How would I go about writing a "Letter to the Editor" Informing him of the possible Health Issue/Problem of Pertussis?  Letters to the editor are most frequently associated with newspapers and...

How would I go about writing a "Letter to the Editor" Informing him of the possible Health Issue/Problem of Pertussis? 

Letters to the editor are most frequently associated with newspapers and magazines. Please choose a newspaper or magazine to send your letter to. Letters should not exceed 500 words in length and must be signed by the letter writer, include an address and include your major points within the first few paragraphs.

Asked on by bila2011

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Different approaches can be taken when writing a letter to the editor about the health problem of Pertussis.  I think that one direct approach would be to identify a three paragraph format. The first paragraph would be an opening to articulate the nature of the problem.  This opening might include details such as its impact: "In 2012, 48,277 cases of pertussis (whooping cough) were reported in the U.S., but many more go undiagnosed and unreported. This is the most number of cases reported in the U.S. since 1955 when 62,786 cases were reported." This would be an opening to indicate that the problem must be addressed in a type of "call to action."  

In the next paragraph, there might be some discussion as to the pervasive effect of the problem ("Pertussis can cause serious illness in infants, children and adults and can even be life-threatening, especially in infants") as well as how the disease infects individuals.  With a worldwide reach of almost 200,000 deaths, there is a significant need to take action.  In this part of the letter, you might talk about how there is a vaccination for Pertussis that has proven to be very effective in addressing the problem.  Over time, the use of the vaccination has demonstrated tangible results: "The most effective way to prevent pertussis is through vaccination with DTaP for infants and children and with Tdap for preteens, teens and adults — protection from the childhood vaccine fades over time."  The need to vaccinate children from Pertussis is essential.

Given how recent trends seem to look at vaccinations in a not-so-favorable light, your letter can close with a reminder that if contracted, Pertussis is not something to take lightly.  The hospitalization of infants as well as the suffering that pertussis causes are elements that would justify the use of a vaccine.  I think that the letter to the editor should end with this call to action.  Most letters to editors are statements of passion that impart opinions or views that must be shared with others in order to raise awareness.  A letter that identifies a problem, details the extent of the health issue, and suggests a path for change or a call to action can generate individual and social understanding.  It is in this light that I think letters to the editor can be effective tools of communication.

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