State officials warn of whooping cough epidemic

3,400+ cases reported thus far this year, more than seen in all of 2013

California is currently experiencing a whooping cough epidemic, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Public health officials said more than 800 new cases of pertussis, also known as whooping cough, have been reported in the last two weeks.

Some 3,458 cases of whooping cough had been reported to the health department this year as of June 10 -- more cases than were reported in all of 2013, according to department officials.

Health officials said whooping cough is cyclical and that cases peak every three to five years. The last peak was in 2010, so this year could be another peak year, officials say.

Infants and young children are most vulnerable to whooping cough.

Symptoms vary by age but include a cough and runny nose for one or two weeks. The cough then worsens and children may experience rapid coughing spells that end with a "whooping" sound.

In infants, symptoms may not include an apparent cough, but could include episodes in which the child's face turns red or purple.

In adults, symptoms may include a persistent cough for several weeks.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Bill
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2014 at 6:18 am

There is a glaring piece of missing data here and that is the number of folks that have not been vaccinated against this very avoidable disease. If this number said to be around 800 if for those that have wanted to be natural and avoid vaccinations then there is the missing data. If this represents those that think that vaccinations cause autism then this is the result of shear stupidity. If this is the result of non-vaccinated illegal aliens that frequently do not receive medical care before coming to the US, then this is another possible piece of missing information.

Like this comment
Posted by Tracy
a resident of Alamo
on Jun 16, 2014 at 7:24 am

I wonder if those who are vaccinated are still at risk? I agree with you Bill. It would be nice to know how many cases reported are from prople who are unvaccinated.

Like this comment
Posted by parent
a resident of Diablo
on Jun 16, 2014 at 9:36 am

Vaccinations are not 100% effective against whooping cough. I understand that all of us that have vaccines should get a booster because of this outbreak in our area. There has been at least one confirmed case recently at Monte Vista High School. The principal sent a message to all parents to watch for symptoms in our children. Very concerning!

Like this comment
Posted by Bayareamom
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2014 at 10:47 am

Here is an article penned by a holistic practitioner who has done her homework on this issue. I will provide her link (her article is sourced with links provided to the CDC, including source citation for the graphs provided). I will also provide a link to the National Vaccine Information Center for more information about pertussis, parapertussis B and issues with the vaccine, pro and con.

Link: Web Link


"According to the CDC, before the introduction of the pertussis vaccine there were an average of 175,000 cases of whooping cough each year. This dropped off to less than 3,000 cases per year in the 1980s. Then, in the U.S. alone, a total of 27,550 cases of pertussis were reported in 2010. The whooping cough outbreak in 2012 (not included here) reported 41,880 cases.

Why is this pertussis resurgence happening?

Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases explains that:

“Better diagnosis and reporting of whooping cough may be contributing to the increased numbers, along with the fact that the disease tends to peak and wane in cycles. It does not appear that anti-vaccination sentiment among parents has contributed…”

Interestingly, despite the high number of reported cases of pertussis last year, the mortality rate has gone down. In 1955 there were total 331 deaths. In 2012, there were only eighteen reported deaths, including 15 infants younger than 1."


Newer vaccine is less effective and wears off faster

"In the 1990s, a switch was made from the DTwP (diphtheria-tetanus-whole cell pertussis) vaccine to the DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis) vaccine to reduce side effects including pain and swelling at the injection site and less common “adverse brain effects”.

In a large-scale study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, kids who received the DTaP vaccine had higher rates of whooping cough than those who got the DTwP vaccine. (source)

A very recent DTaP vaccine study from the Oxford Journal Clinical Infectious Diseases demonstrates that vaccine efficacy is shockingly low, and varies greatly with age: 41% for toddlers and preschoolers and 24% for elementary age kids. These numbers make the pertussis vaccine one of the least effective vaccines on the market. (source)

Eighty-one percent of 2010 California pertussis cases under the age of 18 were fully vaccinated children; and in a pertussis outbreak in Texas, the CDC statistics show that 81.5 percent of cases were fully vaccinated.

It seems as though this new vaccine may have traded in potential side effects for less efficacy and less longevity.

To make matters worse, there is evidence that there’s a new “super strain” of the pertussis bacteria. This resilient bacteria is thought to be partially responsible for the resurgence of whooping cough, and it is particularly resistant to the DTaP vaccine." (source)


Web Link


Web Link


..."Officials at the CDC and the California Department of Public Health also blamed people who weren’t up to date with their immunizations for the spread of the disease.

Today, experts have backed away from some of those assumptions.

“We know there are places around the country where there are large numbers of people who aren't vaccinated,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director for the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, during a recent teleconference. “However, we don't think those exemptors are driving this current wave.”

New studies published in prominent medical journals have called into question the 85 percent efficacy quoted in the vaccine’s package inserts. For example, one study by scientists at Kaiser Permanente found vaccine effectiveness in Marin County in 2010 to be between 24 and 79 percent for children 2 to 18..."

Like this comment
Posted by Bayareamom
a resident of Danville
on Jun 16, 2014 at 11:52 am

I might add that our son, as an infant, suffered horrendous vaccine reactions after receiving the whole cell pertussis DPT vaccine, in 1993. He suffered immediately post-vaccination with somnolence (excessive sleepiness wherein he could not be awakened, either for feeding and/or changing, for almost 48 hours).

Our son's medical team of practitioners in Denver, after our son's somnolence and thereafter, high pitched screaming episode which lasted for over 3 hours, documented these reactions and stated within his medical records that he was never again to receive any more pertussis containing vaccine. (Yet he still reacted to the DT vaccine, minus the pertussis component, at the age of six months, with another prolonged bout of somnolence).

It is important to note that vaccines ARE DRUGS. Vaccines, contrary to what most of us are told (we certainly were) do NOT confer lifelong immunity.

Vaccination - of any kind - induces what is known as temporal or humoral immunity; not the lifelong, cell mediated immunity that is gained by either contracting or being exposed to the disease.

Like this comment
Posted by Diane
a resident of Danville
on Jun 17, 2014 at 5:01 pm

Bayareamom, thank you so much for your thoughtful and informative response.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

The valley needs strong leadership on BART board
By Tim Hunt | 3 comments | 1,800 views