A tiny life lost to whooping cough
October 22nd, 2010
01:25 PM ET

A tiny life lost to whooping cough

Whooping cough is a rather mild-sounding name for a disease that can kill a baby before it’s even diagnosed.

Ten infants in California have died since the first of the year in an outbreak of whooping cough, whose proper medical name is pertussis. Many Americans think of it as a disease of the past, but nearly 6,000 cases in California  and more nationwide suggest otherwise.

Although California has had the highest number of whooping cough cases this year, other states are seeing slight increases. And Michigan has been watching a rise since the second half of 2008, which continues, according to the CDC. By Aug. 15, Michigan had seen 610 pertussis cases, compared with 902 for all of 2009 and 315 cases in 2008.

Daryl and Felicia Dube of Lancaster, South Carolina, became all-too familiar with the disease this year. Their baby son, Carter, came down with pertussis in January.

Whooping cough explained

Carter, just 5 weeks old, developed a low-grade fever one day and was unusually fussy but didn’t show any other obvious symptoms, said Felicia Dube, 35. She called the family’s pediatrician, who told her it was probably nothing serious but had her bring him in that same day to be sure. At the office, the doctor became concerned about the baby’s rapid breathing and called an ambulance to take him to a hospital in Charlotte, North Carolina, about 30 miles away.

Things only got worse at the hospital over the following days as Carter’s eyes rolled around, he grew weak and irritable and he refused to eat. His heart started racing but his blood pressure was puzzlingly low.

Then the coughing started.

“This may sound strange, but the sound of it was like listening to a man, a smoker, cough,” Felicia Dube said.

Listen to what whooping cough sounds like

Carter was coughing so hard that it would make his feet come up in the air. It hurt and made him cry, which made him cough more, his mother said.

When the infant could not catch his breath and turned blue, he was rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit and given a high concentration of oxygen. Test results hadn’t come back yet , but doctors believed he had pertussis and aggressively treated him with antibiotics and sedatives.

“He wasn’t responding to anything,” Dube said.

After several frustrating days as Carter got worse and worse, surgeons hooked him up to a respirator. When that didn’t help, surgeons implanted an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which takes over the work of the heart and lungs. Large tubes came out of Carter’s neck, routing his blood through a bedside machine.

“They tried to prepare us for it, but you’re not prepared to see that,” Dube said. “… Once they did that to him, we couldn’t touch him, so I couldn’t hold him.”

WATCH: Why it's important to protect against pertussis

And it wasn’t enough. Nine days after coming down with a 100.1-degree fever, Carter Dube died. Lab tests finally confirmed the pertussis diagnosis two days later.

“They did everything they could for him,” his mother said of the doctors and staff at Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte. “They tried. They cried as hard as we did.”

At 5 weeks, Carter was too young to have received his first pertussis vaccination. Because bad weather had kept the family from traveling since he was born, the infection only could have come from the parents, 10-year-old brother, Zach, or the pediatrician’s office, Dube said.

“It’s a horrible guilty feeling as his mother – I’m the one who’s supposed to protect him, and I could have been the one who gave it to him,” she said. “… That’s something you just don’t shake.”

Dube has become an advocate for adult pertussis booster shots to protect babies through what’s known as “cocooning.”

Why are parents skipping vaccines?

“Nobody should have to watch what we watched,” she said.

soundoff (894 Responses)
  1. Valerie

    People, getting vaccinated does not stop you from being a carrier, it only stops you from experiencing the illness as severely.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Edwin

    Colin: you DO sound heartless. Yes, children die around the world at astounding and horrific rates. But I would make a pretty big bet that nobody at all FORCED you to read this story. The title should have told you the contents pretty well.

    If you found the story boring, it is entirely your fault. Not the authors'. Not the mothers. Not the baby's. Yours. YOU read it, after seeing its title. You KNEW it was about a little baby who died. So what POSSIBLE reason can you give for your temper tantrum post?

    October 22, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. DesertRat

    Such a heartbreaking story. I haven't thought much about adult vaccinations other than flu, and that's something I'll definitely think about in the future. Some pediatricians have started using different waiting rooms: one for sick kids, and one for kids have well-check visits. Something to ask about when choosing a pediatrician.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Sarah

    My heart goes out to the Dube family. They are definitely doing a public service by telling their story, though. My 18-month old daughter, who has received all her vaccinations on schedule, was just diagnosed with whooping cough. Until her illness, my husband and I did not know that it was recommended for us to get Tdap boosters, or that they were even available. Our daughter's daycare provider didn't know either. It seems the only thing you hear about is getting a "tetanus shot" if you accidentally cut yourself or step on metal. Parents, teachers and childcare workers- DON'T WAIT. Get your booster!

    October 22, 2010 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tommas

    Jesus says vaccines are for the devil

    October 22, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Praveen

      I hope you are being sarcastic

      October 22, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
  6. Ben's Mom


    I am so, so sorry for the tragic loss of your beautiful boy Carter. Thank you so much for sharing your story so that others can learn from it. I was not aware of the need for adult booster shots for pertussis and I am going to ask my doctor about it. I have a baby son who was born 4 days after Carter was. I cried watching your video, thinking of how this could have happened to my son or anyone's son or daughter. To all the people posting callous things: I hope you never have to experience the pain that Carter and his family have been through. I never imagined how much a mother can love her child until I had my own, and being blessed to have a healthy baby, can only begin to imagine the pain of losing a child. I cannot think of any worse pain in the world. So please be kind to Felicia because she has suffered the worst loss imaginable and is sharing Carter's story to help prevent other babies from suffering too.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Colin


    Why is it inappropriate to compare the loss of your son, or anyone's child, to the percentage of Salmon that fail to reach adulthood? We, as a species, have evolved and learned enough about the world that we live in to dramatically increase the percentage of our young that survive to adulthood whereas Salmon have not. I think the comparison is perfectly appropriate.

    In fact, I have personal experience and a similar story: my mother had an abortion and a miscarriage before I was born and a second miscarriage when I was very young but old enough to be excited at the prospect of a younger brother or sister, so please understand that I do, in fact, know what you are going through. I did, in fact, know that your son, Carter, has a name, hence why I used it in my original statement.

    The total elimination of Pertussis would be a wonderful benefit to humanity, but so too would be the elimination of hunger. To compare Apples to Apples instead of Humans to Salmon, in the United States our infant mortality rate as of 2008 is 6.3 for every 1000 live births. Compare that to Angola's 180.21 for every 1000 live births. Less than %1 of our infants compared to nearly %20 of theirs. Are they not human, do they not deserve better?

    While I'm sure that Whooping Cough fatalities contribute to the numbers in places like Angola, I am also sure that there are larger problems in our world than Whooping Cough. For instance, the AIDS virus, Hunger, and Cholera.

    Having said all of this, know that I wish you and your family the strength to overcome your loss. I am sure that there are few that will fight for your cause as fervently as you and I hope that you are some day successful in your efforts so that other mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers across the world will never have to lose someone dear to them from Pertussis.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Frank

      You are completely out of line, your mother's miscarriage is NOT a "similar story" to that one of a woman who's seen her own child struggle with the disease and died. How would anyone dare to directly address Carter's mom and keep arguing throwing statistics around?

      No one should ever see their child die. Carter's mom is doing her part so that what happened to her son can be avoided in other families. You just sound like a know-it-all tool, and I bet you never helped fight AIDS, Hunger, or Cholera.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • DM

      @Colin-How in the hell could you possibly know what Felicia is going through? I'm a mother of 5 kids, and know a mother who just lost her 25 year old son to cancer in July. Unless your a mother yourself, which you are not, and have experienced the loss a child, there's NO WAY you could possibly know what this woman is going through. As a mother myself, I can only begin to even comprehend the loss and the pain these woman are feeling. This is a pain that NO mother should ever have to feel. How dare you compare Salmon to her son CARTER dying from Pertussis! That most certainly IS an insult. To compare an abortion or a miscarriage to her son CARTER losing his life to this disease IS an insult and very inappropriate. An abortion is a voluntary choice to end a pregnancy. A miscarriage is a woman's body's spontaneous rejection of an unstable or non viable pregnancy. Salmon, abortion and miscarriage, DO NOT compare to what Felicia has gone through. They are NOT EVEN CLOSE! Grow a heart!

      October 22, 2010 at 18:56 | Report abuse |
    • Carter's Mom

      Thank you ! Felicia Dube

      October 23, 2010 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
    • noodlezup

      @colin– Your reaction to your mother's miscarriage is in no way comparable to what this woman has gone through. You're a little slow in the social/emotional arena aren't you?

      October 22, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse |
  8. stacy

    Dear Dube Family,
    I viewed the video and can not imagine how you must be feeling. I adopted my daughter from Guatemala at the age of 4.5 months. When we arrived in Guatemala to bring her home we were told that she had "a cold". Her eyes were so weak and her cough was something I can never forget. I knew this was more than a cold but, because I had never seen or heard the signs of Pertussis, I did not recognize it. When we took our daughter home 2 days later we immediately took her to the pediatrician. The doctor recognized the symptoms right away and put her on antibiotics. She also told me and my husband and our parents to start antibiotics. While our daughter had symptoms of Pertussis for 2 weeks we were fortunate in that she was never hospitalized. Looking back on it now, I know just how lucky we were. Our daughter is now a healthy and happy kindergartner. There are no words to express the sorrow I feel for your family. Just know that Carter will never be forgotten and his death was not in vain. God bless you.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Mark H

    Valerie = baby killer.
    Vaccination saves lives.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      Mark, have you had your booster in the last five years?

      October 22, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse |
    • Edwin

      Mark H = someone who does not actually read.

      Valerie = someone who actually DID vaccinated her kids.

      Feel better, Mark? Attacking someone for something they did not do is pretty dumb.

      October 22, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Mark don't mind those two. They must be married, both at home on the sofa collecting their welfare checks and food stamps.

      I'm done posting here I have to get back to WORK, you know my JOB where I spend NINE hours per day to support my IMMUNIZED children. Yeah that


      October 22, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Yes, because food stamps will pay for internet access, after all.

      October 22, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse |
  10. margaret

    My youngest son was vaccinated and breastfed. He did have a reaction to his first shot, so I decided to remove the pertussis vaccine from the last vaccinations.
    When he was 2 years old, went to the Doctor for the typical ear infections. Guess what??? He was exposed to whooping cough at the Doctor's office. There were tourists in Santa Cruz, CA that brought the disease with them!!!!
    Very, very scary. For 6 weeks the Doctors thought I was nuts. They didn't listen to me. So every night I walked him around as he whooped away. Luckily for me he would listen to my voice as I tried to calm him down so he could breathe. One of the most horrible experiences of my life. 2 months later the Doctors office finally admitted to me that there had been several cases of whooping cough!! To be honest, looking back I probably would have continued with the pertussis vaccine. I would rather choose a slight reaction than a death of my child. I so feel for the parents that had no choice because their baby was exposed. Sending prayers of love to all those who have lost children...My first child died, so I DO understand.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Billy

    I'm going to guess that Valerie is a Playboy Playmate–I know that is who I like to take all my medical advice from... There is no evidence anywhere linking vaccines to neurotoxins. At least none from any doctors. We do have Jenny MacCarthy out there trying to blame vaccines for her child's autism. Do a little more reading–there seems to be more of a link with autism and infant care than any type of drug or food. Pay attention to your child during feedings and awake time–too many parents sit and watch TV while feeding their child or leave them alone in a crib/car seat for hours and hours while the parents spend time posting comments on news stories and facebook...

    October 22, 2010 at 16:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Wallace

    Poor little fellow, tried so hard and didn't know what was hurting him. I'll remember this story for a long while.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dawn

    Go to the Medalerts website and search on how many kids are injured and die from vaccination. Nobody wants to lose a child to a vaccine or a disease. CNN should do a story on vaccine reactions to balance this.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lillian

      There are over 2000 deaths considered caused by a pertussis-containing vaccine according to the VAERS database, in the U.S. alone. This number is probably a fraction of the true number of deaths.

      It's not as simple as "just get the shot".

      October 22, 2010 at 23:23 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Hey Lillian, how many deaths do you think there would have been from the disease itself if no one was vaccinated? Dummy.

      October 23, 2010 at 10:31 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      @Eeyore – so the people who die from vaccine injuries are expendable, but those who die from the illnesses are victims? So basically you're saying that everyone should get every shot, even with the risk of death, because that risk is worth it so someone else's kid doesn't get sick? No, sorry, I don't believe that at all.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • eeyore

      Lillyput, I couldn't care less what you choose to believe, dear. Nor do I care how you choose to misinterpret my comments, since I haven't the slightest respect for you at all. But for the benefit of those who actually possess more than the two brain cells you have, I will point out that risk is part of life and all of our health care choices (and most of our other choices about all kinds of things) are made on the basis of weighing risk versus benefit. The benefits of vaccinating for deadly diseases far outweigh the risks of vaccines. Just ask yourself why we don't make the speed limit 25 mph everywhere. That would reduce traffic deaths immensely. We don't because the benefits of faster travel, have, in the judgment of our society, become more important than lowering the risk of traffic deaths to zero.

      October 23, 2010 at 14:25 | Report abuse |
    • Carter's Mom

      LIllian, I do believe that parents havea a right to chose to vaccinate their children or not. I would ask that if you don't vaccinate your children then they should not be allowed to go to school or daycare wtih children that are vaccinated. My children being vaccinated doesn't but your child at risk, but your child not being vaccinated does but my child at risk. I am also a mother that has never had chicken pox, so I also get the vaccination for chicken pox.

      I respect the right to chose but choices like this affect the people you allow your children to play with.

      October 23, 2010 at 16:11 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      @Carter's Mom – I could not be more sorry for your loss. The loss of a child is truly tragic.

      But for you to ask parents to not send their unvaccinated children out into public is unrealistic and hypocritical. You said yourself that you were not up to date on your immunizations. Therefore, you are/were as much of a risk of transmitting an illness as an unvaccinated child. Every adult who has not had boosters is. This isn't just about parents choosing not to vaccinate their children.

      Furthermore, you may not be aware that no vaccine is 100%. Immunity is not guaranteed. Immunity wanes. Viruses mutate. Approximately 2/3rds of patients in recent mumps outbreaks were fully vaccinated. And you can still transmit an illness while fully vaccinated. Anyone can transmit pertussis. The product insert is clear that the DTaP does not prevent transmission. So I could be fully immunized and still get pertussis, but such a mild case that I may just think it's a cold. If I am around an infant though, and that infant gets it, it may not matter how mild my case was.

      You may also want to Google "vaccine shedding". Your vaccinated child most definitely can put my child at risk, vaccinated or not (and I actually never said my children were unvaccinated).

      October 23, 2010 at 20:33 | Report abuse |
    • Carter's Mom

      I live in a county that makes parents send their children's shots records to scool. You have to prove vaccination before you are allowed in to the public school system and most nurseries in our area require the same.

      I do know that vaccines are not 100% effective but I also know that if I would have had the booster Carter would probably still be here iwth us and getting ready to celebrate his first birthday.

      I was not refering to you when I said your children. I did post a clarification to that but I don't see it one here. I was using "your" as a broad term.

      I have never heard of "vaccine shedding" but I will google it to learn more.

      Thank you for the new information.

      October 23, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse |
    • Tapati

      Rather than get the chicken pox vaccine, there are anti-vaccine folks who are having old-fashioned chicken pox parties! Of course they don't all quarantine their exposed children who may spread the disease to at-risk people while they are incubating it and before symptoms show up. So no, you're not likely to get these people to be so responsible as to keep their children out of daycare or school, not even to protect immuno-suppressed children or adults who might die from their lack of consideration for others.


      October 24, 2010 at 20:26 | Report abuse |
  14. Stephanie

    Both my children were vaccinated, but they still contracted Pertussis last year. My son was seven and my daughter was two. The disease was confirmed through a nasal swab. They were treated with medication and fully recovered. I wonder how sick they would have been if they were not vaccinated?

    October 22, 2010 at 16:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Katherine

    I REALLY wish cnn.com would remove the comments section on human interest medical stories. Everyone trying to blame Felicia Dube for her child's death is disgusting.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. aimesrn

    Valorie... don't let anyone cough around them? Wow what words of wisdom...are you kidding me. Many diseases that are common can kill you, if there was a vaccine for cancer would you turn it down?

    October 22, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Dan

    FYI – Get informed properly, because vaccines need a healthy immune system to achieve the effect. Check CNN financial ties and Gupta's too.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Cheryl

    Unvaccinated children should not be allowed to go to public school. If you don't want your kids vaccinated, home school them. There are going to be deadly outbreaks of every desease we thought we had "cured" because of unvaccinated children. Time to stop the maddness and insist that the public good outweighs a parent's fears.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. redcat

    is the vaccines for adults? or childen? i thought i seen a ad for this and thought they said it was for adults

    October 22, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Felicia Dube (Carter's Mom)

      The TDAP Vaccine is for Aduls. Children that are vaccinated the last time at age 11 and shouldn't need a booster till around 5 yrs later. The TDAP vaccine stands for Tetanus, Deptheria, Ascellor Pertussis (spell check), you can request it instead of your regular tetanus shot.

      The ads you see are pushing for the adults to get vaccinated, to protect their small children that aren't old enough to protect themselves.

      October 22, 2010 at 16:45 | Report abuse |
  20. DesertRat

    To the naysayers who think, "Just get your kid vaccinated, it doesn't matter if anyone else doesn't" please remember a couple things:

    1.) Not everyone can be vaccinated (due to age, underlying conditions, etc.)
    2.) No vaccine is 100% effective. It's still worth the potential risks, but there's always a small chance that someone who has been vaccinated can contract the disease. I don't know about whooping cough, but I remember being told that I could contract the flu within a few weeks of the shot, too.
    3.) And that's why herd immunity is important. There's still a small chance that you can contract the disease, but if everyone were to get vaccinated, that chance would be slimmer still.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply

    What is the big deal? GO GET THE SHOT!!! especially parents – why take the risk? Why is this up for debate? That baby could easily have been any of yours. I am astounded at the selfishness and ignorance on these message boards.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. LarianLeQuella

    For the love of your children, go to http://factsnotfantasy.com/vaccines.php and learn about the lies and distortions that the anti-vax pro-disease movement is spreading.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. A Mom

    Was the baby being Breastfed? Shouldn't a mom's milk build the immunity of a baby so they won't get sick?

    October 22, 2010 at 16:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Katherine

      Breast milk apparently does not confer immunity against pertussis. So says the internet.

      October 22, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse |
    • LarianLeQuella

      Sorry, immunity does NOT work that way at all. Please, don't listen to your neighbor's sister's grandmother. Listen to an actual medical doctor instead!

      October 22, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • Felicia Dube (Carter's Mom)

      Yes Carter was breatfed until he was too weak to eat and was giving fluids in an IV.

      October 22, 2010 at 16:47 | Report abuse |
    • Ben's Mom

      The point that Felicia, Carter's mom, is trying to make is that she and her husband did not have immunity to pertussis because they had not gotten booster shots as adults–so she couldn't have passed on immunity through breast milk even if that were possible to do.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:21 | Report abuse |
  24. Valerie

    Billy, my guess is that you feel inferior to women. Perhaps you should read more. Ethylmercury is a known neurotoxin and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. You may argue that they are in such small abundance as not to be a problem (which many would dispute), but to say that they are not toxic is ignorant.

    aimesrn, whooping cough is transferred through bodily fluids (cough spittle). Not air, but fluids.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Felicia Dube (Carter's Mom)

    FOCUS !!

    You guys are losing focus to the reason we did the interview. To raise awareness about the need for ADULTS to get the TDAP Vaccine.

    Carter's story is not a chance to stand on your own personally soap box.

    It is a chance for you to ask your doctor about the TDAP vaccine and how you can protect yourself, your children, and your grand chiliden.

    PLEASE bring the FOCUS back to what the article is here for.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Momof3

    To the Dube family:

    I cried while reading your story and your post. There aren't words to convey how sorry I am for your loss. Carter was a beautiful little boy and, as a mother, I can't imagine the pain you must be feeling. Thank you for sharing him with us.

    On behalf of my fellow posters, I want to apologize for the ridiculous back and forth comments that have been posted. The main point of this story has been lost – which I believe is to educate the public on preventative measures against Pertussis and to humanize, through Carter, the tragic consequences of this disease. Please, do not trivialize the Dube family's loss and Carter's death with silly, unnecessary games of one-upmanship.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dan

    CNN corrupted to the core.... I guess they are magnifying sad events like this to push more vaccines, but on the other hand do not publish anything in regards of the dangers and millions of people affected by them. I guess they want to make enough noise now the Supreme Court is discussing the right of parents to SUE the vaccine manufactures. If you did not know...manufactures of vaccines in the schedule are shield...and they make huge margins from doing it.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Nicole

    This is so sad. Everyday CNN has posted a story claiming that the decrease in vaccinations has led to increases in death. HIB story was posted on Monday. The problem that was not mentioned in the article on Monday, was that although children and adults may be vaccinated, it does not guarantee protection; ask your pediatrican. An anti-body response does not mean protection or immunity. I am not comfortable with the lack of information presented in some of the CNN articles. If you log onto the CDC website you can see all the data and weigh the benefits against the risks. From a quote in Mondays' article, every child has a 1% chance of having a severe reaction to a vaccine; that is 1/100. I wonder why more people are not up in arms about the government being cozy with pharmaceutical companies by protecting them from all liability. This is nonsense. All other drugs are exempt from liability protection. If a child dies or becomes seriously ill from a vaccine, the family's only option is to go through the VICP. Not a dime comes out of the pharmaceutical companies' pockets; it comes from our taxes. I know this is another long subject, but we must be informed consumers and must also think about the good of the whole community. Do your reserach and weigh the benefits versus the risks. Chicken pox is not a high risks disease for young children, not so good for adult males; may lead to infertility. But clearly Pertussis is a risk for young babies. Then each parent must look at the risk of each vaccine for themselves and their children; it is our job to make educated informed decisions. Again, this is so sad. Even if baby Carter's parents had their booster and if their son was up-to-date, there is NO guaranteed protection.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Someone

    Lisa, you are right that Vaccines do not prevent transmission, buy you show complete ignorance in what they do. Vaccines, "activate" our immune system agains a particular germ. When we get vaccinated all we are doing is to alert our immune system of the presence of a pathogen and to start processes that kill them. Once a pathogen has been detected, it is in our "immune-system-memory, ready in case it encounters the same pathogen again. That is why most of the vaccines contained non-infective forms of the pathogens.
    timd, I suppose from your writing, that you have had the time to read the facts, but if you only read Jenny McCarthy, then what is the use. THERE IS NO CONTROVERSY IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY, vaccination is a process that in a more primitive form has been use since 1000 AD (by the chinese), and the rediscovery of the vaccine by Pasteur, Jenner, etc. has saved millions of lives since. Just ask somebody that got Polio during the 40's-50's, if they wished there had been a vaccine back then.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lisa

      How does that help people who can't be vaccinated?

      October 25, 2010 at 12:32 | Report abuse |
  30. Valerie

    T, these are the ONLY types of stories CNN does. Never ever do they talk about the tragedies of vaccines unless it is unavoidable (Hannah Polig), and even then they cover it in their own special way. But as long as you agree with their agenda it's all good.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Dan

    CNN corrupted to the core.... I guess they are magnifying sad events like this to push more vaccines, but on the other hand do not publish anything in regards of the dangers and millions of people affected by them. I guess they want to make enough noise now the Supreme Court is discussing the right of parents to SUE the vaccine manufactures. If you did not know...manufactures of vaccines in the schedule are shield...and they make huge margins from doing it.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Carrie On

    My daughter had her vaccinations but still managed to get whooping cough (a mild case though). My niece was vaccinated but still has had it twice and she's not even two yet. Thankfully they were all mild cases, and I'm sure it's because of the vaccinations.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Edwin

    When my daughter had her first set of vaccines, she almost died. Specifically, her heart stopped and they had to do CPR. For the next two days, we had additional heart stoppings.

    Fortunately (?) for us, we were in the NICU at the time, so CPR was quickly and professionally administered. It was pretty darn scary, but it did not appear to cause any damage.

    Would we do it again? Yes, and we did. The second set made us very worried, but she showed no ill effects.

    Vaccines are amazing tools for reducing infant mortality and morbidity. Nearly every child should be immunized. But those who claim there are no risks are either nincompoops or idiots. Every immunization comes with a pamphlet describing some of the side effects (some of which can be terrible). And research HAS linked immunizations to a great number of problems, even deaths.

    They are dangerous, vaccines are. But, simply put, they are just less dangerous than NOT vaccinating.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Zigman61

    Valerie, sweetie, calm down and have a nice cup of tea. Unless you are going to quarantine yourself with your baby in one room of the house in a plastic bubble with no one allowed access that has not been sterilized enough to enter the bubble, then there is a chance of someone bringing in something. A cold, the flu, sneezes, etc. As for the Patriots cap in South Carolina, well yes.....why not? My daughter's best friend now lives in Georgia and she wears her Eagles gear. I personally also like the Colts and I live in Eagles Country – Go Eagles! Anyway, what difference does it make really.

    Teacher – I wish you the best with your little one.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      Didn't you read her earlier posts? She hasn't left her house in SIX years! People are getting all worked up when we're sitting here communicating with a looney.

      My baby girl is 12 months now and she loves nothing more than a stroll outside. I'm not gonna stay cooped up in my house to avoid the plague. Come on be realistic. I have JOB and RESPONSIBILITIES. I can't spend my life sitting on my sofa like a loser or "working from home." Ha yeah right.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Jay, I ran a business and I made just as much then as I am making now working outside the home. Not medical transcription, not selling Avon, but an actual business. I was able to do that in order to stay home with my children rather than pawn them off on a daycare as infants. Thanks for your sentiments, though.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
  35. Dejra

    I am nearly 60 now but at 6 months I developed whopping cough. I nearly died because my mom neglected to immunize me. i was told how my mom and dad walked the floor with me for 2 days and nights to keep me from choking as i coughed. The doctors gave me antibiotics and whatever else they could do back then. They told my parents there was little hope that I would live. But I survived. When the 60's and 70's rolled around we decided to go natural. my sister did not immunize her youngest and tried to convince me too. After knowing what happened to my own life. i opted for the chance that he immunizing would be safe and effective for my children. There are too many people who choose not to immunize and that makes it dangerous for the babies that may need to go to the peds office. I am so sorry for the family of baby Carter.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. KMc

    I live in Texas and recently learned that school districts MUST allow every child into school even if they have never been vaccinated. A parent can just send a letter stating that they refuse vaccines due to "Reasons of Conscience"!!!! It is difficult knowing that my children sit there with kids that have never been vaccinated!!!!! How is this allowed???

    October 22, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Pam

      It's the same here in California....

      October 22, 2010 at 19:00 | Report abuse |
  37. Keri

    My heart goes out to this family. It is so sad that they tried to use their story to educate others, and they have to read the comments blaming them. This story makes me want to make sure that I get a booster shot so I don't endanger others without even knowing it Thanks for sharing and may you never have to endure such pain again

    October 22, 2010 at 16:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Jen

    Valerie...only one word comes to mind..."Ignorance"

    October 22, 2010 at 16:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Jessica S

    This is so sad. My heart breaks for the families who lost their precious children.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. margaret

    He was too young to be vaccinated. That's why this whole story about Carter and his family came about. His Mother is suggesting that adults get boosters for whooping cough, to prevent this from happening. She's sharing her story to try and help others. Doesn't anybody get that????????????????

    October 22, 2010 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Dan

    For years Gupta and his CNN colleage Robin Meade have hosted a fluffy health information show on AccentHealth, a
    .. Gupta has been an AccentHealth host since 2003. AccentHealth says its clients are “primarily pharmaceutical and consumer packaged goods companies.”

    AccentHealth does not currently disclose on its web site which companies pay for Gupta’s programming. However, in previous press releases it has said that its clients include “Aventis, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Merck, and Warner Lambert,” and “Bristol-Myers Squibb, Glaxo Smith Kline, … Pharmacia, Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical (a unit of Johnson & Johnson, and), General Mills.”

    It’s easily one of the strangest and longest running drug sponsorship relationships in the news business. Some believe it’s a conflict of interest. When Merck launched Gardasil, the HPV vaccine for girls, Counterpunch writer Pam Martens thought Gupta’s CNN coverage of the controversy was too soft:

    … should Dr. Sanjay Gupta have revealed to his CNN viewers during his extolling of the virtues of Gardasil that its manufacturer, Merck, was a financial sponsor of this integrated marketing scheme he co-hosts at AccentHealth?

    October 22, 2010 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. k

    uh huh. Another "expert" commenter on CNN spouting off suggestions that they clearly know nothing about. Pertussis is not common, although it may become so if we're not careful. It is completely unrealistic for a baby to stay home for 2 months. My child had 3 doctors appointments just in her first week! Also, is everyone in the family supposed to stay home for 2 months? Of course they are! No one works. No one needs groceries. This is a completely reasonable suggestion. ::rolls eyes::
    Vaccinate your children and yourselves. There has not been a single study correlating autism with vaccines. Unless you count the one that was redacted because it was totally wrong. You may think that by not vaccinating your kids that you are saving them from evil and a future of certain doom, but in reality you are putting the entire world at risk by helping to spread about infections that would otherwise be nearly eradicated.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. DC

    Keep your kids home for two months? Really, so you must think everyone on this planet have the luxury to be able not to work for 2 months? So single parents are out of luck, let thier babies die? What about families that can't afford to have one parent stay home, their babies don't deserve a chance? They wouldn't even be able to let family watch the baby because it's transferred by family members as well. You are living in a fairy tale world and there is a reason there is a vaccine for this. It saves babies lives like this precious baby. My thoughts go out to the family of this baby. We have a premmie and we had a whooping cough scare and that was enough for me to realize the importance of the vaccine.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Celida

    BAD BAD parent! Vaccinate your child!!!!! if there were a vaccine for childhood cancer would you opt out of that? I am all for scientific progress if it keeps my (future) children from dying a horrible and uneccessary death. As for the poor mother of this child, while it is tragic, it is a lesson she learned the hard way and will live with for the rest of her life.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • dontbeadork

      Who are you scolding? Have you read the article OR the comments? If you're railing at Valerie, she has vaccinated her kids. If you're harping at Mrs. Dube, then the baby was too young to vaccinate. That's not learning a lesson, that's being screwed over by bad luck.

      October 22, 2010 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Bonehead, read Valerie's comments. She won't get a pertussis booster for herself, won't get the flu vaccine, believes vaccines don't work, and is completely irrational about the issue. It's not my fault the 'reply' function doesn't work properly.

      October 22, 2010 at 18:50 | Report abuse |
    • Carter's Mom

      You are correct, it is a nightmare I live every morning !

      October 23, 2010 at 00:22 | Report abuse |
  45. Dale

    Wow, its amazing how people have attacked valerie for stating some simple facts. First off, keeping your child relatively isolated IS the best form of prevention. This is not always possible, but thats that attacking someone for saying that abstinace is the best form of birth control. Just becuase its best doesnt make it practical. Second and amazingly the WORST thing people have done on here ( not Val btw) is to attack her without getting their facts straight. Pertussis ( whooping cough) IS a common disease in the US. It hit its low spot back in the 70's and has been increaseing ever since. Here is the CDC's info on that subject. "Pertussis is an endemic (common) disease in the United States, with periodic epidemics every 3 to 5 years and frequent outbreaks." US Center For Disease Control. So Sorry but every single one of you that attacked this women calling her wrong owe her an apology.
    Next to those of you who seem to have a problem with people who dont always trust vaccinations...This is actually the big one. This is one of those vaccinations that was sited on several sites as dangerous in its old style, the style has been changed in the US, but even that one list coma as a possible side effect. However as a result of changing the form it has also seemed to have weakened the protection gained from it.
    Also within the past 40 years, the travel industry has gained ground, and this disease is out there in the world. It is highly contagious, and is often not reported or treated in adults.
    So you have a highly contagious disease, its commonplace in the US, and small babies cannot be vaccinated for it even if the parents do not have a problem with it. Hmm. I do not know about you guys ( actually I do since some of you have made your logic or lack thereof clear) but IF I had a baby I would isolate them as best as possible in the first few weeks of life.
    For those of you that still think that idea strange... go try to see someone elses baby in the hospital. They will not let you unless your going to be in that childs life closely in the first few weeks.
    BTW I have 6 kids, all healthy, youngest is 8. They are all vaccinated ( although I did weigh pros and cons when doing it), and they were all pretty well isolated when they were new borns. I do NOT believe in this sanatize everything policy, becuase i think they need to come into contact with life and get used to it.
    My sympathy goes out to the mother in this story, my wife and i have helped several people get over the loss of a child, and I lost my brother at 3 months to sids ( many years ago), so I understand. I wish i could help and fix things, but I have learned that life..well quite frankly sucks as times. I agree that this was a article to try to get people more aware on the subject. I do not know if propaganda was the best term, as it has acquired many negative connotations over the years. I think you just want people to be aware of this as a problem, and to tell them that if they are going to be around little ones to be careful or bad things can happen as an unfortunate side effect. While looking up this info today, i have to wonder if I, myself, may not even have it. I have a persistant cough that sounds like a smokers cough, even though I have never smoked. It has lingered on for weeks even though when im not coughing i feel fine. I need to see the doc for other things, so I think I will mention it.
    So at least in one case you may have made a differance, and hopefully I am not alone in this self examination, Thank you.
    I would encourage all of you to actually do a bit of research before spouting off your opinions, and in this case I would recommend you look up pertussis to try to identify the symptoms. With it gaining ground in US again, it doesnt hurt to be more aware of it, perhaps your time, and effort will save a child without you even knowing it.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. omegaworks

    Felicia, you and your family did nothing wrong. Your baby could have contracted this disease from anywhere. No one can say. All anyone can say is that you loved your child and you did your very best to keep him alive. God bless you for sharing your story. Without people like you in the world, the world wouldn't change and I thank you for that.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Qlorraine

    Yes, this is an emotional story. And yes, otherwise healthy people should be motivated to get their boosters if that's what it takes to motivate them. Side effects are so rare that the benefits far outweigh any risks. I have a daughter with autisn – it was NOT caused by any vaccine. One of my best friends had to watch her infant die of meningitis because of some parents not vaccniating their children. It's because of vaccines and their success that allow people to be cavalier about them. We don't see the effects every day of these horrible diseases anymore.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Beth

    Are you serious? Keep your baby at home for 2 months and don't let anyone cough around them? Are you stupid? Because you sure sound like you are. Do you not realize that the baby is seen by the pediatrician SEVERAL times before they are 2 months old? Keeping the baby at home for 2 months is completely impractical. Of course there are risks to vaccination. No one is saying there isn't. But it's deaths like this that could have been prevented that are the most heartwrenching.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. nicole

    symptoms appear after people have been exposed. you could allow someone around your baby (i.e the excited, and sometimes overbearing ppl that just have to be around a newborn baby-BEWARE!) that is not coughing, and THEY could be the ones spreading the virus. I have three kids-two of which were premature. Sheltering the kids is not good because how do you think they build their immune systems? I introduced my kids little by little..outdoors etc, had sanitizer left and right and was strict. I had actually preferred privacy after delivering my children, especially since my health was not great and not to mention, I was protecting my newborn. As I had children, my last, I had a school aged daughter..so the best we can do is be more proactive, because somethings are inevitable. My 2 year old recently had pertusis, luckily it didn't not get out of hand, but heck, we dont have many visitors as we moved so I am thinking my hub-who works or my two older kids who go to school..they all as soon as they come home, take showers..getting shots..why not? if it doesnt work oh well..but its worth the try..it makes it harder for ppl to get..but now more than ever..i hope ppl understand that when babies are born, it is not for ppl to just go all crazy and start visiting..that is the main problem..because even if they are not coughing, they could be carrying a virus, a bacteria..it takes days for symptoms to appear..not worth risking the child..luckily my babies did not get RSV or other illnesses..I do have a cousin who delivered days after me, who kept her kids inside the house more than I did, and her kids got RSV. we can only be proactive, do the best and not be afraid to tell ppl back off, use sanitizer...etc

    October 22, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. JasonB

    Another person who wants to blame all of our health problems on vaccinations. Full disclosure: I'm a scientist. I'm not in any way associated with the sale, administration, or creation of vaccines. However, I am growing tiresome of people who have nothing more than an anecdotal hypothesis that vaccinations are harmful to people. The truth? Vaccines have improved the quality of life for millions, perhaps billions of people on Earth. The fact is that every human body is exposed to hundreds, if not thousands, of antigens each day that result in the generation of antibodies in their own bodies. This is what the mammalian body does. Each vaccination you receive contains between one and seven antigens that result in the generation of antibodies. Deciding not to vaccinate your children, which is your right, protects no one. All it does is increases the incidence of a particular disease taking hold in your child. And before Jenny McCarthy, or her followers, speak up, I'm a researcher involved in the study of autism and it's causes. I wish, oh do I wish, that vaccinations were responsible for the increased prevalence in autism. If that were the case, then we would know where to go. But the fact of the matter is that whole population studies have shown that children vaccinated do not develop autism at a rate higher than children who were not vaccinated.

    October 22, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.