Worst measles epidemic in a decade–Thanks Generation Rescue!

As some of you may have noticed, the nonexistent controversy over whether or not vaccines cause or contribute to autism (They don’t) has pretty much become the most common theme on this blog, well above what is probably my second most common theme: Creationism/Intelligent Design. the nonexistent controversy over whether or not Evolution is true (It is). Well, that’s because it’s fast becoming the largest medical pseudoscience of our time and with almost daily news stories on it, it’s almost impossible for anyone who follows the news to avoid the topic. And incidentally it also draws a lot of traffic to this blog. Many of my most visited blogs have been those addressing this subject. Let’s face it; this autism “debate” is as sexy a news topic today as Global Warming.

This one comes from my friend, Brian: Vaccine refusals fuel jump in measles outbreaks: cases at highest level in a decade; many sparked by home-schooled kids.

For a MSNBC video that I can’t embed for some reason, go here:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23782891#23782891

Of course we’ve known for a while about the measles epidemic. And those of us who form conclusions based on evidence and reason instead of “mommy instinct” knew this problem was going to inevitably get much larger. Fortunately, unlike many other countries there have still been no recent measles-related deaths in the United States. That’s largely due to our superior medical facilities, still possibly the best in the world, unlike our shoddy healthcare system because a bunch of rich people don’t like the thought of waiting on lines. But that’s another issue.

Another major factor that has prevented measles epidemics in the past and measles-related deaths in this country has been herd immunity, which Wikipedia excellently defines as:

Herd immunity (or community immunity) describes a type of immunity that occurs when the vaccination of a portion of the population (or herd) provides protection to unvaccinated individuals.[1] Herd immunity theory proposes that, in diseases passed from person-to-person, it is more difficult to maintain a chain of infection when large numbers of a population are immune. The more immune individuals present in a population, the lower the likelihood that a susceptible person will come into contact with an infected individual

This is one of the main reasons why we keep the unvaccinated out of our public schools, to protect the kids from the children of stupid parents. So it’s no surprise that it’s mostly hitting the home-schooled child population, which in this country pretty much means children of crazy religious and anti-scientific parents:

In a way vaccines are suffering from having been too successful. Having all but defeated measles, mumps, influenza, and polio among many others, humanity has seen an unprecedented rise in our lifespans (unlike alternative medicine, which hasn’t defeated anything). And since my father had polio it’s safe to say I probably would have never existed if it weren’t for vaccines. In fact, most of us owe our lives to vaccines in one way or another.

That’s why now that anti-scientific superstitious fears of vaccines have become ubiquitous it’s safe to conclude that this will inevitably lead to demonstrable harm. And when that harm comes we’ll fortunately know who’s largely to blame, misguided false prophets like Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, J.B. Handley, David Kirby, Kim Stagliano, Dan Olmsted, Barbara Loe Fisher, Dr. Jay Gordon, Dr. Rashid Buttar, who have campaigned tirelessly against one of humanity’s best weapons for fighting disease because they couldn’t be bothered with actually studying the science…or rather because they didn’t care what the evidence said. Without wishing to be a doom-sayer or fear-monger, I’d say it’s only a matter of time now before children start dying from easily preventable diseases like the measles in this country. And that’s reason to be very, very concerned about this issue.

Here’s Orac’s response to this news.

The MSNBC site also included these helpful related links:

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7 Responses to Worst measles epidemic in a decade–Thanks Generation Rescue!

  1. mjr256 says:

    Update: Just wanted to leave a link to Steven Novella’s blog today about this news story. It’s funny that he says basically the same things I did…but with more information on the statistics: http://www.theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=363#more-363

  2. Robyne Rohde says:

    And who died and made you the all and knowing wizard of autism? What a load of crap. Sir, you haven’t a clue as to what you are talking about. So sad, so very sad.

    There are NO independent studies that conclude no causal link between vaccines (thimerosal) and autism. Each and every study has been bought and paid for by the CDC, FDA, and/or the very organizations who stand to profit from the sale of these vaccines.

    In the meantime we have a real epidemic in our country …..about 1.5 million children with autism.

  3. mjr256 says:

    Autism is not a fatal disorder but I can present at least 3 children who have died and whose deaths made me be better informed of this issue: Katie McCarron (age 3), Abubakar Tariq Nadama (age 5), and Jack Piper (age 5). http://whatstheharm.net/autismdenial.html

    Further, if you follow the news or read this very blog there’s quite a lot of people who who have become sick and as I stated in the blog, people will inevitably start to die if this crisis isn’t resolved quickly.

    But I never claimed to be “the all and knowing wizard of autism,” whatevre the hell that means. I simply research the scientific data and use that data to make evidence-based conclusions. I’m afraid I don’t have “mommy instinct” to fall back on. I have to turn to my sister, the mother of an autistic child, for that. Concordantly, I think the constant coverage I give to this issue on this blog suggests I have at least a little knowledge in this area, though I must admit to not being a scientist myself. I’ve presented tons of expert sources to back up my position in this blog and present some of the evidence for my position in numerous other blogs, which I invite you to look at. But so far you’ve presented no evidence of your own to back up your position or sources of any kind, only ad hominem attacks on my character. You haven’t even made an argument; you just attacked me as a person and said my position is stupid. Well I’m sorry you feel that way but if the evidence doesn’t support your predetermined conclusions that’s too fucking bad. Get over it.

    Even if I hypothetically didn’t know what I was talking about on this issue the evidence of a claim stand or fall on their own merits. I am merely supporting the findings of the overwhelming consensus of scientists, not simply because they’re alleged “experts” but because both THEY DO KNOW WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT and they have very good reasons for holding the position that they do.

    “There are NO independent studies that conclude no causal link between vaccines (thimerosal) and autism.” –BULLSHIT! Accusing public servants is a audacious charge, so unless you’re prepared to back it up with mountains of irrefutable proof, this is an red herring argument. Someone’s got to pay for studies and I don’t see you coughing up the cash to do it. Of course you’re entirely ignoring the studies from Scandinavia and Canada, neither of which the CDC and the FDA had anything to do with whatsoever. So you’re falt-out WRONG on this one.

    Here are some facts for you. Such small traces of Thimerosal in vaccines have been scientifically proven to have no link to autism or serious negative side effects. Prior to the U.S. purge of Thimerosal in 2002, in the late 90’s Scandinavia and Canada both removed Thimerosal from the majority of their vaccines too. Since both of these purges, the epic fail of the anti-vaccine movement has been that there has been no significant reduction of autism. And in California, the rate has even increased since 2002. This leads rational scientific minds to only one possible conclusion: VACCINES NEITHER CAUSE NOR CONTRIBUTE TO AUTISM!

    Even if you were to argue that vaccines were only one of several causes/contributors to autism or that autism is the result of “too much too soon”, your hypothesis is still sunk as again we would expect to have seen a dramatic decrease in the rate of autism after the rather dramatic reduction of Thimerosal in vaccines. THAT HASN’T HAPPENED! This leads us to another rather definitive conclusion: either vaccines are not responsible for autism or they play such a minor role in autism (since such a dramatic reduction in Thimerosal showed no significant change) as to make the whole “debate” over Thimerosal unproductive, impractical, and just simply a waste of time, effort, and money.

    Indeed, autism is a major problem in our country, one that needs to be made a priority. But throwing our research time and money at a dead-end instead of exploring avenues that have some hope of actually baring fruit when we already know better is reprehensible.

    And lastly, I should warn you that there’s Vitamin C in oranges. Vitamin C has been proven dangerous in large doses so keep it away from your kids. If you’re a rational person who understands why this is a absurd warning, you have no excuse not to recognize why your own position on vaccines is equally absurd.

    Again, please read the quotes and look at the source links listed in this blog for more information.

  4. My friend on Orkut shared this link with me and I’m not dissapointed that I came here.

  5. Alicia says:

    Excellent blog and explanations! Loved your analogy of the oranges and Vitamin C. By the way, I am both a Christian, and product of homeschooling (my 99.5th percentile on my SAT and ACT is proof of that) and I am a VEHEMENT supporter of vaccines. For me and most Christians I know, our belief does not stand in the way of trusting scientific facts to make important decisions. Since a majority of Americans affiliate themselves with Christianity or other religions, I would recommend that you avoid bashing people of faith if you are looking to convince us of the importance of vaccination. Just a thought. :)

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