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. Taylor

    No one should be forced to get vaccinated. We don't even really know what's in them. The government could easily slip something in there...I wouldn't doubt that. Look at the politicians in this country...

    October 22, 2010 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Matt

    Valerie, as someone who knows a lot about medicine, I will tell you that you should read more evidence-based literature.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • TJ

      The crazy anti-vaccine crowd don't want evidence based literature. My guess is that few of them have taken anything beyond their basic science courses in high school.

      The Scientific Method seems a bit beyond them.

      October 22, 2010 at 18:22 | Report abuse |
    • Heidi

      I beg to differ. I have a Master's degree in biochemistry and have read many peer reviewed article on both sides of the issue. We have researched the science carefully and chosen not to vaccinate our child. Part of our decision is research-based and part is based on my own observations. Personally, I have known several children who have had pertussis. ALL were vaccinated and up to date on their boosters. Vaccines are not 100% effective. My child, and all of the others that I know who are NOT vaccinated have not contracted the disease (despite inadvertent exposure).

      October 22, 2010 at 19:23 | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Someone with a master's level degree should show a much higher capacity for critical thought as well as understanding of herd immunity and basic statistics. And anyone involved in science would understand that personal observation is NOT evidence.
      Thank you for doing your part to contribute to a recurrence of preventable diseases. We'll see if you disregard your education so willingly when a polio epidemic hits. Maybe once kids are dropping left and right thanks to preventable diseases, some sense will enter yours and others' skulls and they'll start vaccinating again.

      You should be ashamed. You of all people should know better.

      October 22, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Heidi is right on. Justin you are the one who should be ashamed for not knowing that vaccines do not prevent transmission of whopping cough and many other diseases.

      October 22, 2010 at 20:35 | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      What an ignorant statement to make.

      October 22, 2010 at 23:45 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Really, Rachel? What the hell is "whopping cough" you moron? Hit yourself with a clue stick. Vaccines do prevent whooping cough and they are effective. Your say-so is worthless since it's clear you are lacking a full deck to play with. Carter was too young to have been immunized; the only way to help protect him and other babies that young is for adults and their children to be immunized and get their boosters and stop being such hysterical nuts who base their decisions on lies and misinformation.

      Grow the heck up.

      October 23, 2010 at 10:40 | Report abuse |
    • sickofmedialies

      I'm with you after my child regressed into autism after his Dtap shot I started researching all of them. They all contain neurotoxins, and other brain and physiological harming properties. The latest study I saw over whooping cough was that vaccinated kids were 2xs more likely to get the disease then unvaccinated. My daughter is 6 and has never been vaccinated for anything and guess what she's never sick, she didn't get the never ending ear infections her brother would get after vaccinations.

      October 23, 2010 at 00:08 | Report abuse |
    • Carter's Mom

      Heidi you may have a degree in Biochemistry and you may know fully immuned children that did or din't contract Pertussis but you are missing hte point of the story. Carter WAS NOT OLD ENOUGH FOR HIS VACCINATIONS !!! An I am sure there are many children that have not contracted Pertussis and have been exposed. But Carter was and he did become sick. The TDAP vaccine was put out there a little over 5 years ago, so your friends would have recently been vaccinated. Also 10 yrs ago Pertussis was not an issue and even as little as 6 yrs ago is was not an issue. But it is now and that is what we are focusing on.

      October 23, 2010 at 00:10 | Report abuse |
    • sickofmedialies

      Then the vaccination or lack there of should not be an issue at all this was just a tragedy. Everyone around you could be vaccinated and your child still end up with it cause vaccines are not 100 percent effective, the number is usually 80 percent if that.

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

      Actually, pertussis has been on the rise since 1976, according to the CDC. This is not a new subject, and its sad that 10 newborns/infants have died from it. The CDC also says that vaccinations do not stop you from getting it, and carrying it. So since vaccinations would not have helped these poor kids, becuase they were too young and becuase the vaccinations might not have stopped the source, how DO you help prevent it. BY ISOLATING THE CHILD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I know that seems hard to do from some people, and i know some people on here just want to attack others for saying it ( like attacking val) but its still the truth. Limit the child exposure to the disease! By the use of the word isolate, everyone on here jumps to bubble suits and clean rooms. Wow, just simply wow, can you people take a step back and look at how extreme you all are? Your all so wrapped up in being right that you cannot seem to accept that sometimes compromise is the name of the game, and moderation the true path. Vaccinations are drugs, drugs are tools, and sometimes tools help, sometimes they dont. In This case...CNN is pushing adult vaccinations, and so is Mrs. Dube, becuase she is hurt and does not want to see this happen again. I can completely understand, however, this is where reality comes in. Mrs. Dube wants to create a bubble of vaccinated people to isolate infants. This does not work as a complete option. The vaccinations DO NOT WORK all the time. People still catch it, people still carry it, AND it appears that the form of vaccination the US uses is losing its effectiveness to top that idea off. So Please vaccinate your adults if you wish, but try to isolate the children as much as is possible the first few weeks of life when they are at their most vulnerable. This may mean lifestyle changes, but this is also your offspring we are talking about and hopefully you care enough to accept those changes. Have someone else shop for you, dont take the child out if not ABSOLUTLY needed. When you do Cover them up so that random coughs and sneezes have several layers to get through to get to them. Dont let just everyone pick the baby up and hold it ( vaccinated or not). These are pretty simple things people, and these are also ways you help isolate your children from things you do not have any other way to stop.
      Most importantly, to all those people who get on here just to bash people. ( this has been a good chunk of you) Grow up. Name calling, insults, and plain "im right, your wrong" attitudes show a lack of intelligence, not a surplus. It is ok to have a disagreement with some one, and use facts, logic, and skill to prove your side.
      I desist, I talk to much, but I do know my opinion is based on facts provided by the scientific and medical community. I know I am not going to read this thread anymore, because, honestly, after researching it there is not much i can do to help. I hope my response helps some understand things better, I hope some people actually will do some looking up of the subject and learn something. Until better vaccinations come out, and until this disease can actually be wiped out worldwide, we are stuck with dealing with it.
      Once again to the Dube Family, you have my condolences, and sympathy. I have lost family as infants and helped others who have done the same. I am sorry.

      October 23, 2010 at 13:33 | Report abuse |
    • DM

      @Heidi-I disagree with you. I have 5 kids, by oldest is 18. ALL of my children have had their childhood vaccinations and my oldest son, who turns 17 Monday, just had his hep and meningitis shot a few weeks ago. NONE of our children have contracted any of the diseases that they were vaccinated against. These vaccinations DO work!

      October 23, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
    • Nadine

      It's the "educated" people like you whose arrogance and disregard for health and safety of others is more deadly than the pertussis vaccine you rail against. Listen, I've lived in countries outside the US where whooping cough is still a major cause of infant mortality. I know first hand of the inherent dangers of pertussis in both children and adults, especially in areas where there is no access to vaccines. Yet, we in the US have the "luxury" of choice to vaccinate our kids because of our own faulty reasoning. It's not the science or reasoning behind the science that caused this current epidemic; it's the lack of common sense from seemingly well-educated people who haven't enough decency to exercise good judgment.

      October 23, 2010 at 18:10 | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      @Nadine: Well said!

      October 23, 2010 at 19:10 | Report abuse |
    • c

      have you ever read a vaccine package insert?

      October 23, 2010 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
  3. Qlorraine

    @Dale: to isolate your newborn you would have the baby at home with you as the only attending? How about that hospital stay for the first 3 days? I'm sure you'd want your healthcare workers to have their boosters. And all those baby well-check appointments to make sure the baby doesn't have jaundice and is regaining their birth weight adequately? You can't just "stay home" for the first 8 weeks. And neither parent is going to go to work? How about grocery shopping? Any older siblings in school? It's impossible to cocoon yourself in the house to prevent exposure so it's necessary for the vaccine to do the cocooning.
    Yes, whooping cough is around. But, the fact that this is preventable is the tragedy that is the point of the article, IMO.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Amanda

    Am I the only person who read through these comments and thought, "If Valerie cares so much about her kids and family, why isn't she spending her time doing things with them or for them, instead of sitting on the CNN website, posting comment after comment after comment after comment?" Everyone has an opinion, and expressing it is fine. And I suppose there are people who find more enjoyment in arguing with strangers online than they do in reading or gardening or other hobbies. But it kind of seems like a sad waste of time.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. ieat

    Here is another question. Would adults getting vaccines make a difference? Many children who got sick have gotten the vaccine on schedule. As a few moms here mentioned that their kids got whopping cough and they have had their shots. This means an infant can still catch it from someone who got the shots already. Maybe this is just a terrible tragedy that would have happened anyways.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jennifer

    Adults always show the symptoms. So you may have it and not even know. So just breathing on him could of passed pertussis. So keeping him home doesnt always work. I knew a baby in Europe who was in the same NICU as miy child who developed pertussis while in the NICU. No other child got it. One of the baby's parents was a carrier and gave the child pertussis without even knowing they were sick. They had NO symptoms SO you can catch it anywhere.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jake

    I got whooping cough even though I was fully vacinated. Also, it doesn't matter if I get vacinated or not I can still be a carrier and pass it on.

    Sorry for your loss

    October 22, 2010 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. blahh

    I would feel more sympathy for this baby if it were not wearing a New England Patriots cap. I know, I'm going to hell.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carter's Mom

      Really you jerk ? You could have kept that comment to yourself. He died ! He suffered for 9 days struggling to breath ! As his mother after day 5 I never held him or saw him awake again ! The next time I held my sweet baby he was dead !

      October 23, 2010 at 00:56 | Report abuse |
    • Valerie

      Felica, you have to understand that this happens when you share your story with the oldest news network in America, which now allows for comments after its stories. The person who wrote that doesn't think of you as real, his/her mind doesn't take it that far, so no reason to get offended. You are still deep in the rift of grief, so it will distort your perception. All the more reason to stay away from these comments and stick to the people whose lives you have affected. Even I am willing to look into getting the TDAP right after the baby is out and before I start breastfeeding.

      October 23, 2010 at 07:19 | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I wish I could get my hands on blahh. I would pound their face in for being suck an asshole.

      October 23, 2010 at 16:16 | Report abuse |
  9. Nancy

    Valerie, I saw your comment about why California has more of an increase in cases. We have a larger than nomal population that do not vaccinate their children. Marin county has the highest percentage of non-vaccinated children in the county. So I think it is from the affluent population and the other is from illegal people.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Denim

    I don't call people who are against vaccination anything other than "morons". Or maybe "criminally stupid". Or maybe "not totally interested in the welfare of their children". Sympathy for such? Zero, nil, zilch. I feel for the family in this story, as this child was too young, but for those who skip vaccinations and lose their children? Negligence resulting in death, charged by the universe and punishment carried out without concern for your useless *FEELINGS*.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Eeyore

      I agree with you. There's no reasoning with these nuts. They're delusional and have absolutely no ability to grasp the idea that not every story they read on a random anti-vax website is accurate or truthful.

      Valerie has to be one of the worst. And she must be attempting to set a record for the world's longest human pregnancy; she's been about to have a baby for eons.

      October 22, 2010 at 18:12 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      PEOPLE, Similac had BUGS in it and they recalled MILLIONS of tins practically last week. Why does the thought of vaccinations having toxins in them so unbelievable???

      October 22, 2010 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      Really, you dolt, do you think vaccines are manufactured in facilities like those making Similac? What color is the sky on your planet, dear?

      Vaccines contain preservatives that prevent molds, fungus, and other pollutants from growing in them. They aren't "toxic" at the levels used for this purpose.

      Honestly, some of you are just laughable in your complete ignorance. Or you would be, if your stupidity wasn't endangering others' health.

      October 23, 2010 at 10:35 | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Eeyore, do you know what that preservative is in vaccines that prevents mold? Thimerisol, aka, mercury. Would you voluntarily pump mercury into your veins?

      October 23, 2010 at 11:55 | Report abuse |
    • DaveInWa

      for all of you on this thimerisol bandwagon get you facts straight there is no thimerisol in any vaccine given to children under 6 years of age. i realize that this is a goverment website but that appears where everyone gets there information any way cut and paste into your browser all you need to know about thimerisol http://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

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

      DaveinWA – that's not true at all. The flu shot, which is recommended for children as young as 6 months, contains thimerisol, and is intended to be given every year (and actually 2 doses are required when it is first given).

      October 23, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • DM

      @Lillian-So are you saying that because mercury is out there, that we should all not get flu shots or vaccinations? Sorry, but that's just not commong sense. I would rather my children have their vaccinations, than get these horrible diseases, or even the flu! This is just ridiculous.

      October 23, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • Lillian

      @DM – That's an amazing way of jumping to conclusions, but I was merely pointing out DaveinWA's error. I'm not sure where you read in either of my comments that I was advocating vaccinating for smallpox OR not vaccinate because of mercury. And actually, yes, the inactivated flu vaccine IS the one recommended for children under 6.

      October 23, 2010 at 13:01 | Report abuse |
    • DM

      @Lillian-My apologies, as I see that I misread your comments.

      October 23, 2010 at 13:13 | Report abuse |
    • DaveInWa

      @me get a clue. heres a place to start

      October 23, 2010 at 12:45 | Report abuse |
    • eeyore

      Yes, Me, I know what Thimerosal is, but unlike you, I actually have educated myself and know that it is perfectly safe in the quantities in which it is used as a very effective preservative, that it has been removed (because of boobs like you and your hysteria) from nearly every vaccine, and that one gets more mercury from a serving of tuna than a vaccination.

      Grow a brain, you moron.

      October 23, 2010 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
    • DM

      @Eeyore-Really, you dolt, do you think vaccines are manufactured in facilities like those making Similac? What color is the sky on your planet, dear?

      Vaccines contain preservatives that prevent molds, fungus, and other pollutants from growing in them. They aren't "toxic" at the levels used for this purpose.

      Honestly, some of you are just laughable in your complete ignorance. Or you would be, if your stupidity wasn't endangering others' health.

      And for someone who didn't know that Varicella is made from aborted babies, I'd have to say, that your pretty stupid too!

      October 23, 2010 at 13:17 | Report abuse |
    • eeyore

      DM brays: "your pretty stupid too." Umm, not so stupid I can't figure out the difference between "you're" and "your", dear. That would be really dumb.

      Guess you have been hoisted on your own petard.

      October 23, 2010 at 15:03 | Report abuse |
  11. taxpayer

    Those stupid and irresponsible parents should be sent to jail for neglect/murder.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      Their baby was 7.5 weeks old and too young to have received his shots.

      You are a moron.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:30 | Report abuse |
    • Carrie

      YOU.....ARE AN IDIOT!! SHAME ON YOU!!!!!

      October 22, 2010 at 22:45 | Report abuse |
  12. Frank

    My heart goes to Carter's family.

    I'm the dad of 4 kids, one of them caught a nasty infection in the hospital at birth, and as a result my wife and I lived out of the NICU for weeks.

    I just want to say to the people bashing Valerie on her statement that babies should be kept at home for a couple of months after birth (although her point was irrelevant to Carter's story), that no, she is not unrealistic or naive. Of course there are visitors you can't avoid, or errands you'll have to run with the baby, but always remember how vulnerable they are to an infection. So while I'll always follow my pediatrician's advice on vaccination, and admire Carter's parents' initiative to raise awareness, common sense is also a good practice that saves lives. A little human being that just came out of the womb has no business at the grocery store, the restaurant, or your best friend house that you so want to visit. I'm running 2 full time jobs, have no family at all around, live with modest means, and I was able to do it for all 4 of my kids. Yes, it's tough, but when you've experienced first-hand what it's like to have your baby hooked-up to machines and tubes because of one stranger that coughed, or another one who didn't wash his hands, you're not gonna want to take any chance, and you'll have your baby stay at home for a while.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ben's Mom

      I agree, our pediatrician told us to limit our baby's contact with the outside world for the first 3 months, when babies are most vulnerable. So we limited visitors to family and only took him to public places when we had to (a few trips to the grocery and to the pediatrician's office for checkups). I do believe that limiting his exposure helped keep him healthy. Of course it's not possible to keep your baby in a bubble and prevent all potential exposure to contagious disease, but you don't really need to take a small infant out of the house very often, so why create more opportunities for him to catch something?

      October 22, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  13. IzzysGirl

    I'm sorry, Valerie . . . keep a baby away from his/her older siblings for two months?????? I don't think so.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Mom

    To Carter's family, my condolences, my son also contracted the virus and he almost died, he did not get Pertussiss until after he had the shot. My son had contracted the virus so many times, I was living at the hospital with my son. I do believe in vaccinations, I had the shot right after my son was born and everyone else had it also, but, my son still caught it numerous times. To Carter's Mom, I am so sorry you are going through this, my heart goes out to you and your family...I hope in the future that scientists can rid this world of this virus permanently....

    October 22, 2010 at 17:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. ieat

    have you guys paid attention to some posts that the disease is making a resurgence partly because they have become resistent to the vaccine? Are they working on a new vaccine?

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

    Thank you Valerie for being brave. Let the lambs follow the wolf, what else can you do?

    October 22, 2010 at 17:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      Await moderation from CNN, apparently.

      October 22, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
  17. Valerie

    Of course you can stay home for 8 weeks, it's called maternity leave. Some people can stay home for 3 months if the business they work for is large enough (mine's not, so just 6-8). If you are a single parent, there is always welfare to help you out temporarily. That's what it's for.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carter's Mom

      I work for a great company and I did have 12 weeks of maternity leave. BUT I still had to go grocery shopping or my husband did, we were around other people. An FYI in most state Welfare is based on your income so if you have a good job they aren't going to give you welfare so you can stay at home a couple of more months with your child. Thati s just crazy ? An last time I checked the income didn't look that great so quiting your job to be home longer is not a good idea if you have a family to support. An FYI also my husband is a stay at home dad so Carter would have never went to daycare.

      October 23, 2010 at 00:18 | Report abuse |
  18. Dr. H

    Parents who do not vaccinate their children are profoundly moronic at best and murderers at worst.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. donna

    This is so sad. I can't' stop crying. Why didn't anything work?

    October 22, 2010 at 17:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Dan

    Did you know that 25% of parents (according to the CDC) believe that vaccine causes autism and other disabilities? They are not hearing Jenny McCarthy, they are hearing the neighbor, the friend, the teacher that are accounting what is happening to their kids after they pass these batch of 32 vaccines before age 1. Many of the ones who post here are not even parents.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. m9

    People, don't take your newborn babies on airplanes, buses, trains, etc.... There are stupid parents out here who think they know better than doctors & science & do NOT immunize their precious kids (because they're just so sure they're kids are SO special) thus spreading disease all over the damn place. Besides, does your newborn REALLY need to take a vacation with you? (Really? Grandma & Grandpa can't come visit you?) I see people dragging babies out half-dressed in all kinds of weather & at all hours & I wonder WTH they are thinking....

    October 22, 2010 at 17:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. denise

    Beautiful little guy. I am so sorry for your loss.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. silvershado

    Only seeing autism, that's become the factor to avoid at all cost. (Time to remind folks of gasping whoops that finally kill, tiny polio limbs and paralysis, and the horrid suffering/blinding rubella.)

    October 22, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. charge Valerie

    Do the research; test the brother, find out who specifically was in the Peds office during and before their visits, confirm which one of those idiots did not get vaccinated previously. Then charge them with second degree murder. Stupidity has consequences, people.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Paula

    Thank you, Carter's family, for sharing your story in the hope that other families will NOT lose their babies to a preventable disease. I hope that more physicians will wake up to the need for all family members and others who will be in contact with newborns to get vaccinated. This should not happen when there is a safe and effective vaccine that could keep it from happening.

    As to the commenters insinuating Carter's family could or should have done something different – I'm with Larry. Enjoy that steaming hot mug of STFU.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Heide

    My son was vacinnated. He ended up getting sick few months after. Because he had been vaccinated they did not check for whooping cough. He had a bad cough for over six months causing him to throw up his food and delaying much of his development. There were numerous mis diagonisis before we found a doctor who was willing to check him for whooping cough. Just because a kids is vaccinated does not mean that they will be immune. Most parents are not aware of this but should be made aware. He is now a teen but there are still some delays that could be attributed to being so sick during that first year of his life.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. realvi

    @ valerie...I thought you are more of a CNN hater than a vaccine hater. Had you just stirred-up the hornest nest.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jill

    I inquired about the Whooping Cough booster today at my doctor's office. I live in Texas and haven't heard of any deaths in my state, but would rather the overly cautious. The doctor told me that this booster is included in the Tetanus booster, which is recommended every 10 years. If you're current on your Tetanus, then you're current on your whooping cough (pertussis) booster.

    October 22, 2010 at 17:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carter's Mom

      It is true the Tdap vaccine does contain the pertussis booster if that is theo ne your doctor's office is giving out. But the regualr Tetanus vaccine is still being offeed also. THe Tdap vaccine has only been avaiable for the last 5 years. Thanks !

      October 23, 2010 at 22:41 | Report abuse |
  29. Tony V

    It truly is amazing how incredibly stupid Americans have become. I can only hope that those who avoid vaccines and deny the overall benefits of science will be eliminated from the gene pool. I cannot believe how much dumber our country is getting.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Melisa


    October 22, 2010 at 18:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Bel

    My heart goes to this family. They live in a town about 40 miles from me, not that it makes a difference.
    I have a son with severe autism and am 100% convinced it was the vaccines that caused his disability, but I am not anti-vaccine! Childhood diseases cause not only untimely deaths, like Carter's, but disabilities as well (think polio or measles like what happened to Helen Keller or whatever it was that caused Mary Ingalls to go blind). I do not want to go back to those days, but vaccines are not risk-free. We need vaccines, but they need to be SAFER and pharmaceutical companies need to take more responsibility for their products!

    October 22, 2010 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • KC

      I'm really sorry, but autism does not come from vaccines whether you are 100% sure or not. You are not a doctor, you are self-diagnosing. The study that came out stating vaccines were suspected of causing autism were later shown to be wrong. I'm sorry for your situation, but vaccinations didn't cause it.

      October 22, 2010 at 18:18 | Report abuse |
  32. KC

    For Valerie and those of you saying vaccinations cause autism... YOU ARE WRONG!!! You are basing your opinion on a study that was discredited as bogus science but still seems to run rampant. It is NOT true, and you are irresponsible if you do not have your child vaccinated. REPEAT! The study that claimed vaccinations caused autism was later found to be wrong. LOOK IT UP, and stop believing emails and wives tales. Have your children vaccinated for their sakes.

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

    Awww, poor little guy. Well, I guess God needed him for some mysterious purpose. I can't wait to meet this God fella.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. ieat

    How many kids have died from the flu? I think it's more than 10 a year. Why do people seem more concerned about whopping cough than the flu?

    October 22, 2010 at 18:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Kiran

    "More children in the West are damaged by vaccines than by disease."

    Uh, what? Got evidence to back that up? No? Of course not. Thanks, let's return to our regular programming.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Drake

    Ummm can anyone say propaganda?????? Sad sad story. Published to fear people into getting vaccines. DON"T BELIEVE THE HYPE~!!!!!

    October 22, 2010 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Ian

    All of the anger being directed at the parents for being "anti-vaccine" is irrelevant and likely inaccurate. Kids don't receive the shots until the age of 3 months. The child was 5 weeks old.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Karen Saucedo

    Tremendous amount of ignorance here. There is always a risk with a vaccine. However, they are developed for a reason and for the large part, they are effective and safe. Think back to the polio vaccine. Before it was developed polio was not uncommon and was devastating. When the vaccine came out, parents had the difficult choice of having their children given a live vaccine or not. Most chose to have their children treated and now polio, in the US, is indeed rare. Yes, there are always risks but you weigh them and make an informed decision. The informed decision would be to give your child the vaccine unless there are other factors for your child that contraindicate it. And, Remember: This vaccine wears off after about five years so must be given again. The best defense is to vaccinate your babies, children, and yourself.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Terry from West Texas

    It would be better to smack your kid around and get him vaccinated rather than the other way around. If you beat him up a little, he can work it out later with his therapist. If you don't vaccinate him, there may not be any later.

    My brother got measles before measles vaccines. He has worn a hearing aid ever since. My mother had polio as a child. When polio vaccine became available it would have done no good to tell her that I didn't want a shot. I was the first kid in line and she was right behind me holding me by the collar want watching to make sure that needle went all the way in.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. TalkingOutMyRear

    Jenny McCarthy, this babies blood is on your hands.

    October 22, 2010 at 18:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Eeyore

    Pertussis is very common, most of us have had it at some point or another, we just haven't been tested for it so we never know. Getting vaccinated, provided vaccines work, doesn't mean you are not still a carrier to non-vaccinated babies. Vaccination is CNN's agenda, that's all I was pointing out.
    For those of you defending Valerie as rational, the above is proof she's nuts. "Provided vaccines work"? Please. What utter idiocy.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. LKB

    That baby is so beautiful. What a loss. (And a Pats fan to boot.) But he was too young for the pertussis vax. The problem here is that other people are opting not to vax. He could've picked up the disease anywhere. I think anyone who will be in contact with infants too young for the pertussis vax should be made to have one first - kids and adults alike. There's no reason for this senseless tragedy. My heart breaks for his family.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. DM

    I'll say it again. As soon as a baby is born, it is ALREADY exposed to whateever germs are present, good and bad. Keeping your newborn isoldated in the home is not going to protect it. Germs are everywhere. A newborn is seen by the pediatrian very soon after birth. You can't live in a bubble!

    October 22, 2010 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Pedsnurse

    None of this generation recall the "great epidemics" where the youngest and most vulnerable on earth died before the advent of vaccinations. None remember the birth defects of babies exposed in utero when their pregnant mothers became ill. Do we really want to see it start all over again? Parents who believe vaccines have hurt their children are seeking a cause, a reason for their pain, they are not neccessarily in the best of positions to evaluate what's happened.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. BA

    Valerie–You are a fool who would rather see thousands of children killed by preventable diseases such as Polio, Pertussis, measles etc, etc. all because you believe that vaccines cause autism. There is no validated study that PROVES that autism is vaccine related. there ARE studies that show a genetic connection wrt autism. Do you know anything about the diseases that you cavalierly advocate exposing millions of children to by not vaccinating them? Have you ever seen how seriously ill, permanently injured or mortally harmed a child can be by a disease that is preventable. you speak as someone whose life has never been touched by such tragedy and shame on you for advocating that parents put their children in harms way by avoiding routine immunizations

    October 22, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      BA, why don't you go up and read what I actually typed. My children have been vaccinated and I never said that vaccines cause autism, only that there are 5,000 cases in the vaccine court trying to prove that they do. That's it.

      October 23, 2010 at 07:30 | Report abuse |
  46. Heidi

    Note: My post was specifically directed at TJ's comment (several above).

    October 22, 2010 at 19:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Alex

    First, and foremost, my heart breaks for this family, and the families of others who have had to watch their newborns die an unnecessary death to an illness that should never, ever have resurfaced as a problem. This is a terribly sad story.

    Second, shame one every one of you who denounces vaccines as "Big Pharma" or "CNN" propaganda without truly seeking the truth. Unfortunately, you all are so ironically blinded by your own propaganda mills that you are not willing to dig your heads out of the sand. Time and time again, the link between vaccines and autism has been disproved, yet you close your mind to the mountains of hard evidence. I will not bother with details because there is not enough time or space to do so here, but I urge you to seriously seek the truth with an open mind. I stress open-mindedness because folks are increasingly bonded with their opinions these days. Your neighbor or best friend are not sources, look for the information yourself.

    Finally, as a new parent, this opens my eyes to the need for vaccination for myself. I honestly feel like we dodged a bullet with my 6-month old daughter because I have not received a booster shot of any kind for years, and I am realizing that I could be a carrier of an illness that could affect her or the children of others. Get yourselves vaccinated along with your children. As the percentage of vaccinated folks decreases, the chances for outbreaks and epidemics increases exponentially.

    We really should not be dealing with diseases like pertussis or measles or mumps in this day and age.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Chris

    Does anyone on this board understand the concept of risk management? No vaccine is 100% safe, CDC literature clearly states this. However, vaccines do significantly reduce the risk of catching diseases that in the past has caused public health crises. The idea being the very tiny risk of an adverse reaction to a vaccine is worth the large reduction of risk from catching and passing on one of the diseases the vaccines are designed help prevent. This story is tragic because it points out that nothing is 100% guaranteed or preventable, no matter what we believe. God look after that little baby...

    October 22, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Jay

    I had whooping cough as a child even though I had been vaccinated against. Yes vaccines aren't 100% effective, i am proof of that, but it is the best way to avoid issues like this. I can speak from my own experience that it is not a fun disease to have. I missed weeks of school as a result and was coughing constantly. At times it took everything in me to be able to breath, and my parents stayed in my room at night so they could wake me up every time i stopped breathing for a second in my sleep. I don't wish whooping cough on anyone and only wish that everyone will get vaccinated so that no one has to go through what my family did.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Sherry

    I am so sorry. What a terrible loss.

    October 22, 2010 at 19:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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