Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Refusing Immunizations Puts Children At Increased Risk Of Pertussis Infection, Study Finds

Date:
May 28, 2009
Source:
Kaiser Permanente
Summary:
A new study finds that children of parents who refuse vaccines are 23 times more likely to get whooping cough compared to fully immunized children.

Children of parents who refuse vaccines are 23 times more likely to get whooping cough compared to fully immunized children, according to a new study led by a vaccine research team at Kaiser Permanente Colorado's Institute for Health Research.

The study will appear in the June 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, this is the first study to use electronic health records to look for immunization refusal and possible pertussis infections, making it the most definitive on the risk of vaccine refusal to date.

While most families vaccinate their children, leading to dramatic reductions in several serious childhood illnesses, the number of parents refusing immunizations appears to be increasing in the United States, researchers say. The study could not determine from the information available why parents elected to refuse vaccines. The study also did not evaluate the side effects of vaccines.

The study findings are important for parents who cite low risk of infection as a reason to choose fewer or no immunizations, and for researchers who are concerned that decreased immunization rates could lead to more disease outbreaks across the country.

"This study helps dispel one of the commonly held beliefs among vaccine-refusing parents: that their children are not at risk for vaccine preventable diseases," said study lead author Jason Glanz, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research. "It also shows that the decision to refuse immunizations could have important ramifications for the health of the entire community. Based on our analysis, we found that one in 10 additional whooping cough infections could have been prevented by immunization."

Pertussis – more commonly known as whooping cough – is a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing and can be deadly in infants, especially those under two months of age who are too young to be fully vaccinated. In 1976 there were just over 1,000 reported cases of pertussis in the United States; by 2004, it climbed to nearly 26,000 cases. Between 2000 and 2005 there were 140 deaths resulting from pertussis in the United States.

The best way to prevent pertussis is through vaccinations. The childhood vaccine, DTaP, is a "3-in-1" immunization that protects against diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus. It is given in a series to children at two months, four months, six months and 15-18 months of age, and a booster is given before kindergarten. The DTaP vaccine, like other routine childhood immunizations, has been shown to be more than 98 percent effective.

To assess the risk of DTaP refusal, researchers reviewed the electronic health records of children between the ages of two months and 18 years who were members of Kaiser Permanente Colorado between 1996 and 2007. First, investigators confirmed which children had pertussis infections. Next, they verified whether parents had refused some or all vaccines for their children.

The researchers found 156 laboratory-confirmed pertussis cases that met the study's criteria. They compared these cases to four times as many children of the same age and gender who were not infected with pertussis. Based on this analysis, the researchers discovered that children of vaccine refusers were 23 times more likely to be infected with whooping cough than vaccinated children.

"As a father of young children, I understand that vaccines can pose confusing and difficult choices, so the purpose of this research is to give parents more information to weigh the benefits and risks, and to provide pediatricians with more information to help participate in the discussion," Glanz said.

According to pediatrician and co-author Matthew F. Daley, MD, of The Children's Hospital Denver and Kaiser Permanente's Institute for Health Research: "Parents want to do what is best for their children and need information to make good decisions regarding immunizations. This study will benefit parents and pediatric health care providers because it helps us better understand some of the risks of not vaccinating against childhood diseases."

Additional study authors include: David L. McClure, Ph.D., David J. Magid, MD, MPH, and Simon J. Hambidge, MD, Ph.D., of the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Research; Eric K. France, MD, MSPH, of the Department of Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente Colorado; Daniel A. Salmon, Ph.D., MPH of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kaiser Permanente. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jason M. Glanz, David L. McClure, David J. Magid, Matthew F. Daley, Eric K. France, Daniel A. Salmon, and Simon J. Hambidge. Parental Refusal of Pertussis Vaccination Is Associated With an Increased Risk of Pertussis Infection in Children. Pediatrics, 2009; 123 (6): 1446 DOI: 10.1542/peds.2008-2150

Cite This Page:

Kaiser Permanente. "Refusing Immunizations Puts Children At Increased Risk Of Pertussis Infection, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093936.htm>.
Kaiser Permanente. (2009, May 28). Refusing Immunizations Puts Children At Increased Risk Of Pertussis Infection, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093936.htm
Kaiser Permanente. "Refusing Immunizations Puts Children At Increased Risk Of Pertussis Infection, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090526093936.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins