Orac has an excellent post discussing the rise in pertussis (“whooping cough”) in many areas, and its correlation with easier exemption from mandatory vaccination (using a “personal belief” exemption in addition to a religious exemption, for example). I’ve written about pertussis previously, and a problem is that the vaccine effectiveness quickly wanes, so that adults frequently lack significant immunity. While we rarely get sick, we can be carriers of the bacterium and infect children around us. As such, new recommendations suggest that adults also should get a pertussis booster. I worry that it’s only going to get worse in areas where there’s so much anti-vaccine sentiment; kids not being vaccinated, parents with waning immunity spreading the bacterium, and an ever-growing incidence of disease due to Bordatella pertussis. Yes, it’s just another one of those “pesky childhood diseases,” but like mumps, measles, and chickenpox, people often forget the scourge it once was–and has the potential to be in the future.