This is what happens when we as a society start trusting the advice of celebrities over doctors when it comes to the health of our children.
File this one in the "ya don't say?!" folder:
From the article:
ATLANTA (AP) -- The U.S. appears headed for its worst year for whooping cough in more than five decades, with the number of cases rising at an epidemic rate that experts say may reflect a problem with the effectiveness of the vaccine.OK, so there's a few things at play here. First, there's the biology. Whooping cough (caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis) is just like any other living organism, at least when it comes to being susceptible to mutation. Some doctors are thinking that this particular version of Bordetella pertussis is particularly virulent for some reason.
Nearly 18,000 cases have been reported so far - more than twice the number seen at this point last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. At this pace, the number for the entire year will be the highest since 1959, when 40,000 illnesses were reported.
Nine children have died, and health officials called on adults - especially pregnant women and those who spend time around children - to get a booster shot as soon as possible.
Some parents in California and other states have rebelled against vaccinations and gotten their children exempted from rules that require them to get their shots to enroll in school. Washington state has one of the highest exemption rates in the nation. But the CDC said that does not appear to be a major factor in the outbreak, since most of the youngsters who got sick had been vaccinated.
Second, there's the vaccine itself. The DTaP version is newer and has less side effects (like rashes, etc.), but it may not be as effective.
These two are mentioned in the above article and likely do indeed have an effect on this latest outbreak.
However... there's number three - the big elephant in the room. Anti-vax crusaders like Jenny McCarthy (and people who give them a platform to spout their anti-science bullshit, like Oprah) are definitely having an impact, and that impact is unequivocally negative.
The entire MMR vaccine "controversy" of the late-90s and 2000s was entirely fabricated by a fraud named Andrew Wakefield, whose rogue science and medical hoax literally contributed to the deaths of numerous children. When Wakefield published his now widely discredited "study" that claimed the MMR vaccine causes autism, vaccination rates plummeted in the U.K., after which a sharp rise in cases of MMR occurred.
The U.S. vaccine rate has dropped precipitously in the last few years as well; it is not merely coincidence that the drop correlates with the increased exposure Jenny McCarthy and her legion of anti-vax nutsos has increased.
Dr. Paul Offit, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (my next door neighbor here at Penn) is a prominent critic of anti-vax crazies, has gone on record stating "that paper killed children".
So is this latest epidemic of Whooping Cough entirely because of the anti-vax crusade? No. But I guarantee you that it would be a lot less severe is we let doctors and scientists be the experts here instead of celebrities with no training or experience in the field of medicine whatsoever.
The floor is yours.
PS - if you have Twitter or Facebook, why don't you let Jenny know that her anti-vax crusade is literally causing our children to get sick.