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Whoop Whoop

Remember when Robn got the whooping cough and we mocked her for getting a turn of the century disease felt really bad for her? Apparently, getting vaccinated for something doesn't actually make you immune forever. Why don't they tell us this? Why don't they say "make sure you go back to your doctor to get a booster when you're 30/40/50"?? Prolly cause doctors are assholes.


The problem is the pertussis vaccine itself. In 1992, U.S. doctors began switching to a new formulation with fewer side effects. But the CDC, which monitors infectious disease outbreaks, is learning the hard way that it just doesn't work very well. "It wanes, and it wanes more quickly than we expected," says CDC epidemiologist Stacey Martin. Scientists are trying hard to find out why.

In the meantime, more than 228 million Americans--some kids and teens, as well as most adults--think that they are protected from whooping cough, but they are not.

Pertussis is caused by bordetella pertussis, a bacterium that has been around for at least 400 years. The microbes attach to tiny, hairlike structures in the lungs and release toxins that cause a terrible and persistent cough. Every outburst projects live bacteria into the air, and anyone within three feet can breathe them in and become infected.


In November 2012, the CDC announced the results of its own analysis of the California outbreak. The agency found that the vaccine's effectiveness begins to drop after one year, and that five years after the final dose, it provides only 70 percent protection. An Australian study recently reported that kids who were given the acellular vaccine as infants were more than three times as likely to get pertussis between 2009 and 2011 than were those who received the whole-cell version.

The CDC began recommending a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) booster shot for most people over age 11, including adults up to age 64, in 2005. But as of 2010, only 8 percent of the adult population had actually received one. Moreover, an ongoing CDC investigation suggests that, like the childhood vaccine, the adult Tdap booster lasts only a few years at most.

Now i'm wondering if i need to get pertussed. I'm surrounded by college students all day. It's nearly as bad as daycare. *whoop whoop*

By min | October 1, 2013, 2:51 PM | Science