One of my good friends (and co-residents) has pertussis, so now I’m on a week’s worth of antibiotic prophylaxis. Fun, fun, fun. (In addition, Alwin asks why we’re not immunized against pertussis, and I explain.)

In 1962, a company called International Fiberglass made a 25-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan for an Arizona cafe, with a large axe held in his hands (left hand palm-down, right hand cradling the axe palm-up). Over the next decade, they parlayed that single mold into thousands of statues — cowboys, indians, astronauts, muffler men. These statues still sit quietly by many U.S. highways and byways, hands still in the same positions, as a not-so-small slice of Americana waiting to be documented.

I assure you that there aren’t too many New Yorkers who are upset about the closing of the All-Star Cafe. For me, the happiness rests in the fact that it’s around the corner from my favorite BBQ place in the city, and this means no more maneuvering through the crowds of tourists who are gawking at two-story high pictures of famous athletes. Damn.

Two new weblog portals, BlogHop and BlogStart (the latter by the kickass Zannah), have opened their shutters over the past week or two. While they are both pretty cool, I don’t know how much utility these kinds of sites offer; BlogHop doesn’t even attempt to categorize listings, and BlogStart unsurprisingly has ended up with a disproportionately-large Personal category. Neither, though, make it any easier for me to discover a weblog that’s in the nebulous category of “Logs that Jason Would Like” — and I don’t know if that’ll ever happen.

Found in the referrer logs: someone’s explicitly searching for me. On many levels, scary…

This evening, I finally got around to updating the bookmarks column on the left; some links were dead, others were pointing to redirect pages as weblogs have moved around, and other daily reads of mine weren’t even there. Now things are better, more or less.


Jason, pardon an old nurse’s ignorance, but how the hell do you get a residency in pediatrics without being immunized against pertussis?

• Posted by: Alwin Hawkins on Sep 30, 2000, 5:18 PM

Jason, pardon an old nurse’s ignorance, but how the hell do you get a residency in pediatrics without being immunized against pertussis?

Alas, not ignorance, just a (logical) assumption that isn’t true — that the pertussis vaccine (the “P” of the DTaP vaccine) is used in adults. It isn’t; the last recommended dose of pertussis vaccine takes place at between 4 and 6 years of age (with immunity only lasting around 10 years), and in fact, none of the pertussis vaccines are licensed for use in people 7 years of age or older.

From the Immunization Action Coalition’s fact sheet on DTaP:

Are there any studies looking at use of acellular pertussis vaccines in adults?
Studies on the safety and efficacy of acellular pertussis vaccine in adults are currently underway. No pertussis vaccine is currently licensed for persons 7 years of age or older. (3/99)

The reason for this is largely historical — back when the pertussis vaccine was using whole-cell organisms (DTP), rather than acellular components (DTaP), there were a large number of vaccine-related local or systemic reactions. Combined with the fact that pertussis rarely causes more than an annoyance to older children and adults (e.g., it’s not fatal), vaccination past the age of 6 was not considered necessary.

Now that the vaccine is acellular, a whole new round of studies are looking at its use in adults; for the most part, they show that the vaccines are safe. In order to make it into practice guidelines, though, it will also have to be shown that pertussis is a problem for adults. (Of course, it’s likely that even without this evidence, at some point it will be standard practice for pediatricians to get the vaccine, just as it’s common for any hospital-based worker to get a full hepatitis B series.)

• Posted by: Jason Levine on Sep 30, 2000, 11:08 PM
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