As of mid-June, five deaths have been reported for pertussis-also called whooping cough. The California Department of Public Health has reported 910 cases so far, but this number is now estimated to be much higher. Department of health officials state that infants under one year of age are particularly at risk. This is because, not only will they often not have developed any immunity to the bacteria (unless they’ve been vaccinated), they are more likely to die from the illness.
What is pertussis and how is it transmitted?
Pertussis is in infection of Bordetella pertussis – a bacteria that is transmitted through air droplets. This means that the infection can be passed by sneezing, coughing or touching an object (doorknob, etc.) infected with the bacteria.
Pertussis can present in the beginning as a simple cold. A fever will often accompany a runny nose and thick phlegm in the sinuses and windpipe. After a few days, it can develop into lung congestion, causing a cough. This cough can persist for several weeks. The “whooping” name comes from the sound of the cough. Because the phlegm is so thick and sticky, the cough does not clear the congestion. Instead, a wheezing, “whoop” will result.
Almost half of the cases in the United States are contracted by teenagers and adults. Most of the deaths, however, occur among children. Most children get the infection from adults.
What about vaccination?
First, the infection facts: Between 1940 and 1945, up to 147,000 cases of pertussis were reported each year. In comparison, there were 13,278 cases of pertussis in the U.S. in 2008. The number of cases has been going up since 1975, when it hit a low of 1,010 cases in the U.S. From 1993 to 2000, pertussis cases grew from 6,586 per year to 7,867 per year.
The DTP vaccine began distribution in the mid-1940s. This was a whole cell vaccine that was combined with diphtheria and tetanus (i.e., DTP = diphtheria-tenanus-pertussis). This vaccine began to be displaced by DTaP (diphtheria-tetanus-acellular pertussis). This utilized a partial segment of the germ cell, rather than the whole cell. The vaccine works in the same way that gaining an infection works: The immune system learns to identify the bacteria, and develops a defense strategy against it. This is a natural strategy the body uses to counteract infections, and the reason why vaccination therapy has been so successful.
Today, in the United States, many parents are reluctant to vaccinate their children. This has been the result of news relating to the ingredients that vaccinations contain.
The three ingredients that have gathered the most concern are thimerosal, formaldehyde, and aluminum.
Thimerosal and mercury toxicity
Thimerosal contains approximately 50 percent mercury by weight, and was used by vaccination manufacturers as a preservative. Legislation has since banned the use of thimerosal in new vaccines. This leaves already-manufactured inventory and older processes. As of 2008, there were three DTaP vaccines generally available in the U.S. These are Tripedia, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur, Inc.; Infanrix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithLine; and Daptacel, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur. As of March 14, 2008, Infannix and Daptacel contained no thimerosal. One – Tripedia – contained thimerosal. Its concentration was .00012 percent.
Parents concerned about mercury toxicity should, therefore, request Infanrix or Daptacel, and/or contact Sanofi to verify whether current inventories still contain thimerosal.
Formaldehyde, Aluminum and Phenoxyethanol
Trace amounts of both formaldehyde and aluminum are present in all three of the DTaP vaccines. The formaldehyde is used to inoculate the germ parts to prevent a possible reactivation of the bacteria. Aluminum, in the form of aluminum potassium sulfate, aluminum hydroxide or aluminum phosphate, is used as adsorption carriers to help present the germ cell portions before the immune system.
Both of these ingredients are substantially diluted with saline solution to minimize their ingredient content. Dosages are small, less than a milligram per dose.
Phenoxyethanol is used as the preservative (in place of thimerosal) in Infanrix and Pediarix. Levels per dose of these are about 2.5 mg per dose.
Chemicals or Pertussis?
Given that presenting a portion of a germ cell to the immune system builds the body’s natural immunity against pertussis, the question that lies before parents is whether the risk of the disease warrants the infusion of these chemicals into the body.
Certainly it is something to consider.
However, the parent who does not vaccinate should be aware that, if the child does contract pertussis, the child may infect other un-vaccinated children, and even some vaccinated children (up to about 15 percent).
Therefore, there are larger considerations here that should be included.
See the author’s article on autism with respect to the amount of these (such as formaldehyde) and other chemicals that are pervasive in the environment. It is probably likely that the child will gain more chemicals elsewhere – including the umbilical cord blood, water, building materials, food and air.
This does not mean that we should sit quietly about vaccination ingredients. Energy by parent groups should be focused toward demanding that vaccination producers find natural and safe alternatives to the chemicals being utilized in the vaccines. Petitioning the FDA, congressmen and the producers directly is the correct strategy. Risking a new whooping cough epidemic is not the correct strategy, in the opinion of many health professionals.
Outside of vaccination, anyone who may come into contact with someone infected with pertussis should seriously consider taking oral probiotics and intestinal probiotics. Oral probiotics are lozenges that contain probiotic bacteria that have been shown, in many scientific studies, to aggressively attack and defend the body against the growth of invasive pathogenic bacteria.
Oral probiotics should especially be a consideration for children who are outside the range of a pertussis vaccine (7-10 years old), in addition to anyone else at risk.
(By FDA disclaimer, these or any other natural supplements are not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease.)
Strengthen the immune system
Keeping a strong immune system is important for anyone at any age. This means eating a primarily plant-based diet, plenty of water, fresh air, and exercise.
This information is for research purposes only. Be sure to consult your health professional if you suspect you or your family members have this or any other disease, and before making any significant changes to your diet, lifestyle or supplements. Consult with your physician about vaccination options and schedules.
1. Centers for Disease Control. Summary of Diseases 2008.
2. National Network for Immunization Information. Pertussis.
3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thimerosal in Vaccines.
4. Offit P. Pediatrics. 112 (6) : 2003; 1394-1401