Well, this just sucks.
My concern with the "debate" over vaccines has been driven by the knowledge that many diseases are only held back by our continued use of vaccines. Or, to put it bluntly, if we come over all stupid and let our vaccine uptake levels decline, people start dying. And you know what? I f-ing hate being right:
Whooping cough is now an epidemic in California, and is on pace to break a 50-year record for infections for the year.
As of June 15, California had 910 recorded cases of the highly contagious disease, and five babies — all under 3 months of age — have died from the disease this year.
"Children should be vaccinated against the disease and parents, family members and caregivers of infants need a booster shot," California Department of Public Health director Dr. Mark Horton said Wednesday.
This year's surge in cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a fourfold increase from the same period last year, when 219 cases were recorded.
At least 600 additional cases are under investigation by local health departments. Officials fear that with the number of known and suspected cases at 1,510, the state is on track to beat 1958's record 3,847 cases; midway through that year, 1,200 cases had been reported.
So, just to sum up, a disease that is completely preventable with vaccination is now an epidemic in California. Children have died from this disease. And the number of cases is likely to rise. What. The. Fuck. Now, I should note that I do not know that the antivaxxers are to blame for this- indeed, I have no information on it one way or another.* But, all the same, please take this as a public service message. Get your kids vaccinated. If you're in California, or nearby, get yourself vaccinated. Shit, if you're nowhere near California but your health insurance is good, get a booster just for shits and giggles. The best way to stop this kind of thing is with herd immunity, so let's get on the damn ball here.
* Some folks have been blaming the illegal immigrant population in California for the outbreak. I can't speak to that but, according to the statement from the California Department of Public Health, 80% of the infants in California that have died from the illness since 1998 have been hispanic. So I guess what I'd say is, whether the immigrant population is responsible or not, they're sure getting hammered by it.