Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Whooping Cough is dangerous, so is misinformation

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with whooping cough. Like many people I'd had the vaccination, but my immunity had run out (it is recommended that adults get a booster).

It was one of the most unpleasant sicknesses I have ever experienced. Six weeks of a horrible hacking cough, so bad that I couldn't breathe except for the "whoop" at the end of the fit. I was told by my doctor that it is not unusual to break ribs during these coughing fits - something that I was glad I didn't do, but the pain in my sides was bad enough.

I could not imagine a child going through that. It was bad enough as an adult. Adults generally don't get it as bad as children, adults rarely die of it but children do. Immunisations save lives.

So today I'm sitting at home with a cold - with a similar hacking cough which is a gift from my bout of pertussis -  and I'm catching up on the news and the ABC is a story about whooping cough. It was enough to start a coughing fit.

The story quotes Meryl Doorey from the notorious and misleadingly named "Australian Vaccination Network". The AVN is a pseudo-science based anti-vaccination organisation whose ideas have been discredited by actual real science, yet the ABC sees fit to go to them for an opinion.

Does this mean that the ABC will go to Birthers, Truthers, and Reptillians for their particular alternative nutjob views in the cause of "balance"?

Immunisations save lives and it is extremely irresponsible to give a platform to someone who not only is discredited, but preaches dangerous pseudo-science that can have disastrous consequences.