Though some have speculated that former Beverly Hills 90210 actress Tori Spelling, who has been quarantined in a Los Angeles hospital with severe coughing, might have enterovirus-D68 or even Ebola, the symptoms she has shown–especially coughing fits–are more consistent with whooping cough, or pertussis. That disease has exploded in California in recent months, as the wealthy and well-educated have refused pertussis vaccination.
In June, California declared a pertussis “epidemic.” Children are particularly vulnerable to the disease, and are known to die from it. Adults have far better survival rates but must often endure severe coughing and wheezing for weeks at a time. One cause of the spread in California is the anti-vaccination movement, which has caught on in West Los Angeles in particular, and which appeals to the “organic” set as a more “natural” approach.
The Hollywood Reporter conducted an extensive investigation and revealed in September that vaccination rates in Los Angeles have fallen to third-world levels, especially in the celebrity corridor from Malibu to Beverly Hills. The change has destroyed the “herd immunity” that once protected children.
As Breitbart News reported, Latino immigrants have higher rates of immunization and lower rates of pertussis than native-born Americans.
Though it is possible Spelling has contracted enterovirus, it is not usually associated–at least among adults–with coughing fits of the sort that have seen Spelling hospitalized. Though she has been reportedly confined in an “ebola-like” quarantine, that likely does not describe the actual conditions of her hospitalization. Cedars Sinai, the West L.A. where she is being treated, would be highly unlikely to handle an Ebola case directly.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the new ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak