Science. Sense. Sarcasm.
Thanks for the scan.The news from California.Marin County health officials say the number of whooping cough cases reported so far this year is already three times greater than the number of cases reported during all of 2009.Dr. Anju Goel, Marin deputy public health officer, said 58 cases of whooping cough, a highly contagious respiratory tract infection also known as pertussis, were reported in Marin from Jan. 1 to May 17, compared with just 19 during 2009.The higher Marin numbers reflect a statewide phenomenon. According to the California Department of Public Health, 346 pertussis cases were reported in California from Jan. 1 to April 30, up from 129 cases during the same period last year.Statewide, four newborns have died from whooping cough - two in Los Angeles County and two in the Central Valley. State health officials say pertussis cases tend to be cyclical, with a rise in the number of cases every two to five years followed by a decline.It's likely worse in Marin becauseRick White of Novato said two of his grandchildren who attend Manor School and their parents have been diagnosed with whooping cough. White suspects the large number of cases in Marin may be linked to the growing number of parents who refuse vaccinations for their children.Marin has one of the state's highest rates of personal belief exemptions, parental waivers that allow children to enroll in kindergarten without receiving vaccinations against diseases such as measles, polio or whooping cough.In 2009, 7.1 percent of the Marin students entering kindergarten avoided immunization because their parents claimed a personal belief exemption, Goel said. Statewide, only 2 percent of kindergartners used the exemption to avoid vaccination last year, she said. In 1999, less than 2 percent of Marin kindergartners opted out of vaccinations.
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