Friday, March 25, 2005

The Pertussis Renaissance

Also from City Pages, is this article on the precipitous rise in cases of pertussis or whooping cough. Even the vaccinations may not be enough to keep you safe.

Whooping cough reared its microbial head in 2004 like it hadn't since the 1950s, just after the introduction of the whooping cough vaccine. ... School nurses and pediatricians are on high alert.
Public health officials expect whooping cough resurgences every three to five years, says Kris Ehresmann, section chief for Immunization, TB, and International Health for the Minnesota Department of Health, but the number of cases in 2004 was "very high," illustrating the growing severity of peak years. Whooping cough cases in Minnesota soared to 1,024 in 2004, while in 2000, the last outbreak year of whooping cough, only 575 cases were reported. At this rate, 2008 could be frightening. END QUOTE.

Reasons for this rise in whooping cough cases are theorized as being:

  1. The number of parents who conscientiously object to immunizing their children is up.
  2. People continue to be more mobile, and this increases their chances of being exposed to the disease
  3. Adolescents vaccinated as children have defenseless immune systems.
  4. People are not exposed to whooping cough regularly, and so they do not build natural immunity to it.
  5. No vaccine can give 100% protection against any disease.

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