Genetic Mutation May Explain Increase in U.S. Whooping Cough Cases

An old disease is making a comeback, possibly due to a bacterial mutation. Seventeen states and Washington D.C. are reporting an increase in whooping cough this year. It’s an epidemic in Texas, on pace to be the worst in half a century [1]. The very young are most at risk.

Whooping cough

What the Healthcare Law Ruling Means to You

President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in to law in March 2010 after a year of intense national debate. On Thursday last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld law, ruling that the individual mandate, which requires U.S. citizens and legal residents to have qualifying health coverage or pay a penalty, is constitutional as a tax. The ruling will have a far-reaching impact on healthcare providers, especially for those who work with underserved populations.

US Supreme Court

Flu Shot During Pregnancy Improves Perinatal Outcomes

During pregnancy, women need to take special care to avoid becoming ill. There are several reasons for this. The first is that a pregnant woman’s immune system is not as strong during pregnancy as it generally is; this helps to prevent the mother’s body from attacking the developing fetus. Unfortunately, however, the weakened immune system also means that pregnant mothers are more susceptible to pathogens that they’d otherwise fight off relatively easily. Increased susceptibility aside, there’s also the concern that some illnesses — influenza included — can impact the developing fetus. Finally, there’s the simple fact that many of the medications used to treat illnesses and their accompanying symptoms aren’t appropriate for pregnant women.

Pregnant woman and doctor with vaccine syringe

Washington State Pertussis Epidemic Highlights Importance of Vaccination

In early April, the Washington State Department of Health declared a pertussis (whooping cough) epidemic. The state has seen over 1,200 cases so far this year, and officials suspect there will be at least another few thousand cases before year’s end; levels that haven’t been seen in over 60 years. In response to the declared epidemic, the state has been working to make vaccines more accessible to uninsured patients. Additional response measures have included urging employers to encourage employee vaccination and instructing hospitals to vaccinate new parents.

Pertussis

Website Provides Vaccine Facts, Helps Parents Track Kids’ Vaccine Schedule

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the week of April 21, 2012 to be World Vaccination Week. The purpose of the initiative is to spread information about the importance and safety of vaccines.

The Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition has developed a website called Immunize For Good, which provides parents with useful resources and factual information about vaccinations. Topics addressed on the website include information about vaccine safety, the number of vaccines given and the rationale for each, and vaccine side effects. Of particular importance, the site addresses whether parents should consider spacing out vaccinations in an attempt to reduce side effects or avoid “overloading the immune system.” While vaccinating on an alternative schedule has become popular in recent years, there’s no scientific evidence to support such an approach. From the website:

Vaccines are tested to work together to best protect your child’s health. The CDC vaccine schedule is designed to give your child the greatest protection possible‚Ķ There is no medical benefit in spreading out vaccines. The alternative or delayed vaccine schedule will not decrease adverse reactions.

By 15 months, children on [a popular] delayed schedule are given 17 shots and visit the doctor’s office 9 times — almost twice as many visits to the doctor as compared to the CDC schedule.

In an effort to encourage parents to vaccinate on the CDC’s recommended schedule — and to make keeping track of vaccinations easier — the coalition has developed a web-based vaccine tracking program.

Create a vaccine schedule

Parents can access the vaccine tracking program from either a home computer or a mobile device. By logging in and providing information about their child’s age and vaccines the child has received, parents can get a personalized vaccination schedule that will keep their child up to date on all CDC-recommended immunizations.

Remember, vaccines save lives.

Source: Immunize For Good