Worst Outbreak of Whooping Cough in Washington State Since the 1940s

The New York Times does its best to blame it on budget cuts, as this headline foretells:

Cutbacks Hurt a State’s Response to Whooping Cough

Whooping cough, or pertussis, a highly infectious respiratory disease once considered doomed by science, has struck Washington State this spring with a severity that health officials say could surpass the toll of any year since the 1940s, before a vaccine went into wide use.

Although no deaths have been reported so far this year, the state has declared an epidemic and public health officials say the numbers are staggering: 1,284 cases through early May, the most in at least three decades and 10 times last year’s total at this time, 128.


Here’s the spin:

The response to the epidemic has been hampered by the recession, which has left state and local health departments on the front lines of defense weakened by years of sustained budget cuts.

But 2/3 into the story we get the real reason — nutjob parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated:

The pertussis vaccine is commonly given in childhood, and many states require it for children of school age. But Washington State, according to a federal study last year of kindergarten-age children, had the highest percentage of parents in the nation who voluntarily exempted their children from one or more vaccines, out of fear of side effects or for philosophical reasons.

Another example of the need to have a wall of separation between politics and science.  Also, between idiots and children.

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