Whooping Cough Epidemic Declared in California

After the recent deaths of five infants—all under the age of three months and all Latino—from whooping cough in California, state health officials have declared the disease an epidemic. According to the June 23rd New York Times, 910 cases of whooping cough have so far been confirmed this year in California, and ‘several hundred more are under investigation.’ At such a pace—a fourfold increase since 2009—this could be the largest outbreak of whooping cough in years in California.  

In recent years, vaccination rates for infectious diseases like whooping cough (pertussis) have decreased as some parents have feared that vaccines or something in vaccines might be linked to autism. Dr. Joseph Scherger is quoted in KQED (June 23rd) as noting that “‘There has been that fear of vaccines and the fear of autism is one.’” But beliefs that there is a ‘vaccine-autism’ link are unfounded, and are being refuted by more and more scientific studies

Nonetheless, the extent of this fear is such that parents have chosen to delay their children’s vaccinations, or, in some cases, not to vaccinate their children at all. Choosing not to vaccinate your child has ramifications for the health of everybody, as it threatens herd immunity. Herd immunity means that, as a sufficient number of members of a community have been vaccinated, those who are not vaccinated (and who are therefore susceptible to infectious diseases) are protected. However, herd immunity is lessened as fewer children are immunized.

2009 Pediatrics study noted that children who do not get the whooping cough vaccine are 23 times more likely to get the illness than a fully immunized child; public health officials in California are encouraging residents to make sure their children’s vaccinations are up to date. Symptoms of whooping cough are listed here (via the Mayo Clinic’s site). A cough and a running nose that last for a week or two are the first symptoms to look out for; the cough then becomes more serious, with a whooping-like sound. 

As Dr. Scherger says, whooping cough is ‘”….especially deadly to infants and young children…..But in adults it could cause a pretty severe persistent infection.’”


William C
William C6 months ago


W. C
W. C6 months ago

Thank you for the information.

Vallee R.
Vallee R8 years ago


Lindsey DTSW
.8 years ago

Ann G, you may have had the mumps and chicken pox and still be 'alive and well', but not everyone who gets such things does as well - some will die, some will have serious complications, and some will just be inconvenienced. But you never know which category you're going to end up in.

And even years later problems can occur - I had chicken pox as a young child and at age 50 came down with shingles. And still have lingering nerve pain from it two years later. All because of the chicken pox.

Ann G.
Ann Garcia8 years ago

Educate yourself and get the information from those not profiting from the vaccine industry directly or otherwise


Ann G.
Ann Garcia8 years ago

Also, I had Mumps and Chicken Pox and I am still alive and well. Our bodies know what to do but we have to give it the fuel it needs. Check out what the ingredients are in a vaccine.

Janice P.
Janice P8 years ago

I had whooping cough when I was very little, in the early 1950's. I hate to see the resurgence of something I thought was all but gone.

Helena plum Bowyer
Helena B8 years ago

Some alternative studies for people to look at. Dr Wakefield is just one of many scientists looking at vaccines.
Please read these.
We should all have a CHOICE for ourselves and for our children.

sandra lee c.

good to know

Cat Neshine
Cat N8 years ago

I lay this at the feet at all those uneducated fear mongers who keep yammering on about the unproven dangers of vaccines. They played a role in these deaths.