Whooping cough makes a comeback

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Day Care & Education

In 1976, there were just over a thousand cases of whooping cough reported in the United States, thanks to the introduction of a vaccine in 1948. In 2004, there were nearly 26,000 cases nationwide, thanks in part to relatively loose exemption policies for school vaccination requirements. According to a new study, states which make it easy for children to avoid the vaccinations have about 50 percent more cases than states with stricter requirements. States seem to be under a lot of pressure to ease up on the requirements, especially by parents with unfounded fears about the risks of childhood vaccines, according to Daniel Salmon, a researcher at the University of Florida and a co-author of the study.

Whooping cough, also called pertussis, is a highly contagious bacterial infection. It causes severe coughing spells and can be deadly in infants. Another contributor to the rise in cases is the fact that the vaccine's protection wears off; both teens and adults should get booster shots. Personally, I don't understand the whole skip-the-vaccine thing. My kids get all the vaccines simply because the diseases are worse. It would be nice if the only whooping kids ever hear of is the whooping crane in Panda Bear, Panda Bear.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.