California Public Health has declared a Whooping Cough epidemic

California is being hit hard with a whooping cough epidemic, according to the state’s public health department, with 800 cases reported in the past two weeks alone…The agency says that there were 3,458 whooping cough cases reported between January 1 and June 10, well ahead of the number of cases reported for all of 2013.

This is a problem of “epidemic proportions,” the department said. And the number of actual cases may be even higher, because past studies have shown that for every case of whooping cough that is reported, there are 10 more that are not officially counted.

Whooping cough, known to doctors as pertussis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is caused by a bacterium known as Bordetella pertussis…The popular name for the disease comes from the whooping sound an infected person makes when gasping for breath after a coughing fit.

The bacteria spreads through coughing and sneezing. One person can infect up to 15 people nearby, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Typically symptoms appear an average of seven to 10 days after exposure.

Infants and young children are more vulnerable to the disease than other age groups. It can be particularly dangerous for babies. About half of the infants who get whooping cough end up in a hospital. Some cases are fatal.

That’s why the public health department in California is strongly urging people to make sure their vaccinations are up to date, especially if they’re pregnant. State health officials are working closely with schools and local health departments to spread the word.

“Unlike some other vaccine-preventable diseases like measles, neither vaccination nor illness from pertussis offers lifetime immunity,” Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “However, vaccination is still the best defense against the potentially fatal diseases.”

Nationally, more than 90% of children get the first three doses of the vaccine, but far fewer get the Tdap booster.

California has historically had higher vaccination rates than other states, but a recent study found large clusters of parents who did not vaccinate their children close to areas with a large number of whooping cough cases during the 2010 California outbreak.

The current outbreak is too new for scientists to know if there is a similar pattern.

We’re back to the usual choice of answers between stupid or ignorant. In states like California or here in New Mexico, we deal with large numbers of immigrants, legal or otherwise, who haven’t anymore understanding of vaccination than they do birth control or reproductive rights. That’s the ignorant portion.

Then, we must confront parents who read on the Internet or heard from equally unqualified sources that vaccination is what causes illness. They aren’t going to look up relevant statistics at the CDC or talk to a for-real doctor. Sorry, but, that’s stupid. That doesn’t even get you up to the 20th Century.

Your tax dollars at work: The FBI guide to acronyms and slang

They may be the most feared group of investigators in the world, but FBI agents still need a hand understanding internet slang like LOL and BRB, it has been revealed.

Agents who find themselves baffled by abbreviations on message boards or social media have an extensive guide to turn to, which has been released to the public under Freedom of Information laws.

The document – which is 83 pages long – includes 2,800 translations, from everyday terms such as LOL (‘laughing out loud’) and BRB (‘be right back’).

Any crack investigators left scratching their heads at 2DAY or L8R also have them helpfully parsed to ‘today’ and ‘later’, according to the document published by Muckrock.

But as well as the commonplace and the obvious, it also features lengthier and more exotic examples like PMYMHMMFSWGAD (‘Pardon me, you must have mistaken me for someone who gives a damn’) or EOTWAWKI (‘end of the world as we know it’).

Some seem particular appropriate to agents working in counter-intelligences, who may not be surprised to find their targets writing phrases like SIW (‘someone is watching’) and IKWYL (‘I know where you live’).

One particularly relevant – and worrying – entry is IITYWIMIWHTKY (‘If I tell you what it means I will have to kill you’).

The instructional forward notes — The list has about 2,800 entries you should find useful in your work – or for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren.

Now reflect for a moment on the fact the FBI [a] had to write a limited edition field manual to explain acronyms that you can look up online – and [b] classified it so the public didn’t have access to it. Cripes, I wonder just how much this little exercise in bureaucratic nonsense cost us?

Mitt Romney is Paul the Octopus for this year’s Republican primaries

Paul the Octopus — animal oracle of the 2010 World Cup — did not survive long enough to pick the winners in Brazil this year…No such tradition for paranormal prediction has caught on for American politics, and it seems imprudent to think it will during the midterms. Why rely on a lion or tiger or bear for your election predictions when you can conscript the prophesying skills of Mitt Romney? The former presidential candidate has been busy during the primary season, picking favorites in some of the most important party infighting of the year. And, about halfway through the midterms, all of his endorsements have led to victories at the polls, as other news organizations have noticed.

Last week, he endorsed Nevada state senator Mark Hutchison in the Nevada lieutenant governor primary — a race he won. One week earlier, Joni Ernst, whom he endorsed in the Senate primary in Iowa, and Neel Kashkari, whom he endorsed in the California governor race, both won. On May 20, Monica Wehby won the Republican primary after a Romney endorsement. Romney also picked winners in the North Carolina Senate race and House races in Idaho, Pennsylvania and California.

This is an example of correlation not equaling causation. These candidates aren’t winning because of Romney’s adapted Midas touch. He is just proving a knack for knowing what’s on voters’ minds — and the minds of those who spend money trying to influence voters. (The Chamber of Commerce’s winning primary picks this year closely follow Romney’s.) It’s a knack for choosing winners he’d like to cement before the 2016 Republican primaries finally roll around, if the tea leaves scattered around his GOP summit this weekend are to be believed.

NBC News reported on Friday that Romney told reporters, “As someone who has run and has served, I would like to be able to, if you will, push our party and our nominees toward the positions that I think are the most effective for the country.”

In other words, Romney is hoping that the party remembers his clairvoyance in a year or two…

Romney’s ability to pick general election winners, however, has yet to be tested — as does the Chamber of Commerce’s. According to the Sunlight Foundation, 6.9 percent of the money the Chamber spent in 2012 went to winning candidates…

Red State’s Erick Erickson wrote after Romney lost the 2012 election, “Just please, GOP, PLEASE — in four years let’s not go with the “he’s the most electable” argument. The most electable usually aren’t.”

The Republicans may yet decide to run the ghost of George Wallace. Why listen to an opportunist moderate when you can go all out with someone truly contemptible and bigoted.

Oh, the RedState dude? Last time around he hosted the campaign kickoff for Rick Perry. ‘Nuff said.

Why men don’t write advice columns

Dear Walter: I hope you can help me here. The other day, I set off for work in my Volvo 1800 leaving my husband in the house watching the TV as usual. I hadn’t gone more than a mile down the road when my engine conked out and the car shuddered to a halt. I walked back home to get my husband’s help. When I got home I couldn’t believe my eyes. He was in our bedroom with the neighbor lady. I am 32, my husband is 34, and we have been married for twelve years.

When I confronted him, he broke down and admitted that they had been having an affair for the past six months. I told him to stop or I would leave him.

He was let go from his job six months ago and he says he has been feeling increasingly depressed and worthless. I love him very much, but ever since I gave him the ultimatum he has become increasingly distant. He won’t go to counseling and I’m afraid I can’t get through to him anymore.

Can you please help?

Sincerely, Sheila

Dear Sheila: An 1800 stalling after being driven a short distance can be caused by a variety of faults with the engine. Start by checking that there is no debris in the fuel line. If it is clear, check the vacuum lines and hoses on the in-take manifold and also check all grounding wires. If none of these approaches solves the problem, it could be that the fuel pump itself is faulty, causing low delivery pressure to the carburetor float chamber.

I hope this helps

-Walter

Thanks, Ursarodinia