Posts Tagged ‘ vaccine ’

Whooping Cough Epidemic Declared in California

Monday, June 16th, 2014

California’s public health officials have declared an epidemic of whooping cough, the bacterial respiratory infection also called pertussis, in light of a staggering 800 cases of the disease reported in the state over the past two weeks alone.  More from CNN:

The agency says that there were 3,458 whooping cough cases reported between January 1 and June 10, well ahead of the number of cases reported for all of 2013.

This is a problem of “epidemic proportions,” the department said. And the number of actual cases may be even higher, because past studies have shown that for every case of whooping cough that is reported, there are 10 more that are not officially counted.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis.

The popular name for the disease comes from the whooping sound an infected person makes when gasping for breath after a coughing fit.

The bacteria spreads through coughing and sneezing. One person can infect up to 15 people nearby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Typically symptoms appear an average of seven to 10 days after exposure.

Infants and young children are more vulnerable to the disease than other age groups. It can be particularly dangerous for babies. About half of the infants who get whooping cough end up in a hospital. Some cases are fatal.

That’s why the public health department in California is strongly urging people to make sure their vaccinations are up to date, especially if they’re pregnant. State health officials are working closely with schools and local health departments to spread the word.

“Unlike some other vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, neither vaccination nor illness from pertussis offers lifetime immunity,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “However, vaccination is still the best defense against the potentially fatal diseases.”

All adults should get a Tdap booster, unless you had one as a teenager (after age 11).

The CDC declared 2012 to be the worst year for whooping cough in a half century, blaming inconsistent vaccinations and boosters for at least part of the outbreak.

Find out if your child is too sick for school and shop thermometers

Child with Whooping Cough
Child with Whooping Cough
Child with Whooping Cough

Image: Whooping cough sign, via Shutterstock
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Measles Cases Reach 20-Year-High, Continue to Rise

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Sick-Girl-Child-MeaslesThe number of reported cases of measles continues to rise in the United States, according to federal health officials. Earlier in May, the number of illnesses hit an 18-year-high, and now the number has increased to 288 confirmed cases, a record high for the past 20 years. The number is also expected to continue to rise during the summer. More from the New York Times:

Largely because of resistance to vaccination, cases of measles have reached a 20-year high in the United States, federal health officials said on Thursday.

As of May 23, there were 288 confirmed cases in the United States — more than in all of 2013, and more than in the equivalent period of any year since 1994. The number is expected to increase during the summer travel season.

“This is not the kind of record we want to break,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The measles virus, which is highly contagious, usually causes only a fever and a rash. But it can lead to pneumonia, brain damage, deafness and even death. An unvaccinated American child who develops measles has about a one in 500 chance of dying, even with hospital care, according to the C.D.C.

There were fewer than 200 cases last year; the record low was 37 cases in 2004.

Eighty-five percent of this year’s cases were in people not vaccinated because of religious, philosophical or personal objections, Dr. Schuchat said.

In an unusual twist, over half were ages 20 or older. They may have included adults whose parents refused to vaccinate them years ago, she said.

Forty-three of the 288 who contracted the virus were hospitalized, most with pneumonia. None died.

Almost half the cases were part of a continuing outbreak in Amish communities in Ohio that started with missionaries who had traveled to the Philippines, which is experiencing an outbreak that has caused 41 deaths.

There were 60 cases in California, mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Orange County, where large numbers of wealthy parents refuse to vaccinate their children.

The third-biggest outbreak was in New York City, which registered 26 cases in February and March. It was concentrated in Upper Manhattan, and cases are believed to have spread in hospital waiting rooms because doctors and nurses did not promptly recognize the symptoms. At least two children that contracted the virus were from families that refused vaccines; seven were too young to be vaccinated.

Of the cases whose origins could be traced, 22 were imported from the Philippines, six from India, two from China, and the rest from 15 other countries.

Measles can be caught virtually anywhere. France, the world’s most popular tourist destination, had an outbreak of 20,000 cases from 2008 to 2011.

Before measles vaccination became routine in the early 1960s, about 500,000 Americans got the virus each year, most of them young children. Of those, about 48,000 were hospitalized, about 500 died, and many more suffered brain damage and deafness.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

Image: A sick cute girl is measuring the temperature via ShutterStock

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Vaccine Education Programs May Not Be Effective

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

Parents who are hesitant to vaccinate their children–or who have decided against vaccination–are not likely to be swayed by awareness programs meant to educate parents about the importance of giving kids vaccines against preventible diseases like measles and mumps.  The programs, according to new research published in the journal Pediatrics, can actually make parents express more reservations about vaccines. More from Reuters:

The study’s lead author told Reuters Health that the research is an extension of his work in political science that found it is difficult to correct people’s misinformation.

“We found political misinformation is often very difficult to correct and giving people the correct information can backfire,” said Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

“We were interested in seeing if the messages public health agencies were putting out were effective,” he said.

Specifically, Nyhan and his colleagues examined public health campaigns about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.

Although national U.S. MMR vaccination rates are high, the researchers write in Pediatrics that there are states where the rate dips below 90 percent, which is a commonly used threshold for so-call herd immunity. Herd immunity is the point where high vaccination rates within a population may also offer protection to the unvaccinated.

They also write that maintaining high levels of MMR vaccination is important because of the increasing number of measles cases reported in the U.S. and recent outbreaks in the UK. Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can lead to death.

Another study published by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers in the same journal found that vaccinating U.S. kids born in 2009 according to the routine immunization schedule will save about $70 billion and prevent over 40,000 early deaths and over 20 million cases of disease.

Image: Vaccine, via Shutterstock

Is your child too sick for school? Bookmark this super-fast quiz for the next time you’re unsure.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

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High Number of Measles Cases Reported in California

Monday, February 24th, 2014

At least 15 cases of measles have been reported in California since January 1 of this year, a marked increase from the same time last year, by which time only two cases had been documented.  More from UPI:

Dr. Ron Chapman, state health officer and director of California Department of Public Health in Sacramento said the cases occurred throughout California.

“Immunization is the best defense against measles, with 99 percent of persons developing immunity after two doses,” Chapman said in a statement. “With an outbreak in the Philippines and measles transmission ongoing in many parts of the world outside of North and South America, we can expect to see more imported cases of this vaccine-preventable disease.”

Imported cases can spread to the community, especially among unvaccinated persons, including infants too young to be vaccinated, Chapman said.

High immunization rates in California have kept preventable childhood diseases, such as measles, at record lows during the past 20 years.

In 2000, measles was declared eliminated in the United States, but the number of cases per year in California ranged from four to 40 cases due to infected visitors or unvaccinated Americans visiting countries where measles still occurs.

Among the California cases with measles onset in 2014, three traveled to the Philippines, where a large outbreak is occurring, and two traveled to India, where measles is endemic, Chapman said.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that is spread through the air when someone who is ill with the disease coughs or sneezes.

It is recommended children get their first dose of MMR — measles, mumps, rubella — vaccine at 12 to 15 months. The second dose of MMR is usually administered before children start kindergarten at ages 4 to 6. Immunized adults do not need boosters.

Image: Baby being vaccinated, via Shuterstock

Keep track of Baby’s vaccinations with our helpful schedule.

Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids
Vaccines for Babies and Older Kids

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HPV Vaccine Rates Remain Low, Report Finds

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Only about a third of American girls–and less than 7 percent of boys–received the vaccine against human papillomavirus, or HPV, in 2012, a number that is too low for what public health officials had hoped would take hold when the vaccine was first introduced.  This is the finding of a report from the President’s Cancer Panel, which urged action to improve vaccination rates in order to prevent cervical, vaginal, anal, and some oral cancers.

Among other recommendations, the panel suggests that pharmacists be allowed to administer the vaccines, and that pediatricians be proactive in recommending the vaccine to patients.

The panel’s report has slightly different data from earlier findings, such as one report from the CDC that 1 in 5 boys are receiving the vaccine, and another CDC report, released in 2013, that said half of girls receive the vaccine.

The vaccine was first recommended for girls ages 11 and 12 beginning in 2006, and then recommended for boys in 2011.

Help your family get healthier in 12 short weeks with our program.

The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule
The Vaccine Schedule

Image: Child getting a vaccine, via Shutterstock

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