I just signed the following petition addressed to: All National, State and Local Government.
We need standards for what an epidemic is for all communicable diseases, and a standard warning system for when there is an epidemic in your community!
Quote from email to me from DOH March 22, three months into the epidemic-
" Responding to your specific questions to Secretary Selecky about disease reporting (email attached), yes, pertussis is a notifiable condition meaning reporting of the disease is required.
There is not a law related to our work to inform the public."
Article August 10th:
"Two babies died in Washington last year from pertussis; there have been no deaths so far in 2012.
“While there’s no national standard for when a disease outbreak becomes an epidemic, the state Department of Health decided the time was right.”"
There is currently no law or even requirement, for the CDC or any Government Health Agency to tell the citizens there is an epidemic in their area. The current policy is to inform Health Care Providers and used "earned media" from deaths and clinics to share the CDC recommendations and Health Departments epidemic message. People are unknowingly walking around in the middle of an epidemic and they do not say anything on the Department of Health Website. The Washington DOH said, "if every county doesn't have an epidemic, we can't say anything." The Health Department said that they and the Department of Health didn't agree as to the definition of epidemic. The CDC said, "Unfortunately, these outbreaks help us do our job" The state wouldn't call the CDC because they would only come for a week to help. They all said there is no money for sending out an epidemic warning! There is nothing in place to monitor and react at a national level in the event of an epidemic! A master plan should be created as to the definition of an epidemic and an automatic notice sent out once that level is reached to any household or business in the area.
It is a law that we have to tell them if we have a contagious disease, but they do not have to tell us anything! Please make them send each household in the epidemic area a public health notice, explaining the situation and recommended steps to follow.
For more information visit http://kennethaskorner.weebly.com/
Or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Whooping-Cough/155649037851216
Senator Paull Shin and Mary Helen Roberts are also working on legislation around this issue, we will keep you posted!
Excerpt from email to CDC 8/9/12 from me:
"I feel the CDC and the DOH were both negligent concerning this epidemic. Both agencies knew this was going to be a really bad year for Pertussis, yet both failed to warned the public about it. Neither would listen when we begged them to do more.
See below article from January 2011 citing the lack of Tdap coverage in adolescents and adults, as well as the 2011 warning of the waning of Tdap.
If the "team" would have gotten busy earlier, it may not have gotten this far out of control. Every finding in the articles the CDC has written since they came to Washington, was already known.
They just hadn't bothered to tell us about it.
So, can you tell me yet, who was supposed to share this information with everyone? Because no one seems to be responsible. Not the CDC, not the DOH.
Both agencies claim to protect The CDC says “Health Protection…Health Equity”, and their pledge, "To place the benefits to society above the benefits to the institution". The DOH has "The Department of Health works to protect and improve the health of people in the state of Washington"
I think both agencies have both forgotten about the protection part and left society out of this epidemic. I do not feel protected. Chelsey was not protected. Kaliah was not protected.
Both agencies need to do much better in the future. I do not feel the nations tax dollars are being used to the best of either of their abilities if they don't even have a plan for warning citizens in the event of an epidemic in their area. This should be standard practice by now. Will the CDC be working with the DOH on a plan for warning citizens as soon as a disease such as this reaches the epidemic threshold? Or will the victims family members be responsible again?
I see warning citizens of an impending communicable disease, as the number one role of the CDC and DOH."
So here is what we need and want:
Require the Department of Health to warn us if there is an epidemic in our community as soon as it reaches the epidemic threshold, by sending out an official "Public Health Warning notice" to every household, business and PO Box in the epidemic area. That way each household will have received the information at least once right away, and can decide themselves how best to protect their family. There needs to be a standard set for each communicable disease, and a standard warning notice for everyone in the nation.