The Centers for Disease Control reports that “since the 1980s, there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of cases of pertussis, especially among teens (10–19 years of age) and babies less than 5 months of age. In 2005, there were more than 25,000 total reported cases.”
Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, begins much like the common cold. It is most contagious before the coughing begins. As the disease progresses, violent coughing affects the ability to breathe, causing the loud whooping sound, and can lead to pneumonia or convulsions. More than 50 percent of infants under the age of one who contract whooping cough must be hospitalized. Death is rare, but 10 – 20 people in the United States die each year from pertussis.
Pertussis is one of several preventable childhood illnesses making a comeback in recent years, as an increasing number of parents are opting not to have their children immunized.
We’ve become rather complacent about diseases that have all but disappeared, while we wrestle with our fears about newer and more frightening monsters. These childhood vaccinations we so take for granted have changed the way we live and completely altered our expectations. Prior to the advent of vaccines to prevent pertussis, polio, tetanus, and other serious childhood diseases, it was commonplace to lose children in infancy or childhood.
If you have questions or concerns about the safety or effectiveness of childhood vaccinations, perform your own due diligence. Schedule an appointment with your family doctor or pediatrician. Get your information from reputable sources, and research the facts. Only after you’ve done all that will you be able to make an informed decision, one that is in the best interests of your family. Then it’s up to you.
Photo Credit: Centers For Disease Control/ Judy Schmidt