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Why Has Whooping Cough Returned With Such A Vengeance?

Video unavailable. Read transcript below.

Video published December 22, 2010 | Download MP4 | View transcript

Above: KPBS and the Watchdog Institute at SDSU spent four months investigating why whooping cough, a disease that was nearly extinct thirty years ago, has infected thousands of people in California and killed 10 babies. Just why it’s made such a vengeful comeback has two of the world’s leading whooping cough experts in disagreement. KPBS Reporter Joanne Faryon raises serious questions about how well the vaccine to prevent the disease works.

KPBS and the Watchdog Institute at SDSU spent four months investigating why whooping cough, a disease that was nearly extinct thirty years ago, has infected thousands of people in California and killed 10 babies. Just why it’s made such a vengeful comeback has two of the world’s leading whooping cough experts in disagreement. KPBS Reporter Joanne Faryon raises serious questions about how well the vaccine to prevent the disease works.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CULPRIT IS EXPECTING THE WORST BECAUSE OUR BREAKING YEARS. WHY A DISEASE THAT WAS NEARLY EXTINCT 30 YEARS AGO HAS INFECTED THOUSANDS AND KILLED 10 BABIES BE.

THE INVESTIGATION TOOK THE TEAM ACROSS THE CORNER AND OVERSEAS TO AMSTERDAM A BEGIN IN THE SAN DIEGO HOSPITAL DELIVERY ROOM.

MATTHEW JACOB PRICE WAS BORN OCTOBER 11TH, 2010. HE STARTED SHOWING SIGNS OF A COLD WHEN HE WAS JUST TOO FULL. THEY KNEW SOMETHING WAS WRONG.

IT SEEMED LIKE A COLD WAS JUST AFFECTED HAS PRETTY GOOD SMACK SAY MORE THAN 6400 CASES HAVE BEEN REPORTED THIS YEAR.

THAT HIS DOCTOR SUSPECTED IT COULD BE WHOOPING COUGH. SHE TOOK A SWAB AND SENT IT TO THE LAB. SHE ALSO STARTED MATTHEW ON ANTIBIOTICS. 60S LATER WITH MESSAGES 20 DIESEL SHE GOT A PHONE CALL FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH. THE DEPARTMENTS FROM JANUARY TO OCTOBER THIS YEAR TO NEWBORNS IN CALIFORNIA DIED FROM WHOOPING COUGH. TO IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY. MORE THAN 7,000 CHILDREN AND ADULTS GOT SICK FROM THE DISEASE. THE HIGHEST NUMBER IN THE STATE IN MORE THAN 60 YEARS. IT IS A RESPIRATORY ILLNESS. AT FIRST IT CAN MIMIC A COLD. BUT LATER PRODUCES A VIOLENT AND PERSISTENT COUGH COUGH THAT LEAVES CHILDREN GASPING FOR AIR CREATING THAT TO SINK WILL BE DONE. WHOOPING COUGH MAY ONLY BE A NUISANCE BUT, INSTANCE -- IF IT'S A COULD BE DEADLY. 10 BABIES ARE ABLE TO COUGH UP SECRETIONS THAT ARE IN THEIR LUNGS. EARLY INTO BETTER TREATMENTS IS MOST CRITICAL IN THIS AGE GROUP. IT WAS NEARLY WIPED OUT. BUT IT FOUND ITS WAY BACK TO CALIFORNIA AND OTHER HIGHLY VACCINATED COMMUNITIES AROUND THE BALL. IT'S WHAT IT'S MADE SUCH A VENGEFUL COMEBACKS. AT UCLA.

THE MAIN REASON IS INCREASED AWARENESS. WE FOUND A NEW MUTATION.

BOTH DOCTORS WILL BEGIN THEIR RESEARCH ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO. THE TWO SCIENTISTS KNOW EACH OTHER'S WORK.

HAS SCIENCE HE'S RIGHT AT THE TOP OF THE SELLERS. THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. I THINK SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE'S PUBLISHED AS THE CLINICAL DATA IS NOT VERY GOOD PEER. >> BUT HUME --THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN TOO MUCH GOOD.

TO UNDERSTAND WHY THESE TWO EXPERTS DISAGREE GETTING TO KNOW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE VACCINE. THE BACTERIA THAT CAUSES WHOOPING COUGH WAS FIRST ISOLATED IN BELGIUM IN 19 '06 AT THE TIME THE ILLNESS WAS ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF INFANT DEATH. THE DISCOVERY LED TO THE FIRST ATTEMPT AT THE BACK SEAT BUT IT WASN'T UNTIL THE LATE 19 40S THAT SITE IS DEVELOPED THE VACCINE EFFECTIVE ENOUGH TO PREVENT WHOOPING COUGH. BY 1946 MASS IMAGES ASIAN PROGRAMS BEGAN IN THE U.S.. PRIOR TO THE VACCINE ONLY THE DISEASE WOULD HAVE HUNDRED 57 CASES PER 100,000. WITH LARGE-SCALE THE DECISIONS FEWER THAN ONE IN 100,000 PEOPLE THAT WHOOPING COUGH. BUT THE VACCINE WAS NOT WITHOUT CONTROVERSY.

THE EARLY VERSION ASSOCIATED WITH SIDE EFFECTS OF PROLONGED CRYING SPELLS. BY 1996 IT WAS CALLED IN A SIMILAR VERSION. THAT MEANS THE VACCINE USES ONLY PURIFIED COMPONENTS OF THE DISEASE. THAT VACCINE WAS CONSIDERED TO BE SAFER AND ASSOCIATED WITH FEW MILD SIDE EFFECTS. TODAY THE U.S.

BUT AS THE UNITED STATES WAS CHANGING VACCINES SOMETHING ELSE WAS HAPPENING. HEALTH OFFICIALS ACROSS THE COUNTRY WERE REPORTING INCREASING NUMBERS OF WILL BE COUGH CASES END IN A GOVERNMENT LAB A GROUP OF SCIENTISTS AT DISCOVERED SOMETHING ELSE. THE BACTERIUM STARTED TO LOOK A LITTLE DIFFERENT.

THE EFFECT OF THE BACTERIA STARTED TO PRODUCE MORE. JUST WHETHER THE MUTATION IS TO BLAME AND OUTBREAKS ELSEWHERE IN THE WORLD IS AT THE HEART OF THE WHOOPING COUGH DEBATE. HE BELIEVES THIS TO BE THE CASE. BUT NOT DR. JERRY PIERCE. EVEN THOUGH THESE CHANGES APPEARED THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT THAT'S LED TO INCREASED VACCINE BEARS. THAT ALL DEPENDS ON WHO YOU TALK TO. DRUG INFORMATION INCLUDED WITH THE TWO MOST COMMONLY USED PROXIES IN THE U.S. SAID THE VACCINE IS 85% EFFECTIVE. THEY BELIEVE THAT THERE'S NO WAY TO DETERMINE HOW EFFECTIVE THE VACCINES ARE AS THEY HAVE NOT BEEN TESTED AGAINST THE NEW STRAIN. THE STRAIN HE BELIEVES IS MORE BARREL IT. I CAN TELL YOU ONE OF THE REASONS THE VACCINE COMPANIES ARE NOT TOO HAPPY WITH ME IS WHAT I SAY IS TRUE. THEY SELECTED THE WRONG STRAIN. THERE'S NO EVIDENCE THAT EITHER OF THE TWO VACCINES THAT ARE MOST COVETED IN THE U.S. BUT THERE IS INCREASED VACCINE FAILURE. THE INCREASED IS DUE IN PART TO WANING IMMUNITY. DOES NOT LAST A LIFETIME. WHETHER YOU'RE VACCINATED OR DEVELOP NATURAL IMMUNITY FROM GETTING THE DISEASE ALMOST ALL EXPERTS AGREE IT'S CONTRIBUTED TO OUTBREAKS WORLDWIDE.

WIND IS IMMUNITY.

HE SAYS PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS SHOULD BE ENCOURAGING COMPUTING. IMMUNIZING ALL THOSE AROUND ME WERE BABIES BUT IN THE LONG RUN HE SAYS WE NEED BETTER VACCINES.

BABY MACKEY SPENT FOUR DAYS OF THE HOSPITAL AND WAS ESSENTIALLY DISCHARGED. TODAY HE'S GETTING HIS TWO- MONTH ROUTINE CHECKUP. DESPITE HIS HEAVY DOSE MACKEY WAS DOING WELL. AS YOU MIGHT KNOW THE VACCINE IS NOT AS EFFECTIVE AS WE WANT TO BUT WITH MATTHEW IN PARTICULAR THAT WE'RE PROTECTED GOING FORWARD. THEY'RE SO? . >> SCIENTIST FROM UCLA BEGIN A NEW STUDY TO DETERMINE WHETHER A MORE INTENSIVE STRAIN IS CONTRIBUTING TO THE CURRENT WHOOPING COUGH OUTBREAK. TO SEE THE ENTIRE DOCUMENTARY WHEN IMMUNITY FAILS GO TO OUR WEBSITE AND YOU CAN COMMENT ON ANY OF THE STORIES YOU SAW TONIGHT AGAIN OUR WEBSITE. WE'D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU. ASK FOR WATCHING THAT NIGHT AND HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR.

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