Whooping cough epidemic in Western Australia

Four babies have already died as whooping cough cases shot up in Western Australia.

A record number of more than 3,500 cases were reported last year, more than double the 2010 total. Four babies have died from the infection in as many years and the Health Department is urging parents to be prepared for more cases.

The department’s Paul Armstrong says whooping cough in the community seems to be rising. “In 2011 we had the highest number of cases reported to us of whooping cough, we know that whooping cough epidemics happen every three to four years, and we’re well overdue in WA for a whooping cough epidemic,” Mr Armstrong said.

Health Minister Kim Hames says parents must take responsibility for the vaccination of their children. “Whatever you hear of the risks of vaccination – of a whole range of different things – are totally outweighed by the risk of the disease itself,” he said. “Measles kills, whooping cough kills. All of those diseases that you can now get a vaccination to stop, can kill children.

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Blue sparrow seen in Australia

In April, GrrlScientist posted a picture of a blue house sparrow seen in April among normal colored birds. She commented on the nature of its mutation.

Passer domesticus, var. blue

Passer domesticus, var. blue

Birds and butterflies aren’t blue because of pigment but because of their surface texture of their feathers or scales, so I’m guessing that this is a structural change in the feathers.

It would be very interesting to get the local university to put up a mist net, band their catch, and perhaps pluck a feather or two. I’m curious about the genetics of family members — I wonder if some of the brown ones are heterozygous for blue feathers and how many ordinary sparrows it would take to find out. And will the chicks dig it?

GrrlScientist has a follow-up and more photos from the one who spotted this bird in Sydney, Australia, in April.

Vaccines and formaldehyde

Here’s a delightful irony: if I read this correctly, the amount of formaldehyde in vaccines is so small that vaccines dilute the naturally occuring formaldehyde in our bodies.

Thinking is real: “Vaccines have toxic formaldehyde”!!!!!

Last week’s Sunday Night show about the whooping cough death of an Australian baby has made it clear that silence isn’t a very good option….

People trying to push an “alternative” health or lifestyle barrow love to list things they demonise as “CHEMICALS”, apparently not realising EVERYTHING is made from CHEMICALS… Even homeopathic “remedies” are made from CHEMICALS, namely water – and sometimes sugar or even alcohol….

Formaldehyde – a simple organic chemical made of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon — is a widespread and natural constituent of all living systems, from bacteria and fish to rodents and humans.

Due to its importance in various metabolic processes, formaldehyde is naturally present in the human body with concentrations of approximately one to two parts per million (ppm) in blood.

the evolutionary process had to include a way to ensure that formaldehyde’s inherent toxicity could be controlled. Certain enzymes… convert formaldehyde that is formed continuously in various biological processes to formate, which is less reactive and, therefore, less toxicto keep formaldehyde from reaching concentrations that are toxic to cells.

…clearly, the notion that the smallest fraction of formaldehyde, less than is already present in the baby’s bloodstream, is a toxin that no baby could possibly endure is a nonsense.

So there you have it.

The event that inspired the writer to research formaldehyde and anti-vaccine sentiment was the death of a small baby in Australia from whooping cough (pertussis). She was too young to be vaccinated but if the people around her were vaccinated she’d be unlikely to catch the disease.

On Sunday evening, Australia’s Channel 7 Sunday Night programme aired a positive, well researched and scientifically based story on the dangers of not vaccinating.

The report centred around the death of four week old Dana McCaffery from whooping cough. The tragedy was Dana was too young to be vaccinated, but lived in an area of low herd immunity, resulting in her contracting the deadly pertussis bacteria. There is no cure for whooping cough.

Dana’s parents, Toni and David made the brave decision to speak out to reporter Rebecca Maddern of “Sunday Night”. What resulted was a wake-up call for parents who don’t vaccinate as we viewed footage of tiny babies with pertussis and heard of the heart break from the parents. Dana’s paediatrician, Dr Chris Ingall, who was unable to save Dana, implored parents to vaccinate, not only to protect the lives of their own children but others as well.

The last time I looked, whooping cough had a small but not negligible mortality, somewhere between 1 and 8 percent.

Not one shred of evidence in terrorism charge

Australian federal police knew that nothing linked Mohammed Sineef to terrorism, but the pressed charges anyway.

Even before charging him last year, the Australian Federal Police knew Mohammed Haneef’s old SIM card was not used by a terrorist cell. In the public’s mind, that card was the one sexy piece of evidence somehow linking the Gold Coast doctor to botched attempts by his cousin Kafeel Ahmed to blow up a London nightclub and Glasgow airport. The police have now admitted they knew the card was never used and never there. But it grounded the charge.

Australian Liberals lose election; Labor gains power

Australia’s Liberal party, which is conservative politically, has decisively lost the national election after 11 years in power, in the wake of a certain restlessness in the electorate and a last-minute scandal about faked political flyers. Even the Prime Minister, John Howard, lost his seat. The Labor party, lead by a former diplimat, will have a comfortable majority.

Australian Liberals distribute faked flyer

Two days before an election while they trail in the polls, some members of Australia’s ruling Liberal Party have been caught distributing fake flyers. These nasty Liberal notices are purported to come from a non-existent Islamic organization and urge Australians to vote for the Labour Party, which will be soft on terrorists who blew up a bar in Bali, killing 200 people. Many of those people were Australians. I don’t imagine that many people are sympathetic with the murderers. The Liberals were caught delivering the fake notices to homes in a key electoral riding.


In an era of plausible deniability, the Liberal Party said that it had suspended a couple of unidentified Liberals for an unauthorized prank. Sure–if it works you might win the riding; and if it doesn’t work, you can claim that it wasn’t your idea. I guess they deserve to lose the election.

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