Oh, for the good old days! I’m not thinking about the 1950s and
greasers or the 1960s and bell bottom pants. I’m thinking about the 1980s
— and no, it’s not the fashion that I’m nostalgic for. I’m
thinking about a time when it looked like pertussis was headed for the history
books. But, by 2004 we saw a huge peak in the US pertussis incidence, and that
peak apparently was a warning of dire events to come.
Pertussis has recurred with a vengeance. Nowhere is the outbreak worse
than in California, where 8,627 cases were reported in 2010. That’s the
most cases since 1947, before the days of the pertussis vaccine.
Pertussis is rearing its ugly, whooping head in all age groups. Infants,
as you would expect, have been particularly vulnerable. Nine of the 10 infants
who died in California weren’t yet two-months — too young to receive any
Older children, especially preteens, are getting pertussis; adults
have not been spared either. This story from the National Foundation for Infectious Disease’s adultvaccination.org
site reminds me why it’s important to talk to everyone — my
physician colleagues included — about the importance of vaccination. Please
take a minute to read it.
I’ve said it before in this blog, and I’ll say it again.
Vaccination is not always about you. It’s also about your responsibility
to your family and to society. We all are in this together, and each of us must
contribute to the health of our community.