Whooping cough back, kills nine
Lack of immunizations are the likely reason.
Whopping cough, also known as pertussis, is on the rise in the US. According to the CDC, the current outbreak has claimed the lives of nine babies and may be the worst in 50 years. At the heart of the problem are missed immunizations for both children and adults.
Whooping cough violently affects children and is potentially deadly.
"We may need to go back to 1959 to find as many cases. I think there may be more coming to a place near you," she added.
In 2010, the CDC received reports of 27,000 cases and 27 people, mostly all babies, died.
According to the World Health Organization, whooping cough kills hundreds of thousands around the globe, but mortality figures in the US are usually low because of our robust immunization programs.
Whooping cough is caused by a bacterial infection in the lungs that causes victims to cough then make a characteristic whooping sound as they breathe back in. The bacteria is surprisingly common, but typically does very little to adults. However, babies are very susceptible to the bacteria.
Most babies contract the disease from their mothers or other close relatives. The CDC recommends that mothers and get vaccinated as soon as they know they are pregnant so their babies will be born with some kind of immunity. The CDC also recommends immunizations for all adults and boosters for adults who may have been vaccinated as children since the immunity slowly wears off over time.
Kids should get five doses throughout their childhood to be fully protected.
However, kids and adults are skipping their vaccinations. Pointing to rare but serious side effects of an older whooping cough vaccine (the link hasn't been fully demonstrated) and a general, growing public mistrust of vaccinations, some children are going unvaccinated, relying instead on "herd immunity" to keep their kids safe. But herd immunity, the idea that a person cannot get sick because the people around them are immune, only works if 90 percent or more of the others around them are immune.
This is not always the case. And many adults are carrying the highly contagious bacteria without realizing it. The CDC estimates that only 8.2 percent of US adults are fully immunized against whooping cough.
That means that children are at risk, especially around adults, who may show few, if any symptoms.
The only solution is proactive vaccination.
One thing is certain. As long as debates rage over the safety of vaccines and adults and children remain vulnerable, whooping cough may become much more common in the years to come.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Whooping cough, vaccination, disease, children, adults
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