Pertussis—Whooping Cough—Can Kill

The entire universe in blog form
April 30 2013 10:48 AM

Pertussis Can Kill

I really, really wish I didn’t have to post something like this. I wish it didn’t exist at all. But it does, so I must. Warning: this video is very difficult to watch, and may be upsetting to people.

As a parent—as a human being—watching that video tears my heart out.

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These outbreak of pertussis and measles are happening all over the world, and that includes the United States. Last week, a baby in Orange County, Florida, died of whooping cough. We nearly lost a baby in a recent outbreak in my home town of Boulder, Colorado—an affluent, well-educated town, on average. These diseases are highly contagious, but they are also preventable.

That's why I can’t say this enough. Talk to your board-certified doctor, and if they say so, get your TDaP booster, make sure your other shots are up-to-date, and get your family vaccinated. Tell your friends, tell your family, tell everyone.

Because it’s just this simple, and it’s not hyperbole: The fewer people who are vaccinated, the greater the chance a preventable disease will run rampant. And the vicitms are usually those who don't have any say in the matter.

Dana McCaffery
in 2009, Dana McCaffery, a baby in Australia, lost her life to pertussis at the age of four weeks.

Photo by DanaMcCaffery.com

My thanks to MistressMousey on Twitter.

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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