Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 saw largest vaccine-preventable outbreak in 60 years

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Here’s a headline to surely make antivaccination cranks everywhere proud:

Headline: “2012 was worst year for whooping cough since 1955”

The details are chilling:

The nation just suffered its worst year for whooping cough in nearly six decades, according to preliminary government figures.

Whooping cough ebbs and flows in multi-year cycles, and experts say 2012 appears to have reached a peak with 41,880 cases. Another factor: A vaccine used since the 1990s doesn't last as long as the old one.


Last year, cases were up in 48 states and outbreaks were particularly bad in Colorado, Minnesota, Washington state, Wisconsin and Vermont.

I’m sure it’s a coincidence that these states have also been seeing declining vaccination rates for years, which is also giving rise to other easily preventable epidemics.

Here’s what apparently counts as the silver lining:

The good news: Despite the high number of illnesses, deaths didn't increase. Eighteen people died, including 15 infants younger than 1.

The bad news: There’s no good reason for those deaths to happen at all.

Meanwhile, this is being blamed on the vaccines, themselves:

For about 25 years, fewer than 5,000 cases were reported annually in the U.S. But case counts started to climb again in the 1990s although not every year. Numbers jumped to more than 27,000 in 2010, the year California saw an especially bad epidemic.

Experts looking for an explanation have increasingly looked at a new vaccine introduced in the 1990s, and concluded its protection is not as long-lasting as was previously thought.

I propose an alternative hypothesis: A rising number of worried yet naive parents are avoiding proper vaccines under the deluge of persistent misinformation from discredited cranks parading around as a health movement.

(via The Words on What…)