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Mumps, whooping cough, measles ... Maybe vaccines are a good idea after all

May 17, 2010 |  1:07 pm

Vaccine Those so-called diseases of childhood -- mumps, measles, whooping cough -- haven't been defeated.

As L.A. Times staff writer Rong-Gong Lin II describes in this article, East Coast mumps outbreak may be spreading to L.A.:

"Nine cases of mumps have been reported so far this year, two more than were seen in all of 2009, according to county health officer Jonathan Fielding.

There is also a rise in whooping cough cases, which killed two infants in L.A. County this year, and an increase in measles cases to four so far in 2010, up from one last year."

If the deaths give you pause, here's contact information for the L.A. County Department of Public Health's immunization program.

And here's vaccine information from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (named for its purpose, not the catchy sound).

-- Tami Dennis

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

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Comments (17)

STUPID ! Dumb paper needs to do editing.... THESE ARE NOT DEATHS as reported. Disregard this article. Totally unreliable.

Repeat. The article says these minor illnesses lead to death!!!! Not true. Totally wrong. Note there have not been deaths from this minor illnesses even though the article claims people are dying.

In the 1950's the news media were touting Whooping Cough Eradicated in U.S. no new cases reported. In the 1960's the news media touted that tuberculosis was under control new vaccine started to reduce cases.
So where are we today? Whooping Cough is back due to illegal immigrants, swine flu spread due to migrants from southern Mexico. And a new antibiotic resistant strain of tuberculosis is on the rise....from?

This is another reason why we need immigration reform: undocumented AND documented immigrants are bringing third-world diseases to our world.

These aren't minor diseases. These are major illnesses that can lead to death. Pertussus can kill. Mumps can kill and disfigure. Thank's to the idiot anti-vaccine lobby, which has provided no evidence that there is a vaccine-autism link (with much evidence to suggest otherwise), we are seeing a rise in these preventable diseases. There has been a decline in vaccination rates because of irrational fear propagated by persons with poor data understanding. Fewer vaccinated people=increased likelihood of these diseases making a comeback. They were never erradicated.

Immigration reform will likely do little to prevent the spread of disease. Sorry.

@Joe and Ross
While immigration has had a measurable impact on incidence of certain diseases, the diseases being discussed in this article are actually being spread by affluent, educated white people and their unvaccinated children. The mumps outbreak started with an orthodox Jewish community in NY. They have a camp program that attracts kids nationwide, including from LA County. Lo and behold, these unvaccinated kids pick up the diseases and bring them home. So unless you want to call upstate NY the Third World, I think you need to rethink your approach.

TWO children have died in LA County from whooping cough. How many deaths do you need to be convinced? For the parents of those children, one death is more than plenty. Vaccinations don't just protect the vaccinated, they protect the people who cannot be vaccinated due to age or infirmity.

Side effects should not be disregarded either. Boys who get mumps as adolescents or on the cusp of adolescence can suffer incredibly painful orchitis, which not only hurts like a mofo, but can result in sterility. How would you like to have your man-balls destroyed by a preventable infection?

Measles can cause encephalitis and deafness.

And whooping cough can make you cough so hard that you crack your own ribs.

The fact that we have escalating numbers of cases of vaccine-preventable diseases is absurd when the preventive is so simple.

What part of "There is also a rise in whooping cough cases, which killed two infants in L.A. County this year" do you not get? Whooping cough is not a major disease for adults, but it can certainly kill in infants, and is considered a significant problem. Infants can't handle 7+ weeks of intense coughing very well, at a time when they need to be sleeping and eating and growing. So while the overall death rate in the US is only about 0.2%, it's not rare to see much higher death rates in infants.

The other diseases also have significant mortality rates in certain populations, even if the overall mortality rate is low (0.1-1.2%). Back in the early 70's, the death rate from measles in the US one death for every 1000 measles cases reported. There are also other complications, such as sterility in post-pubertal males who get mumps, if it affects their, um, "lower glands."

@brin: Whooping cough is a potentially fatal disease especially for infants and young children. Just do a lookup on "whooping cough" and "mortality".

@ross: According to Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, more whites are the ethnic group with the highest number of whooping cough infections from 2004-2007. More recent information was not available. Here's the link:

... Not to mention rubella exposures that ARE dangerous to pregnant women and their child- like the PREGNANT woman in SF who tested positive for rubella via an innocent workplace exposure. Little Timmy or Suzy may get over these vaccine preventable diseases just fine, it's those they come in CONTACT with who either have not been exposed or is not in the age range to have been vaccinated- You know like granpa or Auntie Ellen. It's not just about your child, but the rest of us.

The predicted result of the idiotic anti-vaccine contingent has arrived.

It's called science, people. Viruses et al don't go away just because you don't "believe" they're so bad. These idiot anti-vac parents are putting the whole community at risk.

Some people can't get vaccinated b/c of existing health problems - people who simply *refuse* to vac due to ill-informed beliefs are jeopardizing those fragile people.


Vaccines are evolution in action. If you are unable or unwilling to understand statistics and probability then you will probably not get the vaccinations for your children, and your children will have an increased chance of not carrying on your genes. It will all get worked out in a few generations...

Vaccination prevents diseases. Politics and moral judgements have nothing to do with it. Too bad ignorance and prejudice can't be vaccinated against.

The most recent two postings here are no doubt from a member of the anti-vaccine contingent — a group that chooses to deny reality. These "minor illnesses" as she put it, certainly can lead to death. In the historical record, sudden exposure to these pathogens has been responsible for epidemics that devastated entire indigenous groups. It's also shortsighted to assume that because deaths from these diseases are relatively rare today (thanks largely to vaccination), that this somehow means they are less dangerous than when they regularly killed millions of children.

@Brin, below:

You are both uninformed and unwilling to believe that measles, mumps, whooping cough are dangerous.

When I was a child in the 1950s, these diseases killed or damaged thousands of children and teenagers.

Where did you study history? From a comic book?

Did anyone read the linked article, including the writer?

"Four of the mumps cases may be related to an outbreak, largely among Orthodox Jews, that has persisted in New York and New Jersey for almost a year. .... has also spread to Quebec, where 20 mumps cases have been linked to the New York outbreak, and to Israel...

Health officials said the Orthodox Jewish community as a whole has high vaccination rates, which is limiting the outbreak's size. The problem is that the vaccine is not completely effective. One dose is 73% to 91% effective; those who get a booster shot see 79% to 95% effectiveness.

"Sometimes, when mumps gets established somewhat in a community and you determine immunization rates are pretty high, sometimes it just has to run its course," said Tom Skinner, a spokesman for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Stop blaming this one on illegals. Health officials? clearly state: THE PROBLEM IS THAT THE VACCINE IS NOT COMPLETELY EFFECTIVE.

Imagine that. You do what you can and people can still get the disease, even the vaccinated people.

In a way, nature is doing what it does best, making sure the stongest survives while the weaker one gets eliminated. By not vaccinate a portion of population against preventable diseases, we allow these diseases to infect within these small pockets. As long as there are these pockets around, we will always have the diseases too. The scary thing is we do not know when one or more of the diseases would evolve and become vaccine-resistent. Then what do we do?

@ Brin - You sure there have been no deaths? What's your source? Here's mine: LA County Department of Public Health


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