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Whooping Cough Rise in U.S. and Other Infectious Disease Risks Lead to Call for Adult Immunizations

In January of 2005 my older daughter returned with a whooping cough from visiting my sister in Australia. It soon became apparent that she had whooping cough (we listened to a recording of whooping cough on the internet) and had given it to her boyfriend. But we couldn’t get doctors in Los Angeles to agree that these two 20-somethings had whooping cough.

Soon afterwards two things happened. 1) My sister and her younger son were diagnosed with whooping cough, the source of my daughter’s whooping cough. 2) And there was an article in the Los Angeles Times that whooping cough had returned to the U.S. and teens needed to get a booster shot, although doctors were not calling for this booster shot.

Today, three-and-a-half years later, there’s an article in the July 9th The Informed Patient column by Laura Landro titled “Get Your Shots: Adults Need Vaccines, Too.” The subtitle is “Public-Health Experts Push for National Inoculation Plan; A Rise in Whooping Cough.” (boldface mine)

Hello, the Miller family could have made this announcement three-and-a-half years ago. And it’s not very reassuring to know how long it takes the U.S. medical community to catch up with the reality.

The news today? According to the Journal article, “infectious-disease experts and public health officials are calling for a national program to make immunization as routine a part of health care for adults as it has long been for children.” (Search for “adult immunization schedule” at www.cdc.gov to learn more.)

And at the risk of revealing my age, my husband and I are apparently part of the only 1.9% of adults who have gotten the shingles vaccine, which is recommended for people over 60 who had chicken pox as a child. Medical insurance doesn’t pay – and the shot is pricey ($200 or more depending on where you get it) – but given how painful shingles can be, my husband and I bit the bullet and shelled out for one shot each.

Other vaccines that are not being effectively utilized: Apparently “only about 10% of women aged 18 to 26 have received the new vaccine for human papillomavirus, linked to cervical cancer.” And “fewer than 30% of the adults at highest risk” for the flu get the flu shot each year.

I’ll admit there was something in the article I didn’t know – the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is recommending that people traveling to European countries, including Austria, Germany and Switzerland, check with their doctor to see if they need a measles vaccine!
And the article also warns that many shots need to be taken weeks ahead of time. So you can’t dash in to get a shot only hours before you board a plane. (See the Travelers’ Health link at www.cdc.gov for travel immunization information, which changes as new infections occur.)

Oh, what about my daughter and her boyfriend? They were fortunate that the medical specialist (whose receptionist my daughter had bullied to get an appointment that day) decided to treat them as if they had whooping cough even though he was sure they didn’t have it.

Syndicated from www.dogooderscrooge.blogspot.com

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is an author, blogger and marketer. She has just started Miller Mosaic, LLC to provide online information products and has launched the company’s first website at www.estateplanningforyou.com. Her book MRS. LIEUTENANT: A SHARON GOLD NOVEL – that takes place in 1970 during the Vietnam War – was released in April, and the first four chapters are available at www.mrslieutenant.com.
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