commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Pertussis. Whooping cough.

One of those things you got vaccinated against when you were two or three, and then forgot about, because you’re protected from it, right?

Think again. You aren’t. It wears off.

Lynne and Phil, two friends of mine, lost a child to whooping cough in April of this year. It wasn’t diagnosed as whooping cough until after the infant died.

And it’s not like health authorities wouldn’t have known about it. The Centers for Disease Control have been tracking – and publishing – pertussis data that shows it exceeding historical trends:

graph of diseases from

excerpt from chart showing pertussis statistics
Look at that. In the 38th week of 2003, only 5,978 cases. In the 38th week of 2004, 9,983 cases. That’s a 67% increase since last year.

If you’re trying to, or possibly might become pregnant, please consider getting vaccinated. If you’re likely to be around infants and/or small children on a regular basis, please consider getting vaccinated.

Because it’s already too late for Nelyn Frend Theodore Baker. His parents didn’t know about the threat. You do.



Comments on: "Pertussis: the silent epidemic" (1)

  1. Anonymous said:

    Thank you Steward for this particular rant. I am Nelyn’s Aunt JoAnne. Phil is my brother. This is a terrible illness that people have forgotten about or believed to be eradicated. Not so… Nelyn lives on in all our hearts. Don’t let this disease harm anyone you love. Vaccinate and educate! JoAnne

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