A small, private Floyd County school has closed for the week after more than half its students became ill with whooping cough.http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/282419
At least 30 people associated with Blue Mountain School have been diagnosed with the highly contagious disease, also called pertussis, including 23 of its 45 students, said Shelly Emmett, the alternative school's director. . . .
Pertussis is an infection characterized by coughing fits that can last for up to 10 weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can cause serious illness and can be life-threatening, especially in infants. It gets the whooping cough name because the violent and rapid coughing can continue until the air is gone from the lungs, forcing an inhalation with a loud "whoop" sound.
The outbreak was caused by not properly vaccinating people against the disease, O'Dell said, noting that a subset of the population does not follow vaccination recommendations.
"For those of us who are advocates of vaccination, this reminds us to stay vigilant," she said. "This is a good wake-up call to remind us why adults and children need to be vaccinated. This is why we advocate for immunization."
There are several components to the anti-vaccine movement. Some people choose not to immunize their children out of concerns that the vaccines cause harm. Others disagree with the recommended timetable, and some cite religious reasons.
If and when any of these kids dies a slow and painful death from a completely preventable disease, will the parents take comfort in the knowledge that Dr. Jenny McCarthy and Dr. Oprah Winfrey and Dr. Don Imus have a sort of kind of hunch based on discredited "research" that vaccines cause autism?