Last week, in Burlington, N.C., officials with the Alamance County Public Health Department discovered an unusually high number of cases of pertussis or whooping cough.
The agency confirmed 82 cases of pertussis affecting 14 schools and child care centers throughout the county. A majority of those cases came from the area's elementary and middle schools.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, pertussis or whooping cough is a highly contagious illness that, at first, mimics symptoms of the common cold - a runny nose, sneezing, a mild cough and a fever. With pertussis, the cough becomes increasingly more rapid, even violent, causing fits that can force the affected to make a "whooping" sound when trying to inhale.
In the United States, most children receive a recommended vaccine for pertussis called DTaP. The DTaP vaccine also protects for diptheria and tetanus and is typically given in the first few months of a child's life through age 6.
What's most surprising about the North Carolina outbreak is that a majority of those infected, had already received the vaccine against it. Why? Because, according to the CDC, the DTaP vaccine is only 88.7 percent effective.
Do you vaccinate your child according to the recommended schedule? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.
This small, somewhat insignificant percentage of failure resulted in a heated discussion among a few of my friends. One, the mother of two, said it was for this very reason (that vaccines aren't 100 percent effective) that she chose not to vaccinate her children at all. Another argued that she was putting her children and others in harm's way by not getting them vaccinated. A third friend said she chose to selectively vaccinate her children and on her own schedule.
Personally, with all three of my kids, I chose to vaccinate according to our pediatrician's suggested schedule. We never had a negative reaction to any of the vaccinations and I would most certainly do it again. In all honesty, I'm baffled by a mother who chooses not to vaccinate at all. I think being selective is fine and choosing when you'd like your child to have those vaccines is absolutely your right. The idea that child could die from something that could have been easily prevented is frightening.
So what do/did you do with your child/children? Did you choose to vaccinate? Why or why not? Take our poll and tell us in the comments.