passed to baby by breastfeeding, but nobody ever says which ones.Where is the research if any, showing how breast fed babies compare with formula fed babies on disease rates. I suspect profits on vaccines as well as profits on infant formula are all behind the downplay of breastfeedings benefits.

8:42PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

my father's brother died of whooping cough. back then there was no vaccination available for it. i too, was very hesitant to get immunizations for my third child, as while i was staying in a hospital with him after a surgery, i talked to a woman who said they were dangerous, but not for autism. that was 25 years ago & after much procastion, & threats from my x husband, i finally had him immunized. he is healthy to this day.

4:41PM PDT on Jul 25, 2010

Sorry. Lived all over the world and then as an adult in Ontario Canada nearly died from Chicken Pox. I believe in vaccinations, as it does bring a higher standard of health to countries and everyone should study those stats! If there had been one for chicken pox, looking back on what I went through and winding up with adult respiratory disease because of it I would tell everyone, everyhwere to get the vaccine. Again, everything must be montitored and ingredients should be 'safe'. And the parents that are not immunizing have that choice. Here in Canada a child cannot attend public or private school without the vaccinations.

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