Winnebago County health authorities are investigating an outbreak of whooping cough.
So far 33 cases have been reported this month. That compares with only one case on average earlier this year.
Half are in 11- and 12-year-olds. Children that age should get booster shots because immunity from early childhood pertussis vaccines can wane. Sue Fuller of the county health department says adults should be sure to have booster shots too.
Age at death – 14 years
Cause of death – Meningococcal meningitis
Vaccination status – Unknown, possibly unvaccinated. “She didn’t know he was at-risk,” said a family member referring to Matthews mother.
Synopsis – Meyers came home from a track and field meet complaining his ribs hurt. His mom, Renee Gardner, of Lake George, thought it might be the flu, and the 14-year-old went to bed and slept through most of the day Saturday.
“On Sunday morning, she heard him moaning and groaning and called her son, Bill Meyers, who lives on the other side of the lake, to come and help,” Dufore said.
Matthew Meyers fell out of bed and was unresponsive. The family called 911, and he was taken to Clare Medical Center, where tests determined he had meningococcal meningitis. Meyers was airlifted to Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw.
After a week-long battle, Mathew succumbed to the disease shortly after 5 AM on Friday, 05/28/2010. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family. We are very sorry for your loss.
A fundraiser bake sale will be held Sunday at the Swiss Inn located at 105 W. Park St.
A benefit dinner will be held June 5 at 2 p.m. at the Clare Eagle’s Club, where some of the local donations collected will be presented to Matthew’s mother.
Cash support may be sent to the Matthew R. Meyers Fund, c/o Community Alliance Credit Union, 37401 Plymouth Road, Livonia, MI 48150.
Age at death – 5 weeks
Cause of death – Pertussis (whooping cough)
Vaccination status – Had not received first pertussis shot, because she was too young
Synopsis – Callie Grace was born on Christmas Eve 2009. By the last week of of January 2010 she developed a dry cough which got worse as time went by. When she stopped breathing at the pediatrician’s office she was taken to the hospital. While under observation at the pediatrics ICU, at 1:12am on January 30, 2010 she perished due to respiratory failure. When the tests came back, they were positive for pertussis, or more commonly known as whooping cough. Unfortunately, Callie was too young to receive the vaccine, the first dose of which is given at 2 months. She lacked immunity and was unable to fight off the disease. Our hearts go out to Callie’s parents. We are very sorry for your loss.
To protect babies too young for vaccination, health officials suggest vaccinating anyone who will come into contact with newborns.
California health authorities say that cases of whooping cough reported to the state have more than doubled so far this year — 346 cases from Jan. 1 to April 30, up from 129 cases during the same period last year.
Four newborns have died from the disease — two in Los Angeles County and two in the Central Valley. Amid concern that this may be the worst year for whooping cough since a 2005 outbreak killed eight infants in California, health officials are recommending a new strategy to protect babies too young for vaccination.
The strategy is called “cocooning” — vaccinating mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings and anyone else who will be in contact with newborns. It’s a relatively new concept because a vaccine for whooping cough, also known as pertussis, first became available for adults and adolescents in 2005.
“If you can’t vaccinate the baby, you vaccinate everyone who comes into contact with them,” said John Talarico, chief of the immunization branch at the California Department of Public Health.
Babies are vulnerable in their first year of life because they cannot get their first pertussis vaccination until they are at least 6 weeks old. Even then, infants are still at risk because they need several more boosters, said Dr. C. Mary Healy, an expert on pediatric infectious diseases at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
Studies show it is family members, particularly mothers, who infect infants with whooping cough, which was a significant killer of infants in the United States until widespread inoculations began in the 1940s.
Though many people were inoculated as children, immunity begins to fade after five years.
One problem in managing this extremely infectious disease is that the telltale “whooping” sound made after a coughing fit does not occur initially. Sometimes, infants with pertussis never make the “whooping” sound.
In infants, “diagnosis of pertussis is often delayed or missed because of a deceivingly mild onset of runny nose,” with an undetectable or mild cough, the state said in a recent bulletin to physicians.
Even worse, infants infected with pertussis usually do not have fever, which could leave parents and doctors with a false sense of security that the illness is not severe, said Dr. James D. Cherry, a UCLA pediatrics professor and an expert on pertussis.
The illness in newborns younger than 3 months old can quickly escalate.
“The babies will cough all their air out, the oxygen in the blood will decrease, then they may pass out and they may have seizures, convulsions,” Cherry said.
The bacteria can also cause pneumonia and death.
Some parents worry babies get ‘too much too soon,’ but study finds no impact on neurological health
MONDAY, May 24 (HealthDay News) — Some American parents are choosing to space out and delay recommended vaccines because they’re worried that their infants are getting too many shots too soon, potentially contributing to later mental health issues.
The issue has been especially persistent when it comes to autism, which some believe is tied to vaccines, although numerous studies have discounted such a link.
However, a study published online May 24 in the journal Pediatrics finds no neurological benefit to delaying immunizations during the first year of life.
Researchers at the University of Louisville analyzed the health records of more than 1,000 children. After comparing the kids’ performance on 42 neuropsychological tests between the ages of 7 and 10 against the timeliness of vaccination during the first year of life, the researchers found no evidence that delaying vaccines gave children any advantage in terms of brain development.
“Our study shows that there is only a downside to delaying vaccines, and that is an increased susceptibility to potentially deadly infectious diseases,” said lead researcher Dr. Michael J. Smith, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at the University of Louisville School of Medicine. “We hope these findings will encourage more parents to vaccinate according to the American Academy of Pediatrics schedule, and reassure them that they’re making a safe choice when they do so.”
Smith said the study is the first to evaluate the long-term neuropsychological impacts of multiple vaccinations received in the first seven months of life. In the past few years, more and more parents are asking their pediatricians for an alternative vaccine schedule, “but we found that nobody had really looked at whether there are any advantages to delaying vaccines,” he said.
Using publicly available records collected for a previous study of exposure to the vaccine preservative thimerosal, Smith and co-author Dr. Charles Woods reviewed the immunization records of 1,047 children born between 1993 and 1997, as well as their performance on 42 in-depth neuropsychological tests taken between 2003 and 2004. Children were classified as up-to-date if they had received at least two hepatitis B, three diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP), three Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) and two polio vaccines on time during the first seven months of life. A vaccine was considered on time if it was given within 30 days of the recommended age.
The developmental tests included assessments of speech and language, fine motor coordination, behavior regulation, general intellectual functioning and other abilities.
Two separate analyses were performed. In the first, children with timely receipt of vaccination were compared to all other children in the study who had delays in receipt of one or more doses. In a second analysis, children who received the maximum number of vaccines in the first seven months of life were compared to those who received the fewest vaccines in the study group.
In both analyses, the researchers found no evidence to suggest that multiple vaccines in the first year of life negatively impact a child’s cognitive abilities later. In fact, the first analysis revealed that children who received all their vaccines on time performed slightly better on two of the 42 tests, after adjustment for familial and socioeconomic factors. Kids who missed or were late on one or more doses of vaccine didn’t do better on any test.
Vaccine expert Dr. Gary L. Freed, director of the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Health System, said he wasn’t surprised by the findings, since “there’s never been any evidence whatsoever that delaying vaccines does any good for any child.” And the reason children receive so many vaccines at such young ages is because “the life-threatening diseases that they protect against are most likely to attack at these ages,” he said.
Measles is making a rapid comeback in African, Asian and European countries despite being easily avoided through vaccination, the World Health Organization said Friday as countries pledged to sharply cut infections and deaths worldwide by 2015.
Since 2008, funding cuts for vaccination campaigns have allowed measles to spread again where previously it was close to being eradicated, the global body said.
“Being one of the most contagious diseases, measles is making a rapid comeback,” said Dr. Peter Strebel, who leads WHO’s work on measles.
Measles deaths among young children fell to 118,000 in 2008, compared with 1.1 million in 2000, according to WHO.
But the number of cases has surged over the past year, with large outbreaks reported in 30 African countries — from Mauritania to Zambia and Angola to Ethiopia — and Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and Bulgaria.
HAVANA, Cuba, May 18 (acn) The Cuban National Immunization Program has saved more than 22,500 children since its implementation in 1962 until 2009, said Dr. Miguel Angel Galindo, an advisor of the national vaccination program who won the 1999 Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Award for Immunization.
Speaking to reporters in Havana, Galindo praised Cuba’s efforts to guarantee free and high-quality health services for the people in spite of limitations resulting from the US’s almost 50-year-old economic blockade of the island.
He noted that, since 1962, the national anti-polio vaccination program has led to the eradication of poliomyelitis when Cuba became the first country of the Americas free form this scourge.
The expert added that other diseases that have been eradicated include diphtheria, measles, whooping cough and German measles as well as severe
clinical forms of neonatal tetanus, tubercular meningitis and serious complications from congenital German measles and post-parotitis meningoencephalitis.