Whooping Cough

PrintI wish there was a public service announcement featuring this graphic. It’s by Leon Farrant for data collected in 2007.

This graphic is easy to understand, there’s no more polio or smallpox. Chickenpox and measles are uncommon now.

Ironically, some infections have become uncommon enough that doctors often don’t suspect a now uncommon agent as a possible cause of the illness that’s being presented to them.

Unfortunately, some people don’t really grasp science, get overwhelmed, and find it easier to just reject some or most of science.

Vaccination is one of the easy things to reject. Some parents have opted out of vaccinating their kids. This can have big consequences. For example, ten babies died of whopping cough in a 2010 California epidemic. In the graphic whopping cough is shown as pertussis.

California is labeling this year’s whooping cough outbreak an epidemic after a recent big spike of 900 new cases in April and May.

Vaccination doesn’t just protect the vaccinated. Some people can’t be vaccinated and are left vulnerable to infection, so when people around them are vaccinated there’s less exposure to infection.

One popular Bay Area doctor has implemented a policy requiring his patients be vaccinated if they want to continue having him as their doctor.

Most of his patients decided to stay with him and accepted his policy.