Wednesday, June 23, 2010

More children dying from vaccine-preventable diseases

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It looks like there’s a new outbreak of pertussis (aka whooping cough) in California, to the point where the California Department of Public Health has officially declared it to be a full-on endemic.

Whooping cough is now an epidemic in California, and is on pace to break a 50-year record for infections for the year.

As of June 15, California had 910 recorded cases of the highly contagious disease, and five babies — all under 3 months of age — have died from the disease this year.


At least 600 additional cases are under investigation by local health departments. Officials fear that with the number of known and suspected cases at 1,510, the state is on track to beat 1958's record 3,847 cases; midway through that year, 1,200 cases had been reported.


There is no shortage of vaccines, which are provided for free to hospitals and participating counties by the state health department. [my emphasis]

That’s right: an easily preventable disease that’s been on its way to extinction for years is suddenly putting up a rousing revival, in a locale where anti-vaccination lunacy runs particularly deep. Discounting those who are unable to get vaccinated due to allergies or other medical conditions, we’re talking about normal, otherwise healthy people like you and me, who are falling ill and dying from a disease that you can prevent with ten minutes of your time and a free trip to the local clinic.

And that’s apart from this social disease’s, antivaccination’s, first and main victims: the helpless children who die because of rising levels of sheer ignorance.

Now, some are claiming that this new endemic may not be the fault of the antivaccination movement, that it may instead be due to the area’s high concentration of uneducated and time-constrained immigrants or farm-workers or whatever, people who simply don’t know about the importance of vaccination. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy that. Whether or not you’re aware of the existence and importance of vaccinations has no relation to your wealth or education level, but everything to do with whether you just live under a rock or not. If you go out in public, watch TV, listen to the radio, read newspapers or talk to more than two people a day, then you’ll be aware of vaccines and how they’re free, and how you really should take the time to get them. Poverty doesn’t make people lazy and choose to skip their shots. Stupidity and ignorance, as brought on by unscientific and damaging campaigns such as antivax lunacy, does.

I really only have one thing to say in response to news like this …

[click for full size [1024×768]]

(via Bad Astronomy)