Monday, April 16, 2012

Whooping cough and those stories going around facebook

Vaccination can cause quite a heated debate amongst adults. But in recent days, a story has been going around on facebook, the story is a tear jerker.. yes it is tragic. But essentially leaves out information. and I noted this at the bottom of the story:
 The best way to keep the babies safe is to get vaccinated. The more people vaccinated the better it will be. If you are against vaccination or just aren’t vaccinated I really hope my little girl’s story changes your mind. Whooping cough spreads very quickly. To protect babies everywhere please get vaccinated. Thank you.
 Now I am not poking fun nor poking holes in this story, I am just left wondering why each story on this site has similar statements on the end of the stories. I noticed it after I went to read further stories.

Now back to Whooping Cough and it's vaccine, it has actually been in the international media of late, why? Well because it is now known to be not effective some experts have stated it is as low as 30% effective and does not cover all strains of whooping cough. Now my question is if they know this why do they not make one that covers all and is more effective rather then push a almost useless vaccine ?

While the total number of cases is less than half the 3000 recorded during an outbreak at the same time last year, researchers believe a seemingly vaccine-resistant whooping cough strain will cause a surge in children falling ill this winter.
A team of scientists led by the University of New South Wales found the emerging strain was responsible for 84 per cent of whooping cough, or pertussis, cases since 2008.
"The problem is, we're not seeing a very effective vaccine any more," said Professor Eugene Athan, a Victorian Health infectious diseases specialist. (source: link)

Whooping cough beats vaccine states that the current strain going around is more severe and also not covered by the current vaccination.
There is a Free vaccination offered to parents of newborns and Partners of Pregnant Women

What is whooping cough? 
Pertussis (whooping cough) is caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. The disease is highly infectious and most serious in babies under the age of 12 months. Babies are at greatest risk of infection until they can have at least two doses of the vaccine (minimum 4 months old) as the mother’s antibodies do not provide reliable protection. It is spread through droplets in the air and it can develop from upper respiratory tract (nose, throat and windpipe) infections into pertussis pneumonia (lung infection). 

It takes between 7 to 20 days for symptoms of this disease to show after infection. Symptoms include coughing and ‘whooping’, which can continue for a few months. 

Complications of the disease include hypoxic encephalopathy (lack of oxygen to the brain) leading to brain damage and possibly death.  (source link)

Some Quick facts on the vaccination currently available to the public:
1)Pertussis vaccine lifespan is 6 – 10yrs.  (source:

2) For the years 2005/2006
10% of pertussis cases were in people aged under 20 yrs old.
20% of pertussis cases were in people aged 20 – 34 yrs old.
70% of pertussis cases were in people aged over 35 years.  (

3) Almost 1 in 4 Children who are vaccinated won't be covered by the vaccine.By age 11-15 years old, the vaccine will have worn off, and the child will no longer be immune.

Herd Immunity for Whooping Cough needs to be 90-94% of the population. Even if 100% of the Australian population vaccinated, due to the ineffectiveness of the vaccine that still would not be sufficient to provide herd immunity. 
The vaccine does not stop transmission of the disease, even a vaccinated mother can still be a carrier to an infant.
100% of the population cannot be vaccinated because some people are actually allergic to the vaccines and/or have medical reasons which would prevent them from being able to have the vaccines.
EVERY person visiting Australia would have to be effectively vaccinated also to stop introducing the disease. (source)

A study on the effectiveness of the vaccination in Australia this points out the number of cases in the under 5 years age group has jumped in recent years since the removal of an 18 month booster shot from the schedule of vaccintions. It also points out most cases were among the vaccinated children. At the end of the paper it states this:
“there is a case for recommending a booster during the second year of 
life unless the epidemiology in a country provides compelling evidence 
that a booster is not needed until preschool”
WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization – Pertussis, 2010
That was 2 years ago, and nothing has changed if anything the situation with whooping cough has increased in rates of cases being reported.
An article that talks about the current strain being spread and how it has spread to international areas.

The obtained figures indicate that in New Zealand the effective vaccination rate against pertussis is lower than 50%, and perhaps even as low as 33% of the population. These figures contradict the medical statistics which claim that more than 80% of the newborns in New Zealand are vaccinated against pertussis (Turner et al., 2000). This contradiction is due to the mentioned unreliability of the available vaccine. (source )

Now I believe vaccination is something all parents should be informed about, whether they choose to vaccinate or not is their choice and something I am not fussed over.
DTaP: Inside vaccines provides information on how the vaccination works (or doesn't work in some cases).
 The info you should be given by your doctor should you choose to get this vacciantion .
Why some parents question vaccinations 

Whooping Cough Warning for Adults  has this story in it:
Toni McCaffery from the north coast of New South Wales lost her month-old baby girl, Dana, to the highly infectious disease

TONI MCCAFFERY: Oh, something that started as a blocked nose, that was explained to me was just a harmless head cold, had my daughter in life support within five days of going into hospital.

Which actually is what i have long said about adults, many fob off their symptoms as "Oh I just have a cold" and do not bother to get checked until its too late.

Managing Whooping Cough In Adults points out the various tests that can be done to diagnose whooping cough as well as the treatments available and how to manage households where one person has whooping cough.

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