Tag Archive: Measles

Feb 03 2015

The Anti-Vaxxer Hoax

In the last few years there have been increasing reports of outbreaks of childhood diseases that were thought to have been eradicated, or at least very rare occurring in UN-vaccinated migrant populations and third world countries. In the last few months, there have been outbreaks of pertussis and measles in cities across the US. This is troubling and the main cause appears to be a growing group of people who have fallen for a debunk premise that vaccines for these diseases were somehow linked to the rise in autism. The British doctor who wrote that paper has been prosecuted for fraud and has lost his license to even practice medicine. Let’s be very clear about these vaccines. They are safe and they work. There is no debate, or at least there shouldn’t be.

MSNBC’s “All In” host Chris Hayes is joined by Retro Report‘s Bonnie Bertram to trace the current anti-vaccine movement back to one debunked, discredited study published in 1998.

Yet, the myth persists and it is putting not only the children whose parents refuse to vaccinate them but everyone else. Now, right wing politicians who are vying for the 2016 presidential campaign have been pandering for the votes of these ignorant people. The hypocrisy of the politicians reeks:

The vaccination controversy is a twist on an old problem for the Republican Party: how to approach matters that have largely been settled among scientists but are not widely accepted by conservatives.

It is a dance Republican candidates often do when they hedge their answers about whether evolution should be taught in schools. It is what makes the fight over global warming such a liability for their party, and what led last year to a widely criticized response to the Ebola scare.

As concern spread about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, physicians criticized Republican lawmakers – including Mr. Christie – who called for strict quarantines of people who may have been exposed to the virus. In some cases, Republicans proposed banning people who had been to the hardest-hit West African countries from entering the United States, even though public health officials warned that would only make it more difficult to stop Ebola’s spread.

Yet, they think that it’s OK for parents not to vaccinate their children against diseases that are far more contagious and killed more than the the two people who contracted Ebola from Eric Duncan who died of the disease in Dallas.

There was one far right presidential hopeful that actually said something that made sense:

Ben Carson, a potential Republican presidential candidate, on Monday strongly backed vaccinations, splitting from two possible rivals who suggested parents should decide whether to immunize their children.

“Although I strongly believe in individual rights and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit, I also recognize that public health and public safety are extremely important in our society,” Carson, a retired pediatric neurosurgeon, told The Hill in a statement.

“Certain communicable diseases have been largely eradicated by immunization policies in this country and we should not allow those diseases to return by foregoing safe immunization programs, for philosophical, religious or other reasons when we have the means to eradicate them,” he added.

There should be few exemptions to getting vaccinated and those should only be for persons who have a medical contraindication to vaccination, not religion or some personal philosophy. The ignorant and dangerous anti-vaccination movement needs to be stopped and all children eligible for vaccines should get them, as soon as possible.

Mar 24 2014

Outbreak: Measles

In the last few weeks there has been a number of cases of measles reported in New York City.

As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed cases of measles in New York City has risen to 20 incidents, nine of which involve children.

The city’s health department announced the new total amid an investigation into whether the highly contagious disease was spread in several medical facilities after workers failed to properly identify and treat symptoms quickly.

The New York Times reports only three of the 11 infected adults had records proving they were vaccinated. Seven of the nine children were too young to be vaccinated. Following the wishes of their parents, the other two children had not been vaccinated.

In 2000, Measles was thought to have been nearly eradicated in the United States mostly due to federally funded childhood vaccination programs. But due to a debunked paper that fraudulently linked the measles vaccine to a rise in autism, vaccination rates have fallen. In the last year there has been an outbreak in Texas, linked to a church that encourage parents not to vaccinate their children and another in two orthodox Jewish communities in Brooklyn, NY that was directly linked parents not vaccinating their children.

If you think that just because you or child is healthy and that the body’s natural immune system protect you, you are wrong and may be deadly so:

Even in healthy individuals, it can lead to ear infection, diarrhea, pneumonia, miscarriage, brain inflammation and even death. It’s also extremely contagious, meaning that while a healthy individual might handle a case of measles with ease, she could pass it along unknowingly to infants, elderly people and people with compromised immune systems who may not fare so well. Measles can be spread through airborne respiratory droplets even two hours after an infected person has left the room, and infected persons can be contagious before the rash appears.

In the outbreaks last year, the CDC found that 82% of the cases occurred in unvaccinated persons, and of those, 79% said they deliberately shunned vaccination on “philosophical” grounds. Most of this is thanks to anti-vaccination truthers like celebrities Jenny McCarthy, Katie Couric and Kristen Cavallari and Jay Cutler.

MSNBC’s “All In” host Chris Hayes discussed the outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in the US, its link to refusing to vaccinate and why medicine is the locust for people’s conspiracy theories.

Measles is a completely preventable disease, as is pertussis (whooping cough). If you or children have not been vaccinated, you should see your doctor or local health clinic and do it immediately. While no vaccine is completely safe, the side effects are minimal and extremely rare. There are few medical reasons not to vaccinate. It is a matter of everyone’s health.