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Medicine

Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination 254

TuringTest writes: A six-year-old child was admitted to a hospital in Barcelona and diagnosed with diphtheria, which hasn't occurred in Spain since 1986 and was largely unheard of in western Europe. The boy had not been vaccinated despite the vaccine being available in free vaccination programs. Spanish general health secretary called anti-vaccination campaigns "irresponsible" and said: "The right to vaccination is for children, not for the parents to decide." The child is in critical condition, though he's now being treated with a serum expressly brought from Russia through an emergency procedure.
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Diphtheria Returns To Spain For Lack of Vaccination

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  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @09:40AM (#49830265) Homepage Journal

    ... so why are you listening to medical advice from him?

    A Public Service Announcement from Get Your Brats Immunized

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @09:44AM (#49830297)

    I strongly think that parents who elect to not vaccinate their children (absent a documented medical condition preventing safe vaccination) should be liable for child endangerment [wikipedia.org]. This is reckless behavior that is reasonably likely to result in bodily harm to another human being. This is a public safety issue with a clear and benign and effective solution. Those who opt out should be liable for the consequences of their actions.

    • by wiggles ( 30088 )

      That was the topic of a Law & Order SVU a couple weeks ago.

    • I strongly think that parents who elect to not vaccinate their children (absent a documented medical condition preventing safe vaccination) should be liable for child endangerment [wikipedia.org]. This is reckless behavior that is reasonably likely to result in bodily harm to another human being. This is a public safety issue with a clear and benign and effective solution. Those who opt out should be liable for the consequences of their actions.

      Good luck going against religious beliefs that curtail vaccinations. That "endangerment" has one hell of an establishment in the community.

      • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @10:21AM (#49830663)

        Good luck going against religious beliefs that curtail vaccinations. That "endangerment" has one hell of an establishment in the community.

        Several states in the US have done so successfully. No reason why more couldn't. You do have a fair point though. It's amazing how much nonsense we put up with in the name of "respecting religious rights" even when they are clearly crazy and/or self destructive.

      • I strongly think that parents who elect to not vaccinate their children (absent a documented medical condition preventing safe vaccination) should be liable for child endangerment [wikipedia.org]. This is reckless behavior that is reasonably likely to result in bodily harm to another human being. This is a public safety issue with a clear and benign and effective solution. Those who opt out should be liable for the consequences of their actions.

        Good luck going against religious beliefs that curtail vaccinations. That "endangerment" has one hell of an establishment in the community.

        There is already precedence in court (US, Canada, and abroad) overruling the objections of Jehova's Witness parents with regard to blood transfusions. A quick Altavista will reveal many cases, as recently as this year (in favor of the child, not the parents). It's not inconceivable that these ruling could extend to cover vaccines as well, if someone (or agency) were to actually bring a lawsuit against the irresponsible parent.

    • No, don't touch the touch nor the child. By that I mean it was the choice of the parent(s) to not get their children vaccinated, it should not be up to the state (i.e. taxpayers) to foot the bill to take care of the kid.

      Let nature take its course since that is what the parents wanted. If the kid survives they got lucky. If the kid survives but is disabled, the parents take care of everything. If they die that's one less we have to worry about and the parents will have to live with their decision for the

      • Let nature take its course since that is what the parents wanted.

        Stupid argument because the consequences go beyond the idiots who avoid getting vaccinated. There are people cannot get vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons. There are people who are too young for a particular vaccine. No vaccine is 100% effective either and sometimes the protection disappears over time. By not getting vaccinated people are not only endangering their own family but the families of others.

      • it should not be up to the state (i.e. taxpayers) to foot the bill to take care of the kid.

        Man, do I hate these abstract arguments with a passion.

        I'll simplify your argument for you: "I'm perfectly fine with innocent children suffering and dying."

        You're not punishing parents, you're punishing kids.

        • by stdarg ( 456557 )

          For someone who hates abstract arguments, you didn't waste any time abstracting the issue to "children suffering and dying."

          And come on.. be honest.. aren't you perfectly fine with innocent children suffering and dying? I think you must be, given that you're wasting your time here on slashdot instead of saving innocent children.

        • No, I'm not punishing anyone. The parents are the ones doing the punishing.

          Unless of course you're suggesting it's up to everyone to watch out for everyone else in which case I get to yank cigarettes out of people's mouths since I'm footing their medical bills, get to post their faces at bars and liquor stores so the alcoholics can't but more and tie drug users down until they detox since, again, I'm the one footing their insurance and medical bills.

          Or are you saying people should be forced to pay for the

    • I strongly think that parents who elect to not vaccinate their children (absent a documented medical condition preventing safe vaccination) should be liable for child endangerment [wikipedia.org]. This is reckless behavior that is reasonably likely to result in bodily harm to another human being. This is a public safety issue with a clear and benign and effective solution. Those who opt out should be liable for the consequences of their actions.

      Would you support also eliminating the immunity from liability that has been granted to pharmaceutical companies for vaccines? Would you include mandates for things like Gardasil even for boys (which Merck & Co have been promoting)? Who do you hold responsible when a mandated vaccine proves to be defective (like happened with RotaShield [cdc.gov]), or has manufacturing issues that causes problems, which happens with vaccines more than any other drug [gbiresearch.com]). If a parent gets a vaccine for their child that causes a pr

  • The only way I even know the name is because George Bailey saved the pharmacist from poisoning a kid with it in "It's a Wonderful Life." And the last recorded case of it in Europe was decades ago. So did it go hide out for a while in Africa or something?

    • Maybe the virus has access to a NotTardis.

    • So did it go hide out for a while in Africa or something?

      Completely eradicating a pathogen from the globe is absurdly difficult. So far as I know we've only actually managed to do it once for a pathogen in the wild (smallpox) and even then we still have small stores of it in bio-weapons labs. You have to basically vaccinate the entire human population which is a logistical nightmare to accomplish. It's not too hard in wealthier countries with robust healthcare systems but in poor remote areas with low levels of education it can be extremely difficult to get to

      • I'm skeptical it can even be done at all. So it's said that smallpox is gone. But.. it's just too big of a big world.

        Besides the know laboratories there has to be somewhere that some viri have somehow managed to be preserved. Maybe a vial that has long since lost it's label, now stuck in an attic or basement waiting to be sold with a pile of antiques. Maybe it's in a body that has managed to be burried in just the perfect environment to preserve it. Maybe it's in a stain on some old antique, totally not o

        • Viruses generally are not as stable as your story posits. Spores maybe, but that's a whole different thing.
          • Most will die quickly without a host to reproduce in. I do know that.

            But... a small number will not. I certainly don't believe that every place a smallpox victim has been or every gravesite where one was buried still contains viri. But there were a lot of hosts before it was 'exterminated'. I do think it's probably out there somewhere.

        • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
          While you could well be right, every year that passes would seem to make it less likely that smallpox is going to make a comeback (at least from natural reservoirs).
          • no other natural reservoirs. this thing has been killing us for what, 12 millenia. They're pretty specific to the human animal.

        • Smallpox is still maintained in US and Russian laboratories. It was declared eradicated in 1980. The WHO wanted the last of the laboratory samples destroyed, but it has so far been delayed [nytimes.com]. Interesting history in that link.

    • Diphtheria is a bacteria, not a virus. When it isn't in people it can just go live in the environment.
      • I don't think it survives in the environment, and it doesn't seem to have any animal hosts. There are places in the world where it's endemic and somewhat common, and it can live in the pharynx of vaccinated or asymptomatic humans. So it probably comes into a country from an immigrant or traveler with some frequency, it just doesn't spread because of vaccination.

        Then there's this kid.

        • by jstomel ( 985001 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @11:23AM (#49831275)

          I don't think it survives in the environment, and it doesn't seem to have any animal hosts. There are places in the world where it's endemic and somewhat common, and it can live in the pharynx of vaccinated or asymptomatic humans. So it probably comes into a country from an immigrant or traveler with some frequency, it just doesn't spread because of vaccination.

          Then there's this kid.

          From microbewiki (emphasis added): "C. diphtheriae is a Gram-positive, aerobic, nonmotile, toxin-producing, rod-shaped bacteria belonging to the order Actinomycetales, which are typically found in soil, but also have pathogenic members such as streptomyces and mycobacteria."

    • by IcyWolfy ( 514669 ) on Wednesday June 03, 2015 @11:05AM (#49831079) Homepage

      The Diphtheria vaccine doesn't prevent infection, it only immunizes against the effects of the toxin the bacteria produce.

      Thus, it's still around and kicking, it just doesn't kill people anymore as most people can fight off the infection on their own without the toxin wreaking havoc on their body. And most people won't even notice anything other than "flu-like symptoms" as all the effects of Diptheria are caused by the toxin, rather than the presence of the bacterial infection.

      The poor kid probably just got coughed on, or touched something and then cross-contaminated something he put in his mouth.

      • by jandrese ( 485 )

        The Diphtheria vaccine doesn't prevent infection, it only immunizes against the effects of the toxin the bacteria produce.

        That's not how vaccines work.

        • I actually don't know much about the diphtheria vaccine and am feeling too lazy to look it up, but yes, some vaccines only have you make antibodies that inactivate the bacterial toxins, which lets you stay alive long enough for the rest of your immune system to clear the bacteria via more conventional means. This makes extra sense in circumstances where the toxin is highly conserved but the bacterial cell wall is highly variable.
    • seems to be in Asia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D... [wikipedia.org]

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      There are a quite a few pathogens that can exist outside of the human body and hence will never be exterminated. Some are deadly, like tetanus. For others, like the case at hand, the vaccination does not prevent the infection, but its grave effects.

      Not being vaccinated is asking for serious consequences, frequently including death.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      Many diseases have animal reservoirs they can keep a population in if there are no available human hosts around. Sometimes the animal is the preferred host and the human infections/deaths are a side effect. In cases like those, immunization alone won't eradicate the disease, not unless we figure out a way to start immunizing wild animals/insects. For diseases that are human specific like smallpox, there is a chance to eradicate the disease entirely with a global immunization campaign.

      That said, mass va
    • The only way I even know the name is because George Bailey saved the pharmacist from poisoning a kid with it in "It's a Wonderful Life." And the last recorded case of it in Europe was decades ago. So did it go hide out for a while in Africa or something?

      It's endemic in some populations; also: a bacteria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, not a virus, FWIW.

      Yes. There are large reservoirs of the bacteria in many North African countries, as well as Pakistan. What's only noted in a couple of places is that while the kid was "a resident of Olot (Girona)", the kids origin was as an adoption of an immigrant child.

      To see the reservoirs, here is the World Health Organization data on reported cases by country through 2014:

      http://apps.who.int/immunizati... [who.int]

      If you care, y

  • Move to your own island, where you mab be around others with your insights.

    Pass around those lollipops so your kids all get those diseases

    Avoid all modern medicine.

    And let Darwin take care of it all.

    p.s. Take Jenny McCarthy with you.

  • Curious if they vaccinate there next child. Its easy to sit above everyone when you have never seen the issue, because its been almost entirely eradicated, but at the turn of the 20th century people were ready to stand in line for the mere chance that they could prevent permanent disability or death from a number of childhood disease.

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