Back with a Vengeance: Berkeley’s Head Epidemiologist On the Return of Pertussis

Professor Arthur Reingold is Head of Epidemiology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health

California: Is whooping cough coming back?

We certainly are having a resurgence of pertussis in the United States, although it’s never gone away. It is a threat to very young infants, particularly those too young to be vaccinated or who have not yet had a complete series of the vaccines. 

Where does pertussis come from? How can you catch it?

There is no nonhuman source of pertussis. Pertussis is limited strictly to humans. There are no animals that are involved in the transmission of pertussis and it’s not in the environment. So it’s 100 percent a disease that is transmitted from one person to another through coughing and sneezing, through the respiratory route. 

Why hasn’t vaccination wiped pertussis out?

You can be immunized and protected against getting the disease, pertussis, but still have the organism in your nose and throat and spread it to others. Or you can have a very mild illness that is caused by pertussis that causes you to cough, and thereby infect others. So the immunity is not 100 percent from the pertussis vaccine. And what it means is any kind of herd immunity—the way we see, for example, much more powerfully with measles—really can’t be relied upon.

What’s herd immunity?

Herd immunity—the idea that some unvaccinated people are protected because other people are vaccinated and thereby are less likely to come in contact with the organism—is very powerful for some infectious diseases and totally nonexistent and irrelevant for other infectious diseases. Pertussis is kind of in the middle.

Herd immunity is important, and one of the strategies we have for trying to prevent disease in newborn infants who are still too young to be vaccinated is called “cocooning,” where we try to vaccinate all of the adults in the household or who are in contact with that infant. But if people think they’re protected because they live in a generally well-vaccinated population like the United States, and therefore are not likely to get pertussis, that would be the wrong message to give, because the reality is the organism circulates freely in the U.S. despite high levels of vaccination.

Why “cocooning”?

In part because we don’t really have another way to protect young babies except to make sure that, A, they are born to well-immunized mothers and have some passive immunity from antibodies they get from their mother. But then it’s going to be several months before they can have had several doses and be protected through immunization, and we know that most babies who get pertussis get it from immediate contact within their family and the adults in their surroundings. So, B, we are trying to at least reduce the likelihood that the adults around a baby could be a source of infection for the baby. 

Who doesn’t get vaccinated?

So the Supreme Court basically ruled 100 years ago that you must allow people exemptions on religious, personal-belief kinds of grounds. So that’s sort of been basically adjudicated a long time ago, is my understanding. There are also rare instances where you shouldn’t vaccinate. For example, [if] you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to a vaccine, you shouldn’t get more doses of that vaccine. So there are some medical counterindications—they are very rare—but they do exist. And then the whole question is, other than medical counterindications, … what types of religious or personal-belief exemptions do you allow?

But the easier it is for parents to opt out, the higher the proportion of parents who do opt out, and within states that make it easier, there are higher levels of opting out. Particularly there are pockets in the states of Washington and Oregon and California, including here in Northern California but also in Southern California, where as many as 20 or 30 percent of parents are opting out of vaccinating their children against pertussis. There are pockets here on the West Coast, and I suppose elsewhere, where that’s really reached an alarming proportion.

From the Summer 2014 Apocalypse issue of California.
Filed under: Science + Health
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“The Supreme Court basically ruled 100 years ago that you must allow people exemptions on religious, personal-belief kinds of grounds” That’s actually completely incorrect. In Jacobson v. Massachusetts the Supreme Court allowed mandatory immunization with no religious or personal belief exemption - the other way around. No court in the U.S. ever found that a religious exemption is required. Most recently, in Workman v. Mingo Board of Education, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lack of religious exemption in West Virginia even under our most restrictive standard, strict scrutiny.
Nevertheless Dorit, it is my child, and through extensive research, I choose to not vaccinate my children! No court ruling or intimidation would ever force me to change my position. You are a policy maker and a faithful servant to the pharmaceutical industry. Your policy making and one sided agenda does not serve disease free life. There is to much wrong with the vaccine industry to ever take your words with anything other than a grain of salt. Health freedom and Constitutional protections afforded the parents will not be usurped or coerced into doing something unconscionable such as injecting any living thing with foreign DNA , human diploid derived from aborted baby’s, heavy metals, poly sorbate, mouse brain DNA, formaldehyde, ALUMINIUM, thimerasol and bovine cocktails along with antifreeze. To the informed person who can think and reason, your claims are not credible although you come out speaking with a false sense of authority.
I note you provide no actual evidence of anything wrong with vaccines, aside from using the old, weak and false pharma shill gambit. As I explained, the Supreme Court of the U.S. concluded that the constitution does not prevent a state from requiring vaccination to protect the public health. As highlighted in Prince v. Massachusetts, when speaking of a child, the state can also step in to protect that child from a parent’s problematic decision - though they do not have to. I can understand that reading a list of vaccine ingredients can be distressing, without more information. For example, just the list hides how small the amounts in vaccines are: the whole vaccine is 0.5 ml, a tenth of a teaspoon, and most of that is liquid, often distilled water. It also hides the fact that most of these ingredients are part of our natural environment and our bodies are designed to deal with small amounts - like formaldehyde, which we make as part of our metabolism, or aluminum, which is in many, many foods. Here is a useful source about vaccine ingredients:
Dorit, I didn’t include my evidence or present to you anything that substantiates my research. I’m not doing this with you anymore. Your statements insinuate they you do not work to further the policy in this country on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. Well, I know your bio, I’ve read to many to count pieces about you and I have found your name on a many vaccine pushing documents. You can deny what you’re doing, but I’m not debating that either. I already know who you are and who writes your paycheck. Good for you. You call them small amounts, you minimize their affects on the human body. That is your choice to do. I’m simply stating that in no setting on this planet, would I ever inject my healthy children with human diploid derived from the murder of a dead baby. I will stand by my beliefs, I will protect my children, I will never be convicted that anyone injecting the masses with DNA harvested from human diploid which IS derived from abortted fetus’. For many, this one ingredient prevents any dialogue about all of the other ingredients. I see the Constitution is just another piece of paper to the industry. But I would and many would not violate their faith or reasoning. I think it’s actually insane to even have a discussion with a professional such as you regarding the use of human diploid and injecting it into a healthy thriving human being. Bill Gates funds the vaccine push all across this world, I saw him speak regarding climate change, he gave this cute little equation, in his litany, he said one of these numbers needed to be reduced drastically, funny hiw he chose the human population number that he said he was going to help reduce. When asked how he would reduce this popular, he said through better vaccines. No thanks, we are just not into eugenics. Tuskeegee Experiemnts Guatemala Experiments Cancer on the rise from the polysorbate cancer virus polio vaccine India paralytic polio from the polio vaccine…I could go on and on, but you see my point. Please, don’t come back with any correction, I may have written it all to plainly! but I completely understand and through a FOIA request, you can verify everything I’m saying. Do with your children what you will, but my goodness, try to curb yourself when it comes to others children. You are not supreme policy maker for the worlds children.
I nite Dirut, that you disallowed my last comment. So much for freedom of speech.
Dorit, Please read the materials safety data sheet for this ingredient found in vaccines: “beta propiolactone” and then tell me how you could, under any circumstances, justify injecting that chemical into a child. sciencelab [d o t] com/msds [d o t] php?msdsId=9924729
You know fully well aluminum acts completely different in the body when injected, opposed to ingesting it.
MSDS are not a good source for information about the role and dangers of an ingredient in vaccines. They are designed for people who work with the ingredients constantly, and are exposed to large amounts. Look, for example, at the MSDS for vinegar or olive oil: they sound scary too. Again: vaccines only have tiny amounts of ingredients - and they are extensively tested for safety before being put on the market: the whole vaccine, not just the ingredient.
It is sad to know you wasted time coming up with utter nonsense and are using it to make health decisions for minors.
You are not protecting your children at all you are risking their safety with your irrational and untrue beliefs.
No Dorit, vinegar and olive oil do NOT sound scary! Your condescension is really insulting. Again, do with your children as you will…I’ll do the same. Opinions are worthless, really, especially regarding this debate on whether or not to vax. I don’t debate anymore, your side is irrational. Bully mentality, mongering and self proclaimed authority. You have no authority here and I’ve made my decisions on 20 years worth of evidence. I’ve seen enough, and again, we’re just not into eugenics!
People can look those MSDS themselves and consider what they want. I am sorry to hear you are choosing not to protect your children. I hope herd immunity keeps them safe, in spite of that choice. I am glad to be doing my share, by protecting myself and mine, for their protection.
Herd immunity is a THEORY! That is all it is. I believe you have the choice to inject your children with known neurotoxins. I have healthy children, I feed them well, they are active, never had an ear infection, high I.Q and never drink fluoridated water. They’ve never been injected with anything. There piers, have had all of their shots, and are chronically ill. I’d love to see you verify your children’s vaccine records. My bet is, you don’t vax your children either.
Seriously? beta propiolactone is a class 2 carcinogen and the severe adverse events listed are for inhalation and/or skin contact! How much more deadly do you think it is for injection as opposed to inhalation or skin contact? The LD50 (which is the amount required to cause DEATH in 50% of people who are exposed to it) is only 24 ppm for 4 hours. So, if only 24 ppm inhaled will cause DEATH in 50% of people, you think it’s ok to inject that in children? By the way CHOP is not a reliable source of information. They are afraid of nutritional supplements, even though no one has ever died from a nutritional supplement. On the other hand 100,000 people die each year from the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs. But CHOP still thinks they are just fine. Not very “evidence based” if you ask me.
Sullivanthepoop! Really? I don’t remember soliciting your two cents, which after reading what you wrote, appears to not even be worth two cents! Herd immunity is just a theory. Known neurotoxins is what is in a vaccine. I’m all about health freedom, help yourself, I hope you will one day take a look around you and see what the vaccines do. I don’t care how minuscule of an amount were talking about when you eat a chocolate chip cookie Sullivanthepoop, it might look like all chocolate, but what if after you ate the whole cookie, the baker told you there was a little bit of “poop” in the cookie? Would you eat another cookie from the same batch? Only an idiot would do so…the question is strictly rhetorical, don’t bother replying. Your two cents is the same smog and dance, eventually you resort to name calling and strong arming. I’m not here to do that, I’m simply giving a bold statement that other people who go after research, can see thee is an opposing side to the vaccine debate. There are millions of me. I’ve done my homework, and I’ve made my decision. I expose my children to the research I’ve gathered and now they go and share their story and people are interested in the non vax choice. When you inform someone there are exemption forms, they always run for it. No matter what policy, or mandates are passed or enforced, some of the parents who are like minded like myself, will simply go off the grid. Dorit, I find it quite disturbing that you stated how the state can step in and remove a child from a non compliant parent who chooses not to force their child with a government mandated health procedure. That is a crime against humanity and I pity the fool who ever finds themselves between my child and the car door. Foolish servant to lobby and make policy against good, informed honest people who just want the quiet and peaceable life. You are taking a baseball bat and swinging at a bee hive. Foolish foolish liberal.
Ld50 actually Refers to An animal (usually mice or rats). They don’t actually test it on people.
Sunshine, I love your comments and am also anti-vax. Just had our pedi sign our waiver yesterday, in fact. I’m also NOT a fan of the Gates, but I feel compelled to point out that the Bill Gates comment is widely misrepresented among anti-vax folks. Gates’s position is that vaccinated = healthier, and healthier populations produce fewer babies, so vaccinated populations will produce fewer babies. Not saying I agree, just want to inform your otherwise-well-stated arguments.
Actually, the EPA disagrees with you on the carcinogen claim and it’s used to sterilize water, milk, and other things. Do you have any evidence that the tiny amounts Do you have any evidence that the tiny amounts in influenza and rabies vaccines are in any way harmful? Or are you just assuming? I’m sorry to hear you believe an institutional as respected as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Vaccine Education Center, run by a team of experts, is unreliable. You’re wrong, of course. The information there is carefully vetted and accurate.
“Herd immunity is a THEORY! That is all it is.” Gravity is a theory, too. A scientific theory is something that has quite a bit of evidence behind it. Here is a list of studies showing the effect of herd immunity: None of the ingredients in vaccines is actually toxic in the tiny amounts in vaccines. The dose makes the poison, remember: anything can be toxic in large enough amounts. I’m glad your children are healthy. Again: they are lucky to live in a first world country where most people vaccinate, protecting them against diphtheria, HiB, polio, and so on. I hope their luck holds, and as I said, am happy to be doing my share for their protection by protecting my own child, who is fully vaccinated, schedule plus meningococcal.
Your making too much sense , your not using scare tactics so therefore your not credible. All kidding aside Thanks for the link , I appreciated it. This reminds me of the lady pouring milk into coke cola bottle.. it curdled the milk… then stated ( LOOK WHAT COKE does to proteins Imagine that in your body!!) I am like umm.. citric acid.. you just curdled milk just like lemon juice would do in milk, pass the coke. I won’t be commenting again no notifications feel free to rant away.
Dorit, sorry but some substances are toxic at any amount, and if you know science at all then you should know about synergistic effects. Also, the theory of gravity is a theory that has been revised and expanded on a great deal since it was first discovered. Finally, patients have the right to self determination. People should be able to opt out of vaccines without having to use an exemption other than, they choose not to vaccinate.
I cannot understand why anyone would believe that parents do not have a right to decide between accepting the consensus of medical researchers based upon years of research and observation and the claims of a discredited man who committed fraud and the supermodel who parrots his claims. Evidently, some people seem to believe that willful ignorance should not be afforded the same credibility that is given to scientific knowledge.
Dorit Reiss…if you love your children so much how about get off the internet and interact with them. Maybe reflect on your life a little. You must never have time for anyone. I find it really sad.
I only allow myself 30 mins a day. And I just wasted it reading all of this. Lets stop the debate. Make safer more efficient vaccines. End.
Everybody wants safe and efficient vaccines - that’s why so much effort goes into testing them: Before the vaccine gets on the market in the U.S., it goes through a multi-stage process that involves: A. Discovering the germ behind a disease and figuring out how to vaccinate. B. Animal studies of safety and effectiveness. C. Application for an Invesitgative New Drug license to FDA. Only at this point can human studies be done, and only at this point does the CDC described process start: This process involves: D. Three stages of clinical trials for safety and effectiveness, including in the last stage trials in thousands of volunteers over a period of years. E. Concomitant studies to show it’s safe and effective with the rest of the schedule. F. Approval by multiple committees in different institutions of placing it on the schedule - where safety, effectiveness, and cost are considered. No vaccine gets on the market unless the benefits far outweigh the risks: because vaccines are given to healthy children, the bar is high. That’s why the number of real serious harms is so low anti-vaccine activists have to resort to uninvestigated reports in VAERS ( to inflate them. Can problems arise later? Yes. That’s why we have: G. Post marketing surveillance - monitoring of doses given to millions of children, using multiple systems. H. Studies by researchers in universities. Nobody takes vaccine safety lightly. But when scientists look, they actually look: they do not make up problems that are not there, and they do not connect vaccines to problems when the evidence is otherwise, when the evidence is that vaccines do not cause them. Nothing is 100% safe - but this elaborate process helps minimize harms from vaccines and insure their benefits really, really, far outweigh their small risks. To remind you, a 2013 Institute of Medicine Report examined the evidence and concluded: “Upon reviewing stakeholder concerns and scientific literature regarding the entire childhood immunization schedule, the IOM committee finds no evidence that the schedule is unsafe.”
Dorit, You sound like a parrot! You can present your jargon just like that, but you know full well that for some vaccines, the public usage of the vaccines ar in some cases the actual study. I agree with one commentor above, that parents should be able to opt out of vaccines and need no waiver form. Health freedom is not a privilege. It is a given! I appreciate how this debate has evolved into definitive camps over the years, and I appreciate how the informed, and steadfast parent continuously and patiently try’s to educate the pro vaccine and willful ignorance. Still in the USA! there is health freedom.
Lady, seriously… You need to go DIAF.
Sunshine, you keep claiming that you’re “informed”, and that Pro-Vax people are not, yet you offer absolutely no evidence to back up your claims beyond continuing to repeat how informed you are. Would you care to explain: A) How you are somehow more of an authority on this subject than actual scientists? B) Your evidence that vaccines make people sick? C) How the only people that seem to believe that vaccines are bad are people with no actual scientific training?
Fark Hates a You…name sucks! Die in a fire? This is what makes your side so dismissible. Wether we agree or disagree on vaccines, I think it’s not to audacious to say, it is a personal choice. Again, rudeness and insults are your last resort. Grow up.
Good grief quasar…I’m through presenting the pro vax camp anything. I’m not debating, arguing or going to sit here being barraged with the self imposed authority of anyone who is telling me that everything I say is wrong. I’ve had it and I’m just simply stating that at this point, it’s a personal choice. The notion that the pro vaccine camp would honestly use fear mongering, policy making and threat of the state to seize anyone’s child over being vaccinated or not, has absolutely no credibility. These vaccines, and these governments and pharmaceutical industry in all truth, if they had something so great to offer mankind, using the state, seizing children and strong arming parents wouldn’t need to be of concern. It’s hard to fathom your lack of understanding. Many, do not want your vaccines. I’ve seen over and over again vaccine damage, I know what I’ve seen, I know what my dr. Has shared with me and I know all that I have personally researched. When I share the specifics of what my dr. Stated, and what I’ve seen first, everyone who pushes vaccines, gives me ten reasons why I’m wrong or why I didn’t actually see, what I know I saw with my own two eyes. Never presenting evidence again.
I can’t help but notice you didn’t answer any of my questions.
I guess “Health Freedom” is the new buzzword, but the fact is that you’re part of a society and your choices to not vaccinate result in an increased risk of disease for all involved. It’s a “tragedy of the commons” problem played out with children - the negative externalities of your decisions aren’t usually born directly by you, so why do you care what happens to anyone else? It’s the same logic used by people who dump pollution or anti-global warming nutters. So, here’s my solution. Parents should be free to not vaccinate their children, but at the end of each year the medical expenses for all the diseases caused by non vaccination should be totaled up and split amongst those parents who refused vaccination. This would appropriately assign the costs to their proper owners and would quickly solve the problem.
So, basically what you’re saying is you don’t have any actual evidence, and you’re simply making an uninformed choice based on what you “feel”. I hope your foolish, uninformed choices don’t lead to your children getting sick with something serious.
Ahhhh, I can’t help you. The notion that I’m somehow responsible for a disease and now you think a solution is to have me pay up at the end of the year. Insane. How about EVERYTIME your child gets vaccinated, and my unvaccinated kid gets the disease your child expound them to. How about the outbreaks that have occurred among the newly vaxxed populous. You’ll come back siting how the kids that don’t get vaccinated are the problem, I already state that herd immunity is just a theory and I get back Dorit saying how gravity is a theory. Not even close to being in the same ball park. No matter what, I do not feel comfortable exposing or injecting my children with foreign DNA! I think you all are insane because you have absolutely no problem at all with injecting your children with foreign DNA! What more do we need to discuss beyond the foreign DNA?
Sunshine, when you’ve got a free moment could you recommend the best copper crystal orgone rig for breaking up chemtrails?
Tell it to polio.
So, you’re super concerned about injecting your kids with foreign DNA, but not concerned about the increased chance that the same foreign DNA (the disease itself) will infect your children? Herd immunity is a theory in the same sense that gravity or evolution or quantum mechanics is a theory. It is a well structured explanation of what we observe in reality that is testable and has stood up to prior tests of its validity. We eradicated smallpox based on the principles of herd immunity. We were on the verge of eradicating polio based on the principles of herd immunity before anti-vaccination conspiracy theories began emerging in African and Middle Eastern countries which has resulted in increased incidence of those diseases. Herd immunity isn’t absolute - if a vaccinated population is repeatedly exposed to the virus (as is the case when an unvaccinated child who may be infected but not symptomatic) then the virus can evolve to break through the immunity. The solution to this problem is to deny the virus the opportunity to spread by ring vaccinating around it when an outbreak occurs and to then establish routine vaccination protocols to prevent it from having an opportunity to regain a foothold.
Wow Fark….that’s nice! Chemtrails are real you can research it yourself. If you no anyone who happens to be in weather or is a former Air Force pilot, you could pick their brain, you see, I’ve already don’t this and made my decisions based on different criteria. When I speak to a man who was red Onside fir attaching canisters if barium salts in the airplane I tend to listen. When I see the trails start overhead, I actually take serious notice, because you see…I live in the Rocky Mountains and I live in the middle of nowhere, the norm is usually three to five planes a week flying overhead to larger city’s, but when the planes spray, there will 10- 12 planes flying high altitude in the same hour. It’s not my job to convince you, it’s your job to get your head thinking and testing everything against what you think you know.
STILE4ALY, your comments make too much sense for Sunshine to understand. Don’t you get it, she’s done RESEARCH!
Stile there is to much wrong with your statement. Polio was not nearly irradiated. How about the 47,500 Indians in India that were affected negatively by the very vax that was supposed to help them. Polio was dying out and the vaccine gave new life to the horrible disease. Polio in America only comes from the vax. You can call it what you want, but the paralytic like qualities after being injected and diseased, wouldn’t occurs had there been no one vaccinated against it.
The problem with this is that you are wrong - Like the flat earthers are wrong - like the 6000 year old earth cult is wrong - like the creationists are wrong - like the earth is the center of the universe wrong. You are just wrong and you do a disservice to you your children and those who share the space around you.
Maybe we should have the chem trails spray vaccines. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Sigh, you are an idiot and should not breed or pass along your ideas. Look up “smallpox” on Google Images. This is what happens to unvaccinated children. There’s a reason parents don’t have 10 kids with only 2 survivors anymore….
I’m sure her anti-vax rant is only the tip of the iceberg of derp she throws onto her kids. Assuming they survive to adulthood, I seriously doubt they’ll have anything to produce to the world other than billing hours from their numerous psychiatrists.
You forgot to mention that smallpox vaccine comes from cows. Medicine is hard. Basic biology is hard. The main advantage to remaining unvaccinated is that you will die and fail to pass on your lack of natural resistance to disease to your offspring. I have to say that’s a good choice for some people.
Nice try and no, I am not wrong! I’ve done my children a high service by not following the sheep and you know what, many parents are not following the sheep, or in this case I should say wolves. It is of absolutely in consequence that you find me to be such a thorn, I’m here, you’re there and in reality, we will never meet. The growing polarization regarding vaccines is unmistakable. It’s not just me as you would like to have people believe! I just think it’s absolutely horrendous that the pharmaceutical industry would take an aborted baby…aka-murdered, and use it in the manufacturing of anything to be injected into any healthy living thriving child or adult. Human diploid derived from a dead baby cell line us completely heinous and criminal. Buy you call it science and then you sit there on your pompous rhetoric and try to call me out saying my ignorance is no match for your scientific training. Whatever makes you feel good and whatever it takes for you to justify this cash cow and endless mandates. When in your narrow opinion will there be enough vaccines? When I was a kid, we had twelve….which my mother made sure I never received. Now my children are expected 69+ including gestational. To many, to soon and known neurotoxic ingredients.
She lost me when she said Chemtrails are real. It’s clear that she isn’t basing her decision to not vaccinate on anything other than misinformation and emotion. I hope your children live long enough to be able to make smarter choices for themselves.


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