Whooping Cough/Pertussis Outbreak


New member
I just saw on the NBC nightly news that there is a significant outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) in the United States. How does this affect CFers? If we were innoculated as babies are we still safe?


New member
This is something I have been struggling with myself.
My general opinions on vaccines are negative. We do not vaccinate here.
HOWEVER, with Sam in our lives now, Pertussis conversations in our home have been very different lately.

The Pertussis vaccine does not eliminate the chance of contracting Pertussis. The vaccine works by lessening the severity of the disease. So, this has been a wonderful medical break through for some of the population. However, this is likely why there has been in increase in the disease in the immunocompromised - the vaccinated population contract the disease and spread the disease because they show, at most, cold-like symptoms, and wouldn't think twice about it. Great for their health, bad for those that cannot have the vaccine (like infants.)
The Pertussis strain also mutates, just as the seasonal Flu does. So, the vaccine may or may not be a real help combating the yearly change of Pertussis strain.

I don't know where those with CF would fall.
Is it best to have them vaccinated because if they contract the disease the symptoms will be lessened and thus, easier for the already challenged lungs to fight? OR Is it a poor choice to vaccinate the CF population because the symptoms will be lessened and one may not realize they are fighting off Pertussis?

I will be having a more in-depth chat with a health care provider in the near future in regards to this. Difficult sometimes to make the best choices for everyone.


My friends son recently had pertussis and although he doesn't have CF, he is immunocompromised. The doc told her that when people with healthy immune systems are vaccinated, it us about 85% effective in preventing acquiring the disease and will lessen the severity if acquired. In immunocompromised people, it is only about 50% effective in prevention. People with CF, unless they have another condition, do not have compromised immune systems, but if they get pertussis, they are very likely to be hospitalized because of pneumonia or other complications. I haven't heard anything on this outbreak recently, but it was allowed the news here in WA state 2-3 months ago :-(


Super Moderator
"And whooping cough can cool ya". The Coasters (circa 1956) sang this line in "Poisen Ivy". People whine that drug research has lost interest in antibiotics and frustrated with antivirals. In first grade our school lined up dor small pox inoculation. Most older kids got off when the teltale scar left confirmed a previous inoculation, the line shortened quickly. The production stopped about ten kids ahead of me when the cotton wrapped amyl nitrate capsule failed a fainting violet. A wheeled office chair whisked a bluish 6 year old boy intothe nurse's office. With hightened anxiety we continued and though many reacted with wailing and tears, I was more surprised how over rated the experience was.

In 2008 my wife and I found ourselves guardians of our 10yr old Niece. As soon as possible we began eye doctor to dental appointments. We were horrified at what she had NOT been inoculated or vaccinated for. The doctor said a lot of preventative measures, common to my childhood were being refused based on statistics, nut case commentaries, gossip and ignorance in general. The kid that turned blue was back in school the next day. We got our Niece's disease preventatives up to date. I was surprised again when the same doctor, a moment before, railing against preventative ignorance was now flipping sides, advising against this or that innoculation/vaccination. I finally took the list of prevenatives and marked a fairly comprehensive list and over a year, we got her up to date. When the nurse was preparing to give her a small pox inoculation she quipped "when was the last time you saw someone with small pox"? I quickly answered 1990 in Islamabad. She looked unbelieving at me and back at my Niece who was affirmatively nodding. From 1972 until 2000, I spent a total of 11 accumulative years traveling outside the U.S.. It terrifies me to know nearly a million globe trotters walk through pop up villages next to shoe factories or import manufacturing operations purposely placed as far from infrastructure as possible. Pockets of "extinct" diseases are in full glory and educated business and technical (Western culture) don't have the sense or inclination to take measures to leave third and forth world diseases behind.

The point is we no longer enjoy the past where everybody, by laws with Public Health Department teeth eliminated preventable, untreatable diseases like polio. Because of my travels I had shots even our military don't normally get. Our world is abuzz with world interlopers arriving home, rife with mold and pathogens greeting your childrens' school mates with germ infested hands, clothes and lips. A little something unexpected for show and tell to go along with a mounted scorpion from Indonesia.

So many "old" preventative medications at hand need a revival. Then again, what do I know?


Staff member
DS was exposed to whooping cough as a baby -- there was an outbreak of adults in our area because at the time there wasn't an adult vaccine. It was during a summer that our community had gotten an influx of refugees thru lutheran social services and a lot of their volunteers worked for major corporations, got exposed to it, brought it back to the office, home to their families and on to DS' daycare.

Anyway, the drug of choice when exposed to whooping cough is azithromycin, so DS and his friends were all put on it. No one else got it. Fast forward to a couple years ago and DS' cousin was exposed to it at daycare and was coming for the holidays. She was put on zithromax, DS was already on it as one of his CF meds and we double checked with his doctor.

The vaccine is now included with the tetanus booster and I got mine several years ago once it became available.


New member
I work in a public school which has a large population of immigrants from Africa, Middle East, Asia, etc. I will be talking to my health provider for this issue!! And yes, these kids go back and forth from America to their native countries to visit all the time. If ever I don't feel well, I immediately take off see the doc--who knows me now and realizes that I can get seriously ill very quickly.
I had all of my shots as a child. When a polio vaccine became available, we lined up at schools and took our sugar cubes.
Thanks for the info on the whooping cough outbreak.