UPDATE: CLICK HERE TO VIEW NVIC'S PERTUSSIS VACCINE & DISEASE PAGE
Reports of whooping cough outbreaks in California1,2 and in other states this summer are nothing new. Every four to five years – no matter how high the vaccination rate is - there are reports of whooping cough increases.
Whooping cough is a respiratory disease. Toxins in Bordetella pertussis bacteria stimulate the production of large amounts of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways of tiny babies and children, making it difficult for them to take a breath without vomiting, choking and making a whooping sound3 as they struggle to breathe.
There is an acellular pertussis vaccine – DTaP - which was licensed for American babies in 1996.4 DTaP replaced an older, very reactive whole cell pertussis vaccine - DPT - that was associated with more cases of high fever, collapse/shock, convulsions, brain inflammation and permanent brain damage.5,6
It is well known that pertussis vaccines, which can contain various amounts of bioactive toxins7,8,9,10,11 and also aluminum12,13,14 and mercury15 additives, have killed and brain injured some children. Over half of the 2,480 awards for vaccine injury and death totaling $2 billion dollars made under the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act involve pertussis vaccine.16
Pertussis vaccination rates are very high in the U.S. According to the CDC, 84 percent of children under age three have received four DTaP shots.17 By the time American children enter kindergarten nearly every child has gotten all the CDC recommended pertussis shots.18 In 2009, the CDC said that the proportion of totally unvaccinated children in America is only six hundredths of one percent (0.06).19
Even with super high pertussis vaccine coverage in America and other countries like the Netherlands, Australia, Finland and Canada, whooping cough disease cannot be prevented.20 There are two main reasons for this fact.
First, pertussis vaccines widely used since the 1950’s have not prevented whooping cough disease from circulating in vaccinated populations. Unknown numbers of children and adults, who have gotten all government recommended pertussis shots, can and do develop whooping cough or are carriers without symptoms.21,22
Because pertussis vaccine immunity is only temporary and does not last, health officials are now telling teenagers and adults to get more booster shots.23 But that is not going to matter if scientific evidence that B. pertussis organisms have mutated and become vaccine-resistant turns out to be correct.24
A second important reason is that another Bordetella organism – parapertussis – also can cause whooping cough.25 B. parapertussis symptoms, while often milder, can look exactly like B. pertussis. But doctors rarely recognize or test for parapertussis.26 And there is NO vaccine for parapertussis.
The DTaP vaccine given 5 times to children under age 6 and booster doses for teenagers and adults does not protect against whooping cough caused by B. parapertussis. In highly vaccinated countries like the U.S., parpertussis is on the rise and it is estimated that perhaps 30 percent or more of whooping cough disease is actually caused by parapertussis!27
So which bacterial organism is causing much of the whooping cough being seen in California, Nevada,28 Oregon and other states this summer? Is it B. pertussis or B. parapertussis? Has there been any attempt by health officials to do expensive PCR lab tests on suspected whooping cough cases to find out?29
Another question: Are public health officials being transparent with the public about just how many children and adults reported to have whooping cough have been fully vaccinated? In 1985 there was a lot of publicity about whooping cough outbreaks in eight states and all the blame was put on parents of DPT vaccine injured children calling for a safer pertussis vaccine. But 25 years ago I investigated those whooping cough outbreaks and found 50 to 80 percent or more of the children and adults with whooping cough symptoms had been vaccinated.30
Bordetella organisms causing whooping cough disease live in animals like sheep, pigs, cats and dogs, as well as humans, and have been part of the earth’s ecosystem, evolving to survive, for thousands of years. 3132 Yet, mass vaccination of humans with pertussis vaccine is only 60 years old.
So why are the unvaccinated being blamed for whooping cough outbreaks in California,33 Oregon34 and other states? The majority of Americans alive today have gotten 3 to 5 pertussis shots.
The truth is that, whether you are vaccinated or not, you can get a mild or serious case of whooping cough from B. pertussis or B. parapertussis organisms. And both whooping cough disease and pertussis vaccines carry a risk of injury or death, which can be greater for some than others.
There are no guarantees.
It is time for public health officials and doctors to look at themselves and stop pointing fingers at those, who have examined pertussis vaccine benefits and risks and come to a different conclusion.
After my precocious two year old son suffered a convulsion, collapse/shock and brain inflammation following his fourth DPT shot in 1980 and was left with multiple learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder, in 1993 my two youngest children, then 5 and 10 years old, came down with whooping cough. They coughed violently and spit up huge amounts of thick mucus for 8 weeks before fully recovering and going on to become honor roll students.
The profile on whooping cough in the 1985 book I co-authored with medical historian Harris Coulter, “DPT: A Shot in the Dark,”35 is about my sister and her family, who were fully vaccinated. Her newborn baby almost died of whooping cough but survived and attended college on a full academic scholarship. Even so, other babies who get whooping cough do not survive.
There are no guarantees.
A quarter century later, DPT: A Shot in the Dark still stands as the most comprehensive, referenced analysis of whooping cough and pertussis vaccine risks and why America’s mass vaccination system is in urgent need of reform. Become a family donor supporter of the National Vaccine Information Center and you will receive a complimentary copy of that historic book.
Protect yourself and your child by making educated vaccine decisions. It’s your health. Your family. Your choice.
7 Sidney M, Furman BL, Wardlaw AC. Effect of hyperreactivity to endotoxin on the toxicity of pertussis vaccine and pertussis toxin in mice. Vaccine. Vol. 7, Issue 3. June 1989. Pages 237-241.
8 World Health Organization (WHO). Requirements for Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis 7 Combined Vaccines (Revised 1989). Technical Report Series, No) 500. 1990.
9 Steinman L, Weiss A et al. Pertussis toxin is required for pertussis vaccine encephalopathy. Proc Natl Acad Sci, 1985. December; 82(24) 8733-8736.
10 Businesswire. Chiron Biocine Genetically Engineered Acellular Pertussis Vaccine Proves Superior to Currently Licensed Vaccine. Chiron Press Release: July 13, 1995.
11 Hofstetter HH, Shive CL, Forsthuber TC. Pertussis Toxin Modulates the Immune Response to Neuroantigens Injected in Incomplete Freund’s Adjuvant: Induction of Th1 Cells and Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis in the Presence of High Frequencies of Th2 Cells. The Journal of Immunology, 2002. 169: 117-125.
12 Gupta RK, Relyveid EH. Adverse reactions after injection of adsorbed diptheria – pertussis – tetanus (DPT) vaccine are not due only to pertussis organisms or pertussis components in the vaccine. Vaccine. Vol. 9, Issue 10. October 1991. Pages 699-702.
13 Bergfors E, Trollfors B, Inerot A. Unexpectedly high incidence of persistent itching nodules and delayed hypersensitivity to aluminum in children after the use of adsorbed vaccines from a single manufacturer. Vaccine. Vol. 22, Issue 1. December 8, 2003. Pages 64-69.
14 Rimaniol AC, Gras G et al. Aluminum hydroxide adjuvant induces macrophage differentiation towards a specialized antigen-presenting cell type. Vaccine. Vol. 22, Issues 23-24. 13 August 2004. Pages 3127-3135.
15 Waly M, Olteanu H. Activation of methionine synthase by insulin-like growth factor – 1 and dopamine: a target for neurodevelopmental toxins and thimerosal. Molecular Psychiatry (2004) 9, 358-370.
25 Kheief N, Danve B etal. Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis: two immunologically distinct species. Infection & Immunity. 1993 February; 61(2): 486-490.
26 He Q, Vijanen MK et al. Whooping Cough Caused by Bordetella pertussis and Bordetella parapertussis in an Immunized Population. JAMA. 1998; 280: 635-637.
27 Liese JG, Renner C. Clinical and epidemiological picture of B pertussis and B parapertussis infections after introduction of acellular pertussis vaccines. Archives of Diseases in Childhood 2003; 88: 684-687. Also see Reference #26.
28 Magin K. Low vaccination rates cause worry over whooping cough. The Union (Nevada). June 15, 2010.
32 Diavatopoulos DA, Cummings CA et al. Bordetella pertussis, the Causative Agent of Whooping Cough, Evolved from a Distinct Human-Associated Lineage of B. brohchiseptica. PLOS Pathogens. December 2005: Vol. 1, Issue 4.
33 Weerasekara P. California Mulls Mandatory Shot for Whooping Cough. New American Media. July 3, 2010.