Friday, August 3, 2012

100% certainty

Very few things are 100% certain in life and as a biomedical researcher, I am used to expressing things cautiously using phrases like "is consistent with", "there is no evidence for". However, of late, I have seen a claim that I can say with 100% certainty is not true.

My DS/DD caught pertussis from the vaccine (and iterations thereof, like "from the vaccine that a vaccinated child shed").

Not true. How do I know that?

Pertussis is a bacterial infection. Whole, living bacteria called Bordetella pertussis enter our nose/mouth because someone coughed them at us and they stick to the tiny little hairs (cilia) in our respiratory tract - here is a picture (source):


The bacteria have some proteins on the surface that help them hold on to those hairs and manipulate the immune response. In order to have a noticeable effect, the bacteria have to multiply, using loads of genes and proteins within their cell membrane (see below) and the nutrients provided by our body. Here is a picture of the bacteria (coloured from an electron micrograph in which they are 40.000x enlarged - source):



So why can't the vaccine cause pertussis? Because there are no bacteria in it. The vaccine only contains the surface bits that help the bacteria attach to those ciliated cells in your respiratory tract. For example, Daptacel contains:

10 µg detoxified pertussis toxin (PTx), 5 µg filamentous hemagglutinin (FHA), 3 µg pertactin (PRN), and 5 µg fimbriae types 2 and 3 (FIM) - I have circled them in red in the following picture (source):


The idea is that in response to vaccination, the body generates antibodies only against those proteins - those will bind to the surface of the bacteria when someone coughs at you and prevent the bacteria from sticking to your respiratory tract. Everything that is not circled in red is NOT in the vaccine. There is no chance that some surface bits injected into your arm or leg cause an illness that requires loads of bacteria sticking to those tiny cilia in your respiratory tract. Furthermore, the vaccine also does not contain the tracheal cytotoxin, which the bacteria release and which paralyses those cilia and prevent them from clearing your airways, which is what causes the characteristic cough (<- click on that link - this is what pertussis sounds like).

100%



33 comments:

  1. And why don't we have the whole-cell vaccine, which provides better immunity for a longer time?

    Because the anti-vaxers said, with 100% certainty, that it killed children. It didn't, but a market was created for the acellular vaccine, and here we are.

    Thanks, anti-vaxers! Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for an easy-to-understand explanation of this particular fallacy.

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  3. Curiously, I was blogging on a related topic myself, today...

    http://peterenglish.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/pertussis-vaccination-its-complicated.html

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  4. This is a great clear explanation! I'll be sharing this and giving props of course! Thank you!

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  5. And why don't we have the whole-cell vaccine, which provides better immunity for a longer time?

    Even the foremost pertussis researcher, J.D. Cherry who has been rather critical of pertussis epidemiology methods recommends a modified whole cell vaccine (which also does not cause pertussis infection nor sheds).

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  6. Thank you Peter, very interesting!

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  7. This is absolutely perfect, Catherina. I hope this post is spread far and wide, and that in its spread, it helps curb the spread of pertussis. Or something like that.

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  8. Thinking the pertussis vaccine can cause pertussis is like claiming that a few whiskers and some hair can catch mice.

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  9. ooo, I wish, Anonymous - I would get whiskers immediately, we have mice at the moment ;)

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  10. "So why can't the vaccine cause pertussis? Because there are no bacteria in it."

    It's not the bacteria, but the bacterial toxins in the vaccines that cause the signs and symptoms of whooping cough!

    Pertussis toxin: the cause of the harmful effects and prolonged immunity of whooping cough. A hypothesis

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/233166

    It's 2012 and yet you're still uninformed.

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  11. Thingy (welcome, I feel honoured) - have a look at the year of that article, 1979. They were not using the vaccine I am talking about above. Read my post again, very slowly. The tracheal cytotoxin that is causing the cough is NOT in the acellular vaccine. I think we can clearly see who is uninformed here :D

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    1. Thank you for the warm welcome.

      The tracheal cytotoxin, if present, will cause the typical paroxysmal cough of pertussis. Ever heard of subclinical pertussis i.e. non-paroxysmal?

      Serologic evidence of subclinical pertussis in immunized children.
      (PMID:2235142)

      http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/2235142/reload=0;jsessionid=5bEgjVfwGAM0KDE26y8o.20


      Of course, acellular vaccines do NOT contain TCT. Well, duh.

      Live Attenuated B. pertussis as a Single-Dose Nasal Vaccine against Whooping Cough

      "The resulting strain expressed less than 1% residual TCT activity (Figure 1A)"

      Please, do mind your place.

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  12. butbutbut, you are still looking at whole cell pertussis vaccine, thing. Can you spell out what you mean, beyond the "well, duh"? Cheers.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. Catherina, I don't know how familiar you are with Thingy but she will never argue with any honesty or intelligence. Don't waste your time; she will completely hijack threads with her inanity. In fact, if she does try, she's going into blog purgatory.

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  14. Bye bye Thingy. When you decide to argue with some integrity, let me know and I'll allow you back on.

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  15. Here's what I was told...

    The pertussis vaccine does not and cannot shed.

    However, people who have been vaccinated can carry and transmit pertussis AND can also catch pertussis and become ill.

    This may be part of what is causing the confusion. Because the vaccine fails and because it doesn't prevent someone who is exposed from carrying the bacteria, nor from coughing and sneezing and sharing the bacteria people who have concerns about the vaccines wonder if it sheds.

    No it doesn't shed. And no, this is a vaccine that does not and cannot create herd immunity.

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  16. However, people who have been vaccinated can carry and transmit pertussis AND can also catch pertussis and become ill.

    Yes Jeff but vaccinated, in general, do not transmit the disease as much as unvaccinated and this is due to vaccination attenuating disease severity.

    No it doesn't shed. And no, this is a vaccine that does not and cannot create herd immunity.

    No, it isn't effective enough to disrupt pertussis circulation; we need a much more effective vaccine. However, there is a linear association between decreased vaccine uptake and increased disease prevalence. So just because a vaccine isn't effective enough to interrupt circulation, doesn't mean not using any is a better option.

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    1. You have to determine if risk of injury from the vaccine itself is worth the risk of the little protection this one may give you.

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    2. That is a no brainer if you follow the actual evidence and not rely upon internet stories of self-diagnosed "vaccine injury". See: http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2010/08/dr-bob-sears-gets-it-wrong-again.html

      towards the end for pertussis disease complications and also here: http://justthevax.blogspot.com/2012/08/washington-state-pertussis-outbreak.html

      to see the staggering hospitalisation rate.

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    3. Not for me as my daughter was injured by a vaccine and now extra cautious with my other children.

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  17. If your daughter has had a valid reaction to DTaP that would warrant a medical contraindication, then the risk analysis is different and should be done with expert advice.

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  18. I will be polite in what I say and I am not here to argue. However I have a lot of friends that vaccinate, we do not. I find it interesting that my friends children have contracted whopping cough after a short period of receiving the vaccine. I have seen that with the chicken pox as well. So how can you say 100% that doesn't happen? My Dr. Who is for vaccinations even said that can happen. NO vaccine is 100% effective.

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    1. Wait, you see Doctor Who? I have dragon in my garage. Do you believe me?

      (and no one says any vaccine is 100%, but 80% effective is better than actually being 100% unprotected from pertussis by skipping a vaccine)

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  19. hey Anonymous! this is another anonymous from other threads on this website. I have also choosen to avoid vaccines and can say that the abuse here is kind of funny! Are you able to have conversations with vaccinaters in the world outside of the internet without being ridiculed? or do you just avoid them?

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    1. How are my questions abusive?

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    2. Umm, you dare challenge their mighty INTUITION?

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    3. By actually asking them to provide something more substantial, like what ingredients in the DTaP is worse than the toxins created by the actual bacterial infections?

      Oh, noes! I am so terrible. :-)

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  20. Yes Chris, that comment sounds very familiar...heh, heh.

    I'm still wondering where the citations are for vaccine injuries and why posters who claim vaccine injuries for their children, haven't made claims for those "mysterious" vaccine injuries.

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  21. Thanks for sharing article with outstanding video and to give me a chance to comment on it. Vaccine-injuries are injury caused by vaccination. I know that deaths from vaccine injuries are much more common than deaths from infections those vaccines are designed to prevent. If I have a child someday, I’d choose not to vaccinate as well.

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    1. First thing, what video? There are no videos in this article.

      Spam bot wrote: I know that deaths from vaccine injuries are much more common than deaths from infections those vaccines are designed to prevent

      Citation needed. Especially since your link was very broken. Really, show us the real scientifically verifiable evidence to support your claims. Because this looks like spam that typically appears on brain-dead youtube videos.

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