In California, an outbreak of whooping cough — a bacterial infection that results in fits of coughing — has reached epidemic propotions. Five infants, all of them Latino, have died this year. California health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, in Colorado, an outbreak of meningitis has killed two Fort Collins residents. The two diseases aren't connected, but their appearance is raising questions about whether we've become complacent about getting vaccinations — or whether lack of access to health care is to blame.
Dr. Richard Wenzel is the former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases. Dr. Wenzel is currently a professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. He says that complacency is a factor, but so is a lack of information and access in immigrant communities.