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Medicine Science

Measles Resurgent Due To Fear of Vaccination 668

florescent_beige writes "In the September Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Gregory Poland, M.D. writes that 'More than 150 cases of measles have been reported in the United States already this year and there have been similar outbreaks in Europe, a sign the disease is making an alarming comeback (abstract). The reappearance of the potentially deadly virus is the result of unfounded fears about a link between the measles shot and autism that have turned some parents against childhood vaccination.'" This follows the recent release of a massive review of studies into the side effects of vaccination, summarized here by Nature, which did not find convincing support for the idea that MMR shots caused autism.
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Measles Resurgent Due To Fear of Vaccination

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  • It's a shame... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow ( 21281 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:22AM (#37263260)

    Unfortunately, it's not only those who refuse vaccination that end up at risk.

    • Re:It's a shame... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by uncanny ( 954868 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:23AM (#37263268)
      Really, the ones who refused the vaccinations probably got vaccinated when they were kids. But they are making the decision to put their kids lives at risk
      • by Anne_Nonymous ( 313852 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:36AM (#37263376) Homepage Journal

        So you're saying the vaccine makes people stupid?

        • I don't think the vaccine had much to do with it; but the end result is still the same.
        • Re:It's a shame... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:44AM (#37263444)

          No, it just helped the stupid ones survive. Science has killed natural selection.

          • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:00AM (#37263584) Homepage Journal

            Science has killed natural selection.

            That's natural selection's fault. It should have adapted.

    • Re:It's a shame... (Score:5, Informative)

      by digitrev ( 989335 ) <> on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:25AM (#37263282) Homepage
      Yeah. My friend's brother has an allergy to the vaccine, and his health relies on herd immunity. When idiots like these (and my one uncle; I don't really talk to him anymore) refuse to vaccinate their kids, my friend's brother is the one most likely to get hurt by this.
      • Re:It's a shame... (Score:4, Informative)

        by FriendlyPrimate ( 461389 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:49AM (#37264108)

        Yeah. My friend's brother has an allergy to the vaccine, and his health relies on herd immunity. When idiots like these (and my one uncle; I don't really talk to him anymore) refuse to vaccinate their kids, my friend's brother is the one most likely to get hurt by this.

        Herd immunity protects more than just people like your brother who cannot take the vaccine. The fact is that vaccines are not 100% effective. Herd immunity protects those who took the vaccine but for whom it was not effective. So people refusing to be vaccinated are not just a danger to themselves, but also potentially to anybody who HAS taken the vaccine.

        For example, if you got your MMR vaccine before 1990, then there's a 5-10% chance that you're not actually protected from Measles.

  • by Mike Mentalist ( 544984 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:22AM (#37263262) Homepage
    Stick to getting to your tits out please and leave the science to the ugly people.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DedTV ( 1652495 )
      Obviously, it's the act of having someone film you while naked that causes an increase in your risk for giving birth to an autistic child.
      My science proving this fact is as sound as that used by those who claim immunizations has anything to do with it.
  • This kind of fear is akin to the fear of oxygen and it's fueled by the fear of science by the superstitious.

    • by rednip ( 186217 )
      It's the reactionary media which sometimes gets board with straight politics and delve into vaccine fear to mix up the programming some.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:25AM (#37263286) Journal
    The MMR vaccine has not shown signs of causing neurological problems; but Measles, in the not-as-rare-as-one-might-like cases where it progresses to include Encephalitis, certainly has...
  • And thus we see natural selection at work once again.

    • Unfortunately that would only be the case if refusing the vaccines removed them from the gene pool, but unfortunately it doesn't. Instead if exposes people who cannot have the vaccine due to allergies, immune system deficiencies etc. Not to mention the increased risk that in an environment where most people are immune to infection but some people are not there can be increased chance of it mutating and becoming more virulent or even potentially being able to work around the existing immunities.

    • Except that te parents who chose not to vaccinate their kids will not get it because their parents weren't nutjobs.

      Or kids allergic to the vaccination will get it because herd immunity is lower.

      Its not like that at all.

    • Re:Darwin (Score:4, Informative)

      by digitrev ( 989335 ) <> on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:40AM (#37263418) Homepage
      I'm sick of hearing this shit. People die because of this. And not just the anti-vaxxers' kids, but people who, for one reason or another, don't or can't develop the immunity, despite getting the vaccination. Or people who can't get the vaccination.
  • It is well documented [] that the measles cures blindness, so I can only congratulate the orchestrators of this anti-vaccine campaign for having the vision to improve America's public health in such a manner.

  • by Metiu ( 14532 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:31AM (#37263328)

    This year my wife mysteriously got measles (in Italy). She hadn't been vaccinated because when we were young the vaccine was not available. BUT our youngest child got it, too, because he was at the time younger than the age at which you get the shot.

    I don't tell you the trouble of having a diagnosis, since the disease is so uncommon today, that after two visits, my wife finally diagnosed it herself on wikipedia (sic). And the trouble of telling all the authorities, which needed to find the lost protocols for such an infection.

    To sum it up: the studies linking the shot with autism were done by an UK professor, who has been on trial for telling false results to help his own company [].
    When you don't get the shot and you are healthy, you're just selfishly exploiting the fact that most of "other people" will get the shot and you will be protected. BUT measles IS dangerous, and some people won't have your choice, because they are too young or too unhealthy to get that shot. They will risk severe damages by the disease, so PLEASE don't be a wimp and kindly get vaccinated.

    • All I can say is this. 1) I am sorry about your wife and child and I hope they have recovered well. 2) I am glad that I got an MMR booster in college. I was going to go to Venezuela to do volunteer work and the CDC had a whole list of shots they required. They recommended (as optional) an MMR booster. My doctor was going to pass on it, but I gave him a bad time. Turns out, the Venezuelans were having a bit of a problem with the measels at the time. So I got it, and I Am glad. I would hate to get som
    • by rjstanford ( 69735 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:46AM (#37264080) Homepage Journal

      Yup, Measles is nasty. I was one of the few thousand people who got it in the last resurgence back in '91, despite having had the shots, because my immune system was compromised due to CMV mononucleosis at the time. Nasty, nasty stuff - as in a 10 day hospital stay nasty, with sustained high fever. "Luckily" I only remember a couple of days of it. More luckily my doctor got me to the hospital in time (it only took probably 4-5 hours from the time I started showing spots to the beginning of the time I lost awareness of my surroundings).

      Please, everyone, get your shots and have your dependents vaccinated too. Its not just their lives you might be saving.

  • An episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit says it, and says it well. Even presuming the cases of vacination causing autism were not bullshit, it'd still be worse to not vaccinate all our kids - more would end up dead than would end up autistic.

    Of course, people don't see it that way, they just like their knee-jerk responses. I literally can not believe that people actually still refer to something so discredited. People need to spend 5 seconds doing some goddamn research on an issue - and not just looking for things to confirm what they think.

    I blame the rise of the schooling system going all 'no opinion can be wrong' - it's such obvious crap, and yet people seem to believe it. I can say it's my opinion the sky is blue all day long, it doesn't make it true. Sure, some opinions - ones of taste, can not be wrong, as they are something inherant to you, but too many parents, when you try and explain that there is no reason to fear vaccinations, will just refuse to listen, tell you to stop 'telling them what to do with their children' and it's 'their opinion' that the vaccines are bad. It's such rubbish. Not only that, but people have somehow managed to grow up seeing all discussion as someone else trying to force you onto their side. The point of discussion is to try and see where the differences in your opinion are - if the other person can convince you that you are wrong, that's excellent - you have just gained something. Likewise if you can show them. Instead, people just refuse to listen to the other side of an argument.

    People need to learn that being wrong isn't something bad - and that you sure as hell do not have a right to never be wrong. I get it, these parents want to look after their kids - and who can blame them for that? What I can blame them for is not actually caring enough to check what is actually good for them.

    • by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:47AM (#37263468) Journal

      People need to spend 5 seconds doing some goddamn research on an issue

      You're asking too much here.

      A lot of people just can't understand the result of their search, or won't realize they should do such a search, or cannot sort through the quantity of information available (lots of dross, even in good science). They need to be told, clearly and unequivocally, what's the recommended thing to do in issues involving science/medicine/etc. Any imbecile who publicly tells them to do demonstrably harmful things should be taken to task, and held culpable to the extent which can be justified.

      • They need to be told, clearly and unequivocally, what's the recommended thing to do in issues involving science/medicine/etc

        Well, they have been. They've been told that vaccines are harmful, and they shouldn't give them to their kids. If we had an educated population used to questioning things and doing research themselves, then ignorant demagogues wouldn't be able to get such traction.

    • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @09:52AM (#37264134) Homepage

      I think one of the problems is that vaccinations are *too* successful. Parents today (and that includes me and my wife) have never seen the ravages of Measles, Whooping Cough, Polio and the like. We have it easy because we were vaccinated when we were young. Then someone claims vaccines cause bad, scary things which plants doubt in their minds so they do a risk evaluation in their head. They know autism is bad. They probably have seen someone with autism. They have probably never seen someone with measles or whooping cough, though. Their brain tries to come up with a "bad disease" and they think of the flu. So would a lifetime of autism be worse than a week of fever and coughing? Sure. So skip the vaccines.

      Problem is that their risk assessment is highly flawed. If they knew the real risks of the diseases, they'd know that this isn't "fever and coughing for a week" but coughing until you get broken ribs, hospitalization, paralysis, blindness, and death (to name a few things the diseases can cause). And these are far more common than any hypothetical vaccine-autism link. I'd much rather have my child turn out to be autistic than turn out to be dead. (As my younger son goes in for 2 vaccines today.)

  • by Constantin ( 765902 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:46AM (#37263462)

    .... there are risks associated with any medical procedure, including vaccinations. But vaccinations are among the safest things one can do for oneself and the community. The benefits far outweigh the risks, the science is clear on that. Most of the folk that oppose vaccinations do so out of unfounded fears, i.e. gut reactions, not rational reflection of the facts. Instead, they are swayed by the likes of Ms. McCarthy or Mr. Wakefield that there is some sort of giant medical conspiracy. It is precisely this sort of ignorance why more diseases like polio have not gone the way of smallpox, i.e. been eradicated in the wild. In the case of polio, it's thanks to nutty preachers in the affected remaining hotspots making similarly dreary claims re: the polio vaccine.

    I attribute the willingness of parents to take a chance with herd immunity to the fact that they haven't themselves seen the effects of polio, whooping cough, etc. in the community around them. There is a reason that in years past people gladly lined up for polio vaccinations - they'd seen the impact, could better trade off the miniscule risk (especially with the post-Cutter-incident monitoring) with the benefits of not having dead, disfigured, or severely disabled children. Indeed, one of the biggest impacts of vaccination programs is the serious reduction in schools for the deaf, dumb, and blind.

    Ironically, having rejected comparatively perfectly safe vaccination options, parents seem to have no issues with then putting all the interventionist methods to use to save their children if they do fall sick. I.e. take them to the hospital, operate, perform lots of heroic work to save the child... all of which would not have been necessary if they hadn't blindly followed quacks advice re: vaccinations. And that's what amazes me, the quacks of the world who promote anti-vaccination messages have yet to prove any causal link between MMR and/or thimerosal with autism, yet they stick to this piece of faith, not unlike the folk who will follow cult religions. It's pity for the kids, they have no one looking out for their interests.

    Last but not least, what bothers me most about refusing vaccinations is that there will always be some members of the community that have to rely on herd immunity because their own immune systems are not fully functional, they are undergoing immuno-suppressing therapy, or they are allergic to some of the proteins inherent in the current manufacturing processes for most vaccines. Additionally, no vaccine is 100% effective - so depending on the ability of the virus or bacteria to spread through the community, a very high immunization rate is required to protect everyone in the herd, immunized or not.

    I hope that some day the likes of Ms. McCarthy or Mr. Wakefield will own up to their hubris, character assassination, innuendo, etc. and apologize to the world not only for disrupting one of the most successful medical programs of our times, but also for killing, disfiguring, and traumatizing gaggles of children needlessly with their panic-mongering. This is not unlike shouting "Fire" in a crowded theatre - especially in the case of Mr. Wakefield where key aspects of his 'research' were later found to be faked, massive conflicts of interest were not disclosed, and interpretations were drawn without the benefit of facts.

    For anyone interested in the subject, I highly recommend the books written by Dr. Offit on the matter, especially "Autisms False Prophets", and "Deadly Choices". He details the characters of the anti-vaccination movements quite nicely and shows in reference after reference what the real impacts of vaccine refusal are.

    • And that's what amazes me, the quacks of the world who promote anti-vaccination messages have yet to prove any causal link between MMR and/or thimerosal with autism, yet they stick to this piece of faith, not unlike the folk who will follow cult religions.

      It's worse than that. They change their story each time they are proven wrong. Each time they move the goalposts, their followers nod their heads and agree, never questioning why the story has changed for the 10th time. Wakefield and McCarthy said it, s

  • by Denogh ( 2024280 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:50AM (#37263502)
    would take their children to get Chiropractic. Big pharma wants you all to get vaccinated with their live specimens of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella viruses so your body can learn to deal with these diseases, but it already knows how. It's just being prevented from doing so by poor alignment, non-organic foods, subluxation, voodoo, bad mojo and pesticides.

    Chiropractic can save lives, just like homeopathy, acupuncture and faith-healing.
    • by edremy ( 36408 )
      Bah, chiropractic practice is garbage.

      The only proper way to prevent the spread of measles is to sacrifice a white goat to the great Jo'Bu under a full moon with a silver knife. Chiropractic, homeopathy and the like are just being pushed by big Alternative Medicine to distract you from the real truth.

    • Dr. Bob, is that you?
  • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @08:59AM (#37263578)
    This isn't helped by the media playing people fear of risk. You all remember the type of stats they gave out during the Fukushima nuclear power plant break down. Radiation levels are 500% above normal. People watch that sensationalism and panic. At no point did they demand to know a comparative. "Oh, the same as smoking 50 packs of high tar over a year" or something similar. You get the point.

    In the UK a few years back. They put out a story telling women that a type of birth control pill increased their risk of getting cancer. Many women came off the pill immediately and fell pregnant as a result. A few months later they had a follow up story with a Doctor. They asked him about the risk of the drug and what was being done. They then asked his reaction to the pregnancies (which i don't think he was aware of) by the presenter. His reaction was classic a mix of amused bewilderment and a condescending - You do realise that pregnancy is incredibly more dangerous than any risk of cancer this drug ever posed. . ..
    I think what he wanted to say was "Are you all fucking idiots?"
  • by debrain ( 29228 ) on Wednesday August 31, 2011 @10:25AM (#37264444) Journal

    I don't see any mention of the Jenny McCarthy body count [] yet. It's a well sourced web-site on the topic.

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