Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Memoriam - U.S. Pertussis Deaths Through May 2012

Catherina over at Just the Vax gave us all a reminder of the real impact of pertussis, or whooping cough. In that vein, this post is in tribute to those who have lost their lives to pertussis this year. My heart goes out to all of these families. Please go out and get your boosters and learn what to look for.

In Memoriam

Brady Alcaide
Age 2 months

Name Unknown
Age 2 months

Francesca Marie McNally
Age 3 months

Ariel Renee Esther Salazar
Age 10 1/2 weeks
New Mexico

Kenadee Elizabeth Wilde
Age 9 weeks

Name Unknown
Age 1 month

Name Unknown
Age 1 month


  1. Francesca McNally lived in Franklin, Michigan

    Thank you for this post!

  2. Catherina,

    Thank you for pointing that out. I accidentally switched Michigan and Idaho. All set now.

  3. your sad list is probably an under estimate - a German study found 5% of "SIDS" babies colonised with B. pertussis... (but see - note that "cases" babies were less likely to have received their age appropriate doses of vaccines...

  4. It may be an underestimate, but all I have to go on are public reports. Also, none of these were old enough to have received the full course of pertussis immunizations, and so relied very heavily on herd immunity to protect them. A sad and devastating illustration of the need for teens and adults to keep up to date on their boosters.

    Interesting findings in those studies. I could see situations where pertussis might not be considered as a cause of death, especially if the infant is too weak to draw breath, thus never displaying the "whoop" sound that is characteristic of the disease.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! One of these little angels was my cousin's daughter, and my heart truly goes out to all of the families represented with this post.

    People don't realize that adults are the ones spreading this highly contagious disease, which may seem like simply a persistent cold in teens or adults, to infants too young to be fully protected by the vaccine. As you can see, the results are deadly.

    We all need to do what we can to raise awareness about the Tdap booster, which preteens should get at 11 or 12, and adults should get once every 10 years.

  6. Given the tragic news on pertussis, I thought you might be interested in this story and video about how public health experts in San Diego are using text-message reminders to increase the immunization rate among 1-year-olds:

    It will be on our Facebook page, too:


  7. Rex,

    Thanks for sharing. Very interesting idea! I've passed it along on Twitter and G+.


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