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More Measles Myths

Antivaxxers spread misinformation. This does not have to be the case – I can envision those who wish to function as watchdogs on the vaccine industry or prioritize personal freedom over government programs (even good ones), but who strive to be logical and evidence-based. The culture within the anti-vaccine movement, however, is not logical and evidence-based. Rather, they spread whatever misinformation supports their rather extreme ideology – that vaccines do not work and are dangerous.

Countering anti-vaccine misinformation can be almost a full time job. It is the proverbial game of whack-a-mole, especially in the social media age where old debunked anti-vaccine memes can resurface over and over again on Facebook or Twitter. The game is also rigged in that it is easier to spread fear with misinformation than to reassure with accurate information. Even if we address every anti-vaccine trope, parts of the public can be left with the vague sense that there is something dangerous about vaccines, or that the government is not playing entirely straight with us.

In any case, here is this week’s edition of whack the anti-vaccine mole. The particular varmint that popped its head up recently is the claim that 2-5% of children who receive the MMR vaccine (mumps-measles-rubella trivalent vaccine) contract measles from the vaccine. This specific claim was made on the realfoodeater blog (another thing you should know about the anti-vaccine community is the broad overlap with the natural, alternative medicine, and conspiracy subcultures). The blogger gave as a reference a conversation she had with an unnamed doctor at DeVos Children’s Hospital.

This, of course, is a huge problem with medical information on social media – much of it is second-hand information passed through non-experts, often through thick ideological filters. Can there be any truth to this particular claim?

The measles component of the MMR vaccine is a live attenuated virus. Some vaccines use only parts of organisms, some used whole killed organisms, and some use live attenuated viruses. A live virus vaccine does cause an actual infection, just a weakened one that the immune system should have no problem fighting off, resulting in lasting immunity without having to suffer from the full-blown illness.

Viruses are attenuated for such vaccines by culturing them in a non-human medium, in this case, chicken embryos. The virus essentially adapts to the non-human host and over time loses its adaptations to humans and so becomes less virulent. In the case of the attenuated measles virus, it replicates much more slowly in human hosts, giving the immune system time to gear up and wipe it out before it can cause any serious problems.

Where the 2-5% figure likely comes from is that this percentage of children who receive the MMR vaccine will get a mild measles-like rash. This is not full-blow measles, however. It is easy to see how the blogger could have misunderstood this kind of information.

In order for the vaccine to cause an actual measles infection the attenuated virus would need to mutate back to its wild type, regaining some of its lost virulence. This can theoretically happen, but is extremely rare.

The meme that kids get measles from the vaccine goes beyond this one blogger. An anti-vaccine chiropractor, Tim O’Shea, makes this claim overtly. He has two references to support his claim – neither of which have anything to do with contracting measles from the vaccine. They report measles outbreaks among high school and secondary school children.

The reports, in fact, demonstrate that the MMR vaccine is mostly effective. These particular outbreaks spread through children who did not have antibodies to the measles virus. In the second report, for example, 99% of the students had been vaccinated, but 4.1% did not seroconvert (in line with other published data on antibody rates in those vaccinated). The outbreak spread only to those without antibodies.

Without the high vaccination rate of this population, the small outbreak could have become a major epidemic. It is entirely unclear how O’Shea concludes from these studies that either vaccines cause measles or that the vaccine does not work. He writes:

Before 1978, measles was a minor, self-limiting, immune-building disease of childhood. You wanted your child to get it because they would have lifetime immunity. Then in 1978, the MMR shot suddenly became part of the vaccine package for all kids. 3 doses. Even though the incidence was down by 90% by then.
After a decade or so, many incidents like the 2 cited above began occurring all over the country – groups of kids who obviously got measles from the shot itself. They got the exact disease the shot was pretending to prevent. Such examples continue to the present.

He does not explain how children contracted measles from a vaccine they received over a decade earlier. Here we also see other anti-vaccine memes – that the diseases vaccines prevent are not so bad, and that they were on their way out anyway, and the vaccines just made things worse. This is abject science denial.

This meme is epitomized in the book Melanie’s Marvelous Measles, claiming that it is good for children to contract these diseases as it builds “natural” immunity. I’m still waiting for the sequels – Peter’s Powerful Polio, and Tina’s Terrific Tetanus.

The World Health Organization, however, spells out the real toll of measles:

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2012, there were 122 000 measles deaths globally – about 330 deaths every day or 14 deaths every hour.
  • Measles vaccination resulted in a 78% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2012 worldwide.

Measles is also a significant cause of blindness in developing countries. This is not a benign disease.

The notion that measles builds the immune system is also misleading. The immune system develops perfectly well without this particular infection. Infection results in immunity to measles alone. Of course, vaccination results in immunity to measles with far less risk.

Conclusion

Anti-vaccine sources make demonstrably incorrect claims about diseases and vaccines. This is not a matter of opinion – they are doing it wrong.

The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg. They get the science wrong by making factual errors and misinterpreting the evidence. Further, when their mistakes are pointed out to them, they rarely make corrections. They continue to use the discredited arguments.

This is the pattern of behavior of an ideological group engaging in motivated reasoning. Some of them, however, have computers and spread their misinformation like a virus.

I guess that makes SBM a vaccine in that analogy. Now we just have to figure out how to increase compliance.

Addendum: I had asked the CDC if there were any reported cases of full measles (not just mild symptoms) from the MMR vaccine and this is their response:

We are aware of 3 reported potential cases of measles contracted from the MMR vaccine. These 3 cases are from published reports in persons with immune deficiencies which described measles inclusion body encephalitis after measles vaccination, documented by intranuclear inclusions corresponding to measles virus or the isolation of measles virus from the brain among vaccinated persons.  The time from vaccination to development of measles inclusion body encephalitis for these cases was 4–9 months, consistent with development of measles inclusion body encephalitis after infection with wild measles virus. In one case, the measles vaccine strain was identified.

Three total cases, and only one in which the measles vaccine strain was identified. This is out of millions of doses given. This is rare indeed.

Posted in: Vaccines

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126 thoughts on “More Measles Myths

  1. goodnightirene says:

    You are, of course, preaching to the choir here, but anti-vaxers will not be impressed by your world-centered statistics. They are, among other things, selfish. THEIR children do not live in third world conditions, so don’t bother pointing out the complications of measles in other places. There is a horrible polio outbreak in Syria right now that threatens to spread throughout the Middle East. I seriously doubt that the snotty Woo Families on Bainbridge Island give a crap.

    I read about the polio on Al Jazeera, not anywhere more “local”. At the end, I visibly gasped when I read that the program covering this (Inside Story with Ray Suarez) was convening a panel to discuss the problem, and the panel included one Barbara Loe Fisher! Eek!

  2. Frederick says:

    Excellent Article. It is hard, The girlfriend of one of my good friend she is a Chiropractor and she sometimes spread false believe about vaccine, she ( he is a science teachers, i don,t know how he can live with that, I’m not friend with her on FB but my GF is and she also hate that) They vaccinated their kid, they have a second one coming up, I really hope they do it. It think it was a argument for them, but I’m happy that he won it.
    I also have a man ( in his fifties, he is a lost cause) one of my ex co-workers, who “heal” hinself with colloid silver for years now, believe in “free energy” he think that the HO kit on his car save him gas ( but he use the on-board computer as proof, but those get worng reading with that kind of device), believe in chemtrails… etc etc. A couple of friend think fluoride is poison, etc etc. I’m at one step of making a my own facebook skeptic page for my friends, although i really don’t want to lose Friends over those debate, because there are still good people, and i really don’t want to moderate all the comments.

    Anyway it is hard to fight those fears, because once the fear has been there, is hard to make it disappear. Sometimes they will change their mind, but still have a little ‘if some people doubt it, it must be because there is a reason” or “not everything can be wrong/false”. Once that road in paved in the minds, it is easy to slip right in there. As a old conspiracy believers when i was younger, I know that. I worked hard on my brain, what helped me, was my love for science and knowledge.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Is colloid silver boy blue yet?

      1. Frederick says:

        Nah, I talk about to him about that, he claim that His colloid won’t do that to him, because the particle in his are a lot smaller ( nano particle) and more consistent. Of course this is BS, But i believed him that is production is consistent and like “well made” ( in the silver colloid silver world of course), he is a freaking maniac, he have microscope and couple of thing like that, and he is a Brillant DIY man. He got a open source 3D printer, built his own HHO kit for his car, of course HHO do nothing or make you car millage WORST, but still built it himself. So i guess thinking that he can “heal himself” fit the personality. The day His kidney will decide to got bad because of silver. He will probably not even believe the doctors. Luckily most of his pseudo-Science crap don’t really hook anybody, maybe 1 or 2 person, but a lot of them were coming to me ( back when i was working there) to know my opinion, despite that i have no science training, they all know I read a lot about it and that I will fine Credible info about it if i don’t know it.

        Oh yeah he also use, built and sell, blood electrifier, based on a certain Dr, Beck pseudo-science scam… yeah He is a nice person, and you talk about cars, motorcycle, concrete chemistry ( he done that before), it is fine… but go in the medicine topics, it is a hell of ride in the paranoid world.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Yep, you can always cure something with MORE NANO!

          He probably thinks that because he can “master” engineering (or at least some of the applications) that he can do equally well with medicine. Never mind how much more complicated even a cell is, let alone the body.

  3. lilady says:

    You are so right Dr. Novella. It’s not enough to play whack-a-mole with the usual anti-vaccine and anti-science; we have a new group of mommy bloggers who, “have done the research” and who encourage their readership to not vaccinate their babies.

    Vaxplanations is a new science blog which has taken on a mommy blogger who minimizes the major outbreak (20 confirmed cases) of measles happening now in New York City. When confronted with her ignorant vaccine pseudoscience, the mommy blogger, posted again explaining how her moderator, does not permit any comments which disagree with her deplorable lack of knowledge about vaccines, the diseases that vaccines prevent and the consequences of not vaccinating infants and children, following the CDC Recommended Childhood Vaccine Schedule.

    http://vaxplanations.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/thanks-for-nothing-gianelloni-family/

    1. Sullivanthepoop says:

      The tide is turning though. Regular people are starting to speak up. I thought it would take more than measles, but it seems I was wrong.

      1. Harriet Huestis says:

        It is amazing how the tide has changed. So many people are speaking up about their past experiences with disease since just a few years ago. Unfortunately it might be the larger and more frequent outbreaks that spurred them on. In BC news I have seen stories of a women who lost a relative to SSPE, a boy who was paralyzed by chicken pox, and more. In the forums many don’t tolerate the unsubstantiated vaccine injuries especially the autism. Any declaration that measles is mild is met by my sister went blind, or died. Even just over a the six months since the Southern Alberta outbreak to the BC one, there is a significant change in attitude. Perhaps the H1N1 had an effect with young healthy people dying, people now realize that disease is serious. I know I am not alone now speaking out. I had measles encephalitis at 4 months old. It is heartening

  4. Derek says:

    If you want an example of what happens when there are insufficient people getting vaccinated, check out what is happening right now in Greater Vancouver where I live in Canada. Not fun.

    http://globalnews.ca/news/1210208/chilliwack-measles-outbreak-spreads-to-bcit/

    1. Young CC Prof says:

      Measles outbreaks in Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and of course the Philippines. Washington State Health Department? Not one peep about a vaccine drive or anything.

  5. Sullivanthepoop says:

    I hate the way antivaxxer find something true and then try to twist and turn it to fit their twisted ideas. Like, testing antigens is good for your immune system, but there is no more benefit if the antigens are attached to pathogens than if they are attached to food, non pathogenic viruses or bacteria, or vaccines and those don’t have the possibility to leave you immune compromised. Who cares if you build antibodies to influenza if you have no epithelial cells or mucus left to protect your throat. Building antibodies to strep won’t do you any good if it compromises your tonsils and associated lymph making you more prone to throat infections. It only takes a little bit of common sense to see this.

    1. windriven says:

      ” It only takes a little bit of common sense to see this.”

      Why do you suppose common sense is so uncommon?

  6. Chris Hickie says:

    Common sense doesn’t seem very common nowadays, Sully.

  7. David Gorski says:

    Ack. DeVos Children’s Hospital is in my state.

    It’s also tried to to the right thing in other situations:

    http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2012/03/26/another-case-of-chemotherapy-refusal-for/

  8. Chad Sheffield says:

    Just saw this today. Very cool.

    Croatian Constitutional Court decides all kids have to be vaccinated. Children’s right to health is above parent’s right to make wrong decisions.

    http://www.vecernji.hr/moje-zdravlje/roditelji-nemaju-pravo-odbiti-cijepiti-svoje-dijete-929063

  9. Liz Ditz says:

    Let’s see, Bob Sears MD, whose practice is in Orange County, published a Facebook screed last week in which he wrote,

    Measles Epidemic . . . NOT!

    Why is it that every time there are a few cases of measles, everyone panics? I just don’t get it. So, here’s the situation in the O.C., where I live and practice. Seven cases. Seven. That’s 7. Not 700, not a million. Seven. So, why do people panic? Here’s one reason: the ^$#@*&%&*$# media. News reports go out stating that there are outbreaks of measles, and everyone needs to be concerned. Everyone is quick to blame those who don’t vaccinate, AND those who don’t vaccinate start to panic. We’ve gotten dozens of calls to our office with people wanting to know if they should come in for the vaccine.

    Uh. Bob. You do know how infectious measles is, right, cause you are a doctor and all? And you do known that the unvaccinated are much more likely to contract the disease, right? And how epidemics work?

    I guess not. News report this morning:

    Orange County Health Care Agency spokesman Nicole Stanfield:

    The agency previously had been issuing notices of potential places of exposure, but said the list is now too long.

    “We know it’s in the community,” Stanfield said. “The more cases we have, the more people can potentially be exposed.”

    Stanfield said for the 10 most recent cases, seven adults and two children were unvaccinated. The vaccination history of the tenth adult is unknown. The recent cases had come into contact with earlier measles patients, she said.

    Seven of the measles sufferers have been hospitalized.

    So thanks, Dr. Bob! Sure glad that you are encouraging the spread of disease! Glad that Orange County will have to spend thousands to contain this totally-preventable outbreak.

    1. pleigh says:

      Interesting that he’s not concerned with a small number of measles cases…is he equally not concerned with the small number of complications that arise from vaccines?

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        I wonder if he’s concerned with the high rate of complications for those who get active measles. I looked it up recently, I think it was 34% of kids end up in the hospital, and the death rate is 1/1000 (with modern medical care).

        But hey, who cares? If you play the odds, it’s unlikely that it’ll be your kid that dies, right? And if it’s not your kid, then does it really matter?

        1. Spectator says:

          ” And if it’s not your kid, then does it really matter?”

          That’s their philosophy, less their obfuscation.

        2. Elizabeth says:

          And they always blame the pro-vaxxers when the measles and other vax preventable diseases crop up. I remember one mom that I unfriended used to say “If your vaccines work so well why are you infected?”
          Talking about the victims of measles or the flu or other vaccine preventable issues. They mock those who get the disease and ASSUME they are those who were already vaccinated and that the disease was NOT introduced already by someone without a vaccine.

          They always always blame the vaxxers for disease out breaks.

    2. Wolframium says:

      If I remember correctly, the definition of an epidemic is the incidence of a particular disease above the expected frequency. If the expected frequency is zero, then it is an epidemic.

  10. Ron says:

    This is still a free country where its citizens are allowed to make their own decisions about life, family and property.
    No matter what you believe – no individual or agency has the right to force anyone to do anything they don’t agree with. Until pharmaceutical companies have proven they are above the corruption they’ve been found guilty of in the courts lately, they shouldn’t be allowed to mandate anything, much less be an advisory to the FDA. Theyre no better than Wall St. bankers selling you derivatives and more akin to letting Toyota set the international standard of braking systems or Phillip Morris pioneer the advent of safe cigarettes.

    But carry on and scream at your fellow man for not pumping up his kids, you are after all at greater risk since youre vaccinated right?

    1. Lawrence says:

      So, if I don’t agree with taxes, I shouldn’t have to pay them?

      1. windriven says:

        “But carry on and scream at your fellow man for not pumping up his kids, you are after all at greater risk since you’re vaccinated right?”

        Ron. Really? Let’s do a reductio ad absurdum to examine your perspective. Let’s say that there is a vaccine for Ebola virus. There isn’t, but it serves as a graphic example because people are dying of it in 2014 … dying horrible deaths … just not here. Our pretend Ebola vaccine has a 90% effectiveness rate: 9 of 10 who have had the vaccine and are subsequently exposed to Ebola virus don’t get the disease. One out of ten does.

        Now let’s say Ron has 10 children, all wonderful, all much loved by Ron. All Ron’s kids have been vaccinated against Ebola and it is a good thing because Ebola is breaking out in unvaccinated pockets of the community. Three days after all Ron’s kids go to Chucky Cheese for a birthday party for the kid next door, the kid next door comes down with Ebola. The kid next door’s douchebag parents didn’t vaccinate their kid. But all ten of your kids were exposed. There’s a pretty good chance the kid next door is going to die of Ebola. And even though you vaccinated your kids, the vaccine is only 90% effective so there is a good chance at least one of your kids is going to get Ebola. He or she might die too. But hey, the neighbors were just exercising their rights, yes?

        You have broad rights in this country. But your rights end where they bump into my rights. You can walk down the sidewalk swinging your arms wildly to the beat of your own drummer. Until. Until you start getting close to someone else exercising their right to walk down the sidewalk.

        There is a difference between rights and anarchy. Rights have attendant responsibilities. Smart people, good citizens, take those responsibilities seriously.

        You can live in an organized society like a human being or you can live in the jungle and do whatever you’d like until somebody bigger or stronger or with better weapons beats the living sh!t out of you and leaves you hoping that you can still exercise your right to breathe.

        Anyone who has lurked in these pages for any period of time will tell you that I hold pretty libertarian views. But there is a line where liberty ends and stupidity takes its place. Which side of the line do you live on?

        1. Elizabeth says:

          my 2. wasn’t meant for you sorry idk what i did there!!

        2. N. A. Cook says:

          Hey, don’t put down us pro-vaxx anarchists when dealing with anti-vaxxers! :P

        3. Mal Adapted says:

          Ron dogmatically asserted:

          No matter what you believe – no individual or agency has the right to force anyone to do anything they don’t agree with.

          You do realize that’s entirely without empirical foundation, don’t you? Surely you know that rights don’t exist independent of the society you live in. In the U.S. at least, legislators giveth and taketh away, subject to judicial review. If your state legislature and the court of last resort agree that you must vaccinate your children against infectious disease, then what you believe has no weight.

          I’m happy about that! I consider myself a consequentialist rather than deontological libertarian. There’s no need to repeat Windriven‘s rebuttal, except for this: your right to emit clouds of pathogenic droplets, or allow your child to, ends where my and my child’s mucosae begin!

          1. windriven says:

            I hadn’t thought about consequentialism in a while. Thanks for rustling some old leaves.

      2. Elizabeth says:

        You’re not a politician….so you still have to pay.

        Unless you are a politician?? :D

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Ron, there is really very little coercion in the US for this. You either need vaccinations, a religious or other absurd, box-ticking exemption to be able to go to public school. It’s inconvenient, but it’s hardly a deal-breaker. So what coercion is there, really?

      And your point ignores the tragedy of the commons – yes, if one or two people don’t get vaccinated, few suffer. But when millions do so, each one a single person, then tens of thousands of children will die.

      The corruption of Big Pharma doesn’t mean their products don’t work. That efficacy is often exaggerated, yes. But the measles vaccine has been proven for over 50 years to be safe and effective. Your claims of corruption completely miss the fact that the corruption exists when drugs are ineffective but the companies still want to sell them. Wildly successful medications – like vaccines, like AZT, they don’t need the pernicious exaggerations that plague the lifestyle drugs that Big Pharma tries to pimp.

      And pardon us for giving a rat’s ass that someone else’s child will die because of misunderstandings and scientific ignorance. I wonder, if your child died because of someone else’s failure to vaccinate, would you still scream about individual freedoms? What about the freedom not to be infected by a preventable disease?

    3. Katie says:

      Heh, heh. This blog probably has an obsession with Jessica Gianelloni due to her influence.

      No one uses the word “science” more than the person who has absolutely none backing his/ her claim.

      MOSTLY effective and not USUALLY that dangerous–that’s the best that even most of the staunchest pro-vaccine defenders can say.

      Vaccines are on the way out. You may as well get on board…some of you are going to look really silly in a few more years.

      1. Chris says:

        “Heh, heh. This blog probably has an obsession with Jessica Gianelloni due to her influence.”

        Who? How is being mentioned once in the comments an obsession?

        “Vaccines are on the way out. You may as well get on board…some of you are going to look really silly in a few more years.”

        Citation needed. And while you are at it, please provide the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers that the MMR vaccine is more dangerous than measles.

      2. Windriven says:

        “No one uses the word “science” more than the person who has absolutely none backing his/ her claim.”

        Katie, you may have taken the crown for the most idiotic comment of 2014. I want you to know just how remarkable that achievement is. Review some of the comments of Steve Rodrigues, FastBuckArtist, and some of the random ditzes and delusionals who sho up here.

        First, like Chris, I have no idea who Jessica Gianelloni is or was and nothing you said spurs me to trouble myself to google her. Suggesting some obsession with this nobody is … bizarre.

        Next, the ‘no one uses the word ‘science’…’ sentence doesn’t quite rise to the level of non sequitur. Beyond that it is, in the context of these pages, populated as they are by scientistist – many of them distinguished in their fields, monumenatlly ignorant.

        And finally, your statement that vaccines are on their way out gives rise to question your mental health. I direct your attention, as one example, to parts of the world where polio, once nearly stricken from the face of the earth, has had a resurgence as vaccination efforts collapsed in the face of war. Your assertion isn’t just wrong, it is profoundly evil in its suggestion that this might be in some way desirable. Yours is the arrogance of a spoiled, ill-educated twit who has never had to face the scourages that destroy millions of lives, claiming babies and geezers, mothers and brothers indiscriminately.

        If you had any sense of shame … well you don’t so I’ll save myself the effort.

  11. The Midwesterner says:

    I had measles approximately 55 years ago. I vividly remember how miserable it was: the awful itching, fatigue, nausea, vomiting all over my dad when he picked me up. Luckily, I suffered no lasting effects -except my life-long immunity-but all in all , I think I would have preferred a prick in my arm.

    1. Kathy says:

      It was grim wasn’t it? Been there, done it, got the hairshirt.

      There should be a fb page for Measles Survivors, packed with lots of stories about how miserable we were. And some about those that didn’t survive, or did so with lasting problems. If they want stories, then give ‘em stories.

  12. Chris Hickie says:

    Children with severely impaired immune function should not have to stay home from school because parents like Ron won’t vaccinate their children. I am all for make all state school immunization laws so that they are “medical exemption only”–meaning your child cannot attend school un/partially vaccinated unless they have a valid medical exemption per CDC guidelines.

    I also believe there is precedent for this under the ADA. We have peanut free classes and schools for children who could die from severe anaphylaxis from peanut exposure. Why should a child unable to receive vaccines due to having an organ transplant attend a school where there are electively unimmunized children. Answer: they shouldn’t.

    1. Renate says:

      And how about children who are just to young to be vaccinated? Recently there was a case in The Hague, a town near where I live. A young child, to young to be vaccinated, got the measles from an older non-vaccinated kid in daycare and guess what, the child had to be rushed to the hospital because of those ‘innocent’ measles.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      My guess would be the peanut reactions are much more public, much more dramatic, and people have seen or heard directly of someone who had to be rushed to hospital because of it. Doesn’t happen with measles because of herd immunity.

      Same reason vaccines are taken seriously by our parents and grandparents – they actually know what polio, or smallpox, or measles looks like, and they’re scared. Because they’ve seen people killed or maimed or even just miserable because of them.

      In this case, lack of familiarity breeds contempt.

      1. Jon Brewer says:

        Indeed. I remember all the times I’ve had to explain to people that infectious diseases can be deadly. It’s a sort of privilege modern people have, not knowing what measles or polio or diphtheria is like, so they can first, pretend vaccines cause autism, and secondly, pretend infectious diseases can’t kill you.

  13. Dave says:

    There are two articles in the current issue of Science which may be of interest to some here.

    One is an article about the current polio outbreak in Syria and the response to it.

    Those who follow this website may remember recently a commenter giving a link to a website of a psychiatrist (an MD) who billed herself as “paleomom” and had a long article about “paleoimmunity” and decried vaccines because we evolved along with bacteria and viruses, which is true but unfortunately includes the pathogens that kill us – at least, that’s the gist I got from the article, which I found quite convoluted and hard to follow. Anyway, 50 years ago this month it was discovered that Ebstein-Barr virus was implicated in causing a cancer, Burkitt’s lymphoma. The article in Science discusses this finding and also talks about other cancer-linked microorganisms, including human herpesvirus 8 (Kaposi’s sarcoma), Helicobacter pylori (MALT lymphoma and gastric carcinoma), human T-lymphotrophic viruses I and II (leukemia), hepatitis B and C (hepatocellular carcinoma – we have a vaccine for hep B), and human papilloma virus (cervical cancer, also a disease for which there is a vaccine). Just FYI.

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Did said paleomom note that these pathogens also involved along side us, and as populations grew and we moved out of paleolithic times and habitats, became increasingly lethal because they didn’t have to worry as much about their hosts dying?

      By the Flying Spaghetti Monster the whole “paleo” thing irritates me.

      1. Frederick says:

        O Great Flying spaghetti monster, I kneel before you!

      2. Jon Brewer says:

        Yeah, you’d think people would notice that the huge reason hunter-gatherers didn’t have so many infections is because of a lower population density. We can’t, at least not ethically or pragmatically, reduce the world’s population to a couple million.

        Another thing said paleomom clearly forgot was that germs evolve. And since their life cycle is a matter of hours while we typically are in double-digit age before we reach sexual maturity, and it’s still many years before we actually have children, they evolve faster than we can possibly keep up.

        1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          Not to mention what happens to incredibly isolated hunter-gatherer tribes when exposed to diseases endemic in highly populated areas. I mean c’mon, they’ll read books about the illusory evolutionary history of humanity where apparently all gene changes ceased, but they won’t pick up Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, or 1491 by Charles Mann?

          Great books.

      3. Mal Adapted says:

        Jon Brewer

        Yeah, you’d think people would notice that the huge reason hunter-gatherers didn’t have so many infections is because of a lower population density.

        That was an important factor, but hunter-gatherers also didn’t have domestic animals to share diseases with. Measles, for example, is most closely related to rinderpest, a cattle virus.

        1. Mal Adapted says:

          Ironically, rinderpest has recently been eradicated, at least in part because cattle can’t refuse to be vaccinated!

          1. Sawyer says:

            So the “sheeple” and “mindless cattle” insults coming from the anti-vaxxers are actually compliments!

        2. Andrey Pavlov says:

          Well, that and the fact that violence and trauma often got them first as well. Or infection post trauma which would be distinct from communicable disease.

  14. I see a lot of comments about “mommy bloggers” block comments from people who disagree with them. Interesting….as I commented earlier and I still don’t see my initial comment “approved” here.

    And, as for the measles story written as a guest post from my friend, she was simply sharing the story of her son contracting measles from the vaccine. She didn’t say people should or should not get vaccinated, but rather they she educate themselves before deciding.

    That’s what I encourage people to do.

    1. Chris says:

      Her story was one anecdote. Why should we believe her? How is her dealings with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program going, does she have actual medical confirmation?

    2. windriven says:

      “as I commented earlier and I still don’t see my initial comment “approved” here.”

      Bull-doodle. Either you are a total moron and forgot to hit the ‘Post Comments’ button or your comment was so laced with vile profanity that even a miscreant thirteen year old boy would be offended (no offense Dr. Gorski). Even at that it will more likely than not show up eventually.

      “She didn’t say people should or should not get vaccinated, but rather they she educate themselves before deciding.”

      So get educated. Then get vaccinated.

      1. Sawyer says:

        “She didn’t say people should or should not get vaccinated”

        I’ve always been confused about where anti-vaxxers get their science education, but I’m even more baffled about their bizarre understanding of language. I don’t think there’s a single English speaking person on the planet that could read Britnee’s story and not come to the conclusion she thinks it’s a bad idea to get the MMR shot. Yet Melissa somehow believes that by throwing up the “get educated” label to the story, it will magically mask the most obvious conclusion. Do you not see how absurdly dishonest this looks to everyone here, Melissa?

        I have sympathy for parents like Britnee and hope she figures out what really happened with her child, but this experience does not convey her infinite scientific expertise on the topic of measles.

        1. windriven says:

          @Sawyer

          “Yet Melissa somehow believes that by throwing up the “get educated” label to the story, it will magically mask the most obvious conclusion.”

          I see this as a variant of JAQing off – the old gambit of laying out some outrageous nonsense and terminating it with a question mark, then claiming to ‘just be asking a question.’ It has always struck me as a particularly passive-aggressive tactic, the province of obsequious jackals.

          1. harriet huestis says:

            Good point. I have been wracking my brain to decipher the cognitive biases and argument fallacies. It is so obviously disingenuous after leading the reader to a conclusion to say well educate yourself and make up your own mind. The closest falacy I could find is “failure to state”.The whole concept of identifying logical fallacies is new to me. http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html#state

      2. Mal Adapted says:

        Given the requirement for vaccination as a condition for admission to the public schools, it’s more like “get vaccinated, or don’t get educated.” Thankfully, most Americans still value basic education enough for that to be effective.

    3. weing says:

      “She didn’t say people should or should not get vaccinated, but rather they she educate themselves before deciding.

      That’s what I encourage people to do.”

      And by educating, you mean getting opinions and anecdotes from people who find no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing their opinions.

    4. Sawyer says:

      Melissa,

      Science Based Medicine has some weird glitches with their moderation policies. It has nothing to do with “censoring” people that disagree. First time posters often have problems, and I think linking to a website may slow things down (although spammers seem to have little trouble getting through).

      This is very different than what is happening on many of the anti vaccine websites. I encountered a really lame article yesterday on the Family Health Freedom Network website. The moderators had clearly deleted several comments that were simply providing some basic information on the science behind innoculations and countering common misconceptions. The irony of such blatant censorship on a website supposedly defending “freedom” was lost on everyone there.

      1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

        Spammers usually link in their signature/ID block, not so much in the comments. My favourites are the ones that include phone numbers.

    5. Chris says:

      A couple of things disturbed me about her story. She said the child was in for a twelve month appointment and was getting an MMR for the first time, plus the second DTaP.

      Well, that is a bit late for second DTaP, but she does explain she was delaying the vaccine schedule. But why accelerate the MMR vaccine? Even though the recommended range is between twelve to fifteen months, it seems to happen closer to fifteen months (at least for my kids, daughter born in May, first MMR in August at fifteen months). That is kind of red-flaggy.

      Plus it takes a while to get immunity from a vaccine, and since the parent was delaying vaccines it would seem her child was in contact with kids who had similarly thinking parents. For all we know the child was exposed to measles before getting the vaccine, especially with the rapid onset of symptoms. The first reported symptom, fever, is just three days. Other than an allergic reaction the the table injuries the earliest a symptom must manifest is five days. The table injury for “Vaccine-Strain Measles Viral Infection in an immunodeficient recipient” is only valid if it started after six months.

      So she wrote a story. That is interesting. Now what you need to do is provide further evidence that this is a common story, and that the MMR vaccine causes more injury than measles. And it should not be anecdotes, but real data. Also, make sure the rash is actually from measles and not something like Fifth Disease.

      What we need to know

      1. harriet huestis says:

        I did not know it took six months for immunocompromised to develop vaccine strain measles. Why the different time frame for encephalitis, which is 5-14 days? My understanding is that encephalitis from measles vaccine is unheard of except in immunocompromised people.

        1. Chris says:

          I also thought it was odd. But that was what was in the list of table injuries:
          http://www.hrsa.gov/vaccinecompensation/vaccinetable.html

          I guess there is something in the medical literature, but in the last and next few weeks I barely have time to check in on this blog, much less research it.

    6. Sawyer says:

      Okay, I know we’re laying it on a little thick here and I apologize, but I really want people here to see how far down the rabbit hole one can go on this topic. Several of the commenters on your MMR story have provided such terrible advice, that they inadvertently made a really strong case for vaccination. It’s based on complete pseudoscience of course, but it is useful to look at the logic behind it. Here’s the some of the key information I found on your site:

      A) The MMR vaccine causes measles
      B) People shouldn’t be forced to get a vaccine for measles because it’s not that dangerous
      C) Measles is not that prevalent anymore, and was on it’s way out before the vaccine was introduced
      D) According to someone’s homeopath, measles can actually make you healthier in the long run.

      Based on that information alone, what conclusion would you draw on getting the MMR vaccine? :)

    7. Andrey Pavlov says:

      I can assure you that almost nothing is censored here. It is either a glitch, your mistake, or just held up in moderation as a first time poster or because 3 or more hyperlinks were included. There are people that comment here that could reasonably be banned from doing so, but are let to continue their ramblings.

      As for getting educated before being vaccinated…. let’s put it this way. That is like saying you should get educated before deciding whether or not to put your hand on a red hot stove. There is literally absolutely zero – and I mean ZERO – question as to whether vaccination, on schedule, is the correct course of action. Of course it is. Thankfully this is one of the few decisions in life, and even fewer medical decisions, that require no thought and no fear. You may as well try and educate yourself about whether getting a broken bone fixed or not.

    8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      …except your friend’s child didn’t “catch measles from the vaccines”. At least, not in an important way. See, you catch wild-type, unattenuated measles, it’s miserable. The unvaccinated face a complication rate of 30%, and those complications include potentially-lethal pneumonia, and permanent deafness. 1/1,000 children develop encephalitis. About 1-2/1,000 will die. 2/10,000 infected before 1 year old will develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, which kills as late as 3 decades after initial infection. Meanwhile, the risks of the vaccine? fever, mild rash, swollen glands. 1/3,000 chance of seizures, joint pain, and 1/30,000 chance of temporary low platelets. And some problems so rare, 1/1,000,000, that they can’t tell if they’re even caused by the vaccine.

      Yes, perhaps your friend’s child got a mild rash. Perhaps even a fever. Did their brain swell up until they died? Did they go permanently deaf? Did they die of pneumonia? Will they die a year from now due to SSPE? Was there even a chance of this happening with the vaccine? No.

      Is there a chance of this happening if they got wild-type infection? Yes. Not a huge chance. But do you want to take the odds? And how do you feel about knowing for certain that if we didn’t vaccinate, hundreds of children’s brains would be crushed by their own skulls because of measles?

      So don’t give me the coy, “she didn’t recommend against vaccination” dodge. Ignorantly presenting risks of “catching” measles from the vaccine without contextualizing the harm of wild-type measles is fearmongering and places lives at risk. Failing to do the research to realize the risks of wild-type versus vaccine-induced measles is ignorance, laziness, and has a health cost. Maybe you put a huge disclaimer at the top of your post listing the dangers of wild-type infection, so people can realize that a mild, self-limiting rash is not really a big deal compared to deafness, retardation, pneumonia and death.

      Shouldn’t be a problem, right? It’s not like you’re anti-vaccine, right? You want to honestly describe the risks and benefits of vaccination, right? So great, put in a block of text that contextualizes the risks of actual measles infection versus the risks of measles vaccines.

      I mean, it’s not like you’re anti-vaccine, right? You just want people to make an informed decision.

    9. Melissa – there are no comments pending. First time comments have to be approved.

      The article you published on your blog contained misinformation and misleading information – about an important health care decision. If you are not qualified to vet health care information, you should consider having a professional review submissions, or just not post them.

      The blog post specifically stated that a doctor told her 2-5% of children get measles from the vaccine, and this is patently not true. You published incorrect third hand hearsay. Are you concerned at all about how many people may contract measles because of misinformation on your website?

      Perhaps you should post a correction or retraction. That would only be the responsible thing to do.

  15. Alan says:

    Steve, this post is quite timely.
    On March 26, 2014, CBS News reported that the measles outbreak in Orange County, California is the “worst in decades.” A link in the story to an earlier report mentions that measles was eliminated in the U.S. In 2000, but the anti-vaccination people are playing a role in brining it back.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/measles-outbreak-in-orange-county-california-worst-in-decades/

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-vaccine-philosophical-differences-driving-up-us-measles-rates/

  16. Iqbal says:

    Vaccination for measels is mandatory in most countries and a schedule for vaccination is maintained for the child for different diseases through the first 10 years. Most countries insist on completion of this protocol if a visit is planned to such country.
    USA is one such country.

    Vaccination saves the child from potential problems associated with these diseases. But nothing comes free. If measels has the potential of harming the child, it has its benefits also.

    http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/2013/01/29/measles-vaccines-part-ii-benefits-of-contracting-measles-by-dr-viera-scheibner-phd/

    The other down side is what will happen over years? Possible outcome would be similar to the fate of the American Indians that contacted small pox from the Europeans and got wiped out.

    Reason: their immune system did not recognize small pox.

    The requirement is to find proper cure for measels, not compromise the immune system by vaccination and create a difficult environment for the future generation. Measels is only one of such diseases.

    Vaccination is not expected to eradicate measels. It would always be lurking in some part of the world and could evolve into more virulent strain that the present vaccine would be ineffective against and with a compromized immune system, the dodo syndrome would make a come back

    1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Why would you ever cite Scheibner as an authority? In addition to apparently having to include “PhD” after her name in order to defend her opinions, in addition to being a notable anti-vaccine hack, her expertise is in microfossils. She’s not a doctor, immunologist, or even a biologist. She’s a paleontologist.

      The reason why Native Americans were vulnerable to smallpox was not due to lack of individual exposure, it’s because smallpox went through centuries of gradually-ratcheted lethality in Europe, Africa and Asia as it cycled through cities and nations. Europeans, Africans and Asians were genetically shaped to be more resistant to smallpox through selective culling over centuries. Native Americans did not, and as a result, there was a massive population bottleneck that killed off everybody who did not have the genetic variations that coded for specific smallpox resistance.

      It had nothing to do with vaccination, and Scheibner, PhD (Pretend H’I'm a Doctor?) rational is bizarre, ahistorical, and various other ways of saying “wrong”. As a matter of fact, vaccination would have saved the Native Americans if it had been available – as it did when smallpox vaccination was a routine event that eventually led to its extinction. Which included, by the way, vaccinating Native Americans as part of the program.

      You can’t “cure” measles, it’s a viral infection that kills on the order of 0.1% of children in advanced countries with excellent medical care. World-wide it’s far worse, killing one in ten. But hey, fuck them, right? They’re probably all poor people. And as long as it’s not your kid, who cares, right? You can hide in the herd.

      It can be prevented through vaccination, not “cured”.

      Vaccination is not expected to eradicate measels. It would always be lurking in some part of the world and could evolve into more virulent strain that the present vaccine would be ineffective against and with a compromized immune system, the dodo syndrome would make a come back

      1) Tell that to smallpox.

      2) Yeah, we’ve managed to eliminate measles from North and South America, with new cases coming only from outside of the continent.

      3) Disease circulating in a small population would be unlikely to become more virulent, that is a survival strategy that only works when you have a large population to cycle through and you can “afford” to kill your host quickly as long as you can spread before they die. Go read a book.

      Hey, I’m a microbiologist, want to get some stock tips from me? I also fix cars, and have read up on plumbing, you should get me to install a toilet in your Ford.

      Scheibner my asshole.

      1. Iqbal says:

        William

        The article at any point describe Dr. Scheibner (PhD) as an immunologist, a biologist or a microbiologist.She quotes numerous articles: you should check the veracity of references provided by her.

        The point raised by her and me is that the human immune system is a very important defense mechanism available against diseases and the present vaccination system tampers with this mechanism. Could not a better way be found to handle diseases? A method of treatment, which strengthens the immune system, in its ability to fight the disease.

        Viral infection has no cure? The human immune system takes care of the viral infections all the time. The doctors have to learn the technique. I would agree with you: considering that doctors seldom get involved in development of medicines, pharmacists can never find a cure. However, continued tampering would make the immune system redundant and then exposure to a virus would result in death –always.

        Incidentally, you state exactly what I wrote: “Europeans, Africans and Asians were genetically shaped to be more resistant to smallpox through selective culling over centuries (the immune system was programmed to handle this virus because of earlier exposures). Native Americans did not, and as a result, there was a massive population bottleneck that killed off everybody who did not have the genetic variations that coded for specific smallpox resistance. (Reason: their immune system did not recognize small pox.)

        The toxicity of a disease is inversely proportional to the immune response of the host. If the immune response is nil, all viral attacks will be lethal.

        1. Windriven says:

          “the present vaccination system tampers with this mechanism.”

          Tampers. Interesting choice of words. Vaccinations seem to stimulate the immune system without all the fuss and bother of contracting some potentially fatal disease. How is that ‘tampering?’

          Would you be happier if we still fought the plagues of smallpox and polio and pertussis the ‘old fashioned way?’

          1. Iqbal says:

            Considering our understanding of the immune system is low, there is no information about the real impact of vaccination on the long term benefits/disadvantages.

            Further the consequences of having measles are mentioned: what is missing is the reason: was measles incorrectly handled? Were drugs used for reducing fever? Did these drugs interfered and brought out the noted out come?

            Normally, measles requires no treatment if the child is healthy to begin with. The temperature should be allowed to continue to help rash to surface completely. Interference with durgs during rash development leads to complications. (During Spanish flu, more people died because of treatment, than the flu itself.) This is not reported.

            The focus should be on food habits of children. Healthy humans are better than humans pumped in with vaccines and drugs.

            1. weing says:

              “Considering our understanding of the immune system is low, there is no information about the real impact of vaccination on the long term benefits/disadvantages.”

              Speak for yourself. It’s your understanding of the immune system that is low. BTW. Where do you get all this nonsense? Like the following gem:
              “Normally, measles requires no treatment if the child is healthy to begin with.”
              So, if the child is unhealthy to begin with, he/she should die. Most healthy children come through measles fine but a lot don’t. A lot of healthy children die, end up hospitalized and cost a lot to get them back to health, end up with sequelae that cripple them for life. That’s why we have vaccines to prevent this. This is a disease that has no other reservoir but humans. That means we can totally eradicate it by vaccination and we can then stop vaccinating for it.

              1. weing says:

                @Iqbal,
                “Considering our understanding of the immune system is low, there is no information about the real impact of vaccination on the long term benefits/disadvantages.”
                I just remembered. You have a geologic understanding of the immune system. That means zero understanding. WTF are you doing here? Sign up for an immunology course at your community college. Do yourself a favor, and take some Coursera courses online to fill in the vast gaps in your knowledge, if you really take pleasure in learning rather than in expressing personal and misinformed opinions.

              2. Iqbal says:

                Weing

                Considering you know about the human immune system, can you enlighten me as to where does the immune system reside? In the brain or the cells or…?

                How do you measure the effectiveness of the immune system of a person? The possible reasons for development of auto-immune diseases?

              3. Windriven says:

                @lowball

                ” can you enlighten me as to where does the immune system reside?”

                Probably not. Your ignorance is a pit too vast to fill in the comment section of a blog.

                Do you understand the word system? Where does the immune system reside? It resides in the same frigging place as the circulatory system and the nervous system.

                Do you imagine your vacuous questions to be somehow Socratic?

                “Ah sensai, I have come to understand that we know nothing about this thing called immunity.”

                You’re an idiot.

              4. Andrey Pavlov says:

                LOL. This iqbal guy is interesting. I won’t bother responding to anything specific because it is too incredibly vapid. That, and I have 4 friends in town from California and yesterday was my birthday so this morning I have no cause for anything additional to induce cephalgia and nausea.

              5. Dave says:

                Information on the immune system is not hard to come by. There are several books written for lay people on the immune system which are available in print or on the kindle, which go through the innate, cell mediated and humoral immune system in some detail. Mortality and morbidity statistics for measles pre and post vaccination eras are readily available on the internet.

                If you are looking for “A method of treatment, which strengthens the immune system, in its ability to fight the disease.” we already have that. It’s called “vaccination”.

              6. Windriven says:

                @Andrey

                Happy Birthday!

                @Dave

                Your lucid and generous response presupposes that lowball is interested in actually learning something. Methinks s/he already has the answers she is looking for. They’re wrong. In a few instances they aren’t even coherent. But s/he has them and will defend them to the death.

              7. Andrey Pavlov says:

                @windriven:

                Danke! I didn’t even have that much to drink, and yet still with the hangover. I hate getting old. Thanks to alternative medicine though, I am vastly improved. It was alternative science that brought us ondansetron and ibuprofen, right?

            2. Chris says:

              “Normally, measles requires no treatment if the child is healthy to begin with. The temperature should be allowed to continue to help rash to surface completely.”

              This is just a fantasy, and proof you do not have a clue.

              “The focus should be on food habits of children. Healthy humans are better than humans pumped in with vaccines and drugs.”

              This is just another form of “blame the victim”, because they did not eat the diet dictated by your fantastical imagination. It shows you are a very nasty human being who thinks that anyone who suffers from a vaccine preventable disease or has any health issue are subhuman.

              I bet you would just love to wander around the oncology and cardiology* wards of a children’s hospital telling the parents what they did very wrong, and how you are so much superior.

              * my oldest has a genetic heart disorder

            3. Chris says:

              “Considering our understanding of the immune system is low, there is no information about the real impact of vaccination on the long term benefits/disadvantages.”

              I should add that presently if my immune system were any stronger, its overreaction to the alder pollen currently circulating in the air would probably kill me.

              Immunity must be finely balanced, and educated. As I get older my immune system has adjusted to where I no longer have hives and my face swell up so bad I can barely open my eyes in early spring. Since I have been getting flu vaccines each fall, my immune system has been educated and I don’t get flu anymore.

              I also know better than to get medical information from a geologist.

              1. Iqbal says:

                It would be good if you could improve your language: you could define thoughts better.

                Improve your knowledge:

                http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm

                For vaccination, you may want to read a doctor, check his credentials also.

                http://bmhegde.com/bmh/useartdetail1.php?aid=289

              2. Windriven says:

                Hey lowball-

                First off, Chris has actual coherent thoughts and does a fine job expressing them.

                Second, you really ought to actually read the Harvard piece you linked. It doesn’t say what you seem to think that it says.

                Finally, the Hedge piece you link asks vague questions about an experimental vaccine for flu strains that may or may not exist. Near the end he demonstrates a remarkable naïveté by wondering if multiple vaccinations might ‘confuse’ the immune system.

                We’re what … supposed to stand in awe of this kind of confused thinking???

              3. Chris says:

                Iqbal, measles in not the same as influenza. Measles is much more infectious than influenza, or even most other pathogens. Prior to 1963 almost every child had measles before their fifteenth birthday.

                No one was immune. The only safe way to get measles immunity is with the MMR vaccine. If you have evidence to the contrary, then please post the PubMed indexed studies by qualified reputable researchers. Do not link to unreferenced newsletters on another disease.

        2. weing says:

          “Europeans, Africans and Asians were genetically shaped to be more resistant to smallpox through selective culling over centuries (the immune system was programmed to handle this virus because of earlier exposures). ”

          It looks like you are OK with culling/killing of those vulnerable in the population. We are not. We’d rather make them immune by vaccination and live to reproduce and eliminate the disease from humanity by making the virus unable to find a host.

          1. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

            Is this directed at me? I’m absolutely not in favour of disease-based cullling, my ideal world is one that requires no vaccinations because all infectious diseases have been driven extinct.

            You might be quoting lowball’s quoting of me though.

            1. Windriven says:

              I read it as directed at lowball.

            2. Chris says:

              I think he is directing it to Iqbal (who still needs to explain how what you eat makes you immune to a disease that almost every child caught prior to 1963).

              There is a wee flaw in the reasoning of being “genetically adapted to the virus.” While it is true that Europeans did develop some resistance to plague, a bacterial infection, it does not really translate to other pathogens completely (though it does to HIV, because the certain gene is slightly flawed).

              The scenario according to my reading of William McNeill’s Plagues and Peoples was that when epidemics of smallpox and measles went through European towns, it mostly killed the vulnerable who were not alive during the previous epidemic: the children. The children who survived became the adults who were immune. This was a time when a family would have ten kids and about half survived past age five.

              When a novel virus like measles came to the Americas, the entire population was vulnerable, there were no immune adults. So what happened was that those who provided food, shelter and care to their families became sick. So the diseases did not actually kill the majority, it was starvation because there was no one able to grow or gather food.

              This is a scenario that is graphically detailed in the beginning of The American Plague by Molly Caldwell Crosby. One of the nurses who was part of the research on yellow fever in Cuba had survived that disease as a child when it swept through the American south several years before. Though if someone had not come by to the house where she was the only survivor and rescued her, she would have died of starvation as a little girl.

        3. Chris says:

          The article at any point describe Dr. Scheibner (PhD) as an immunologist, a biologist or a microbiologist.She quotes numerous articles: you should check the veracity of references provided by her.

          Then they are either wrong or are liars. She was a type of geologist. She is the esteemed winner of the 1997 Bent Spoon Award.

          And her biography from an anti-vaccine site:

          Viera Scheibner, PhD, (1935 – present) (real name Viera Scheibnerová) is a retired micropaleontologist (a branch of geology). From 1958 until 1968 she was assistant professor in the department of geology at Comenius University, Bratislava. Dr. Scheibner has been active in the anti-vaccination field researching, writing and giving lectures on the subject matter of vaccines and vaccinations since her retirement from the Department of Mineral Resources, New South Wales, Australia in 1987. Scheibner has been the subject of criticism from several different sources.

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          The point raised by her and me is that the human immune system is a very important defense mechanism available against diseases and the present vaccination system tampers with this mechanism. Could not a better way be found to handle diseases? A method of treatment, which strengthens the immune system, in its ability to fight the disease.

          What, like vaccination?

          Vaccination doesn’t “tamper” with the immune system, it primes it so recognition of specific pathogens occurs faster and more strongly with subsequent exposure. It’s essentially a low-lethality (in nearly all cases 0 lethality) infection that allows people to survive subsequent exposure – the exact mechanism that allows people to survive all subsequent plagues so long as you survive the first (which many don’t).

          Viral infection has no cure? The human immune system takes care of the viral infections all the time.

          Absolutely, viral infections are managed by the immune system all the time – primarily because most viruses that exist do not infect humans. But the few that do tend towards high infectivity, and in some cases high lethality. And in some cases – low lethality but unfortunately promote the body into a massive over-reaction that is lethal (the Spanish ‘flu was one such, influenza caused “scorched earth” tactics in the lungs by the immune system, and people drowned in their own fluids).

          The doctors have to learn the technique. I would agree with you: considering that doctors seldom get involved in development of medicines, pharmacists can never find a cure. However, continued tampering would make the immune system redundant and then exposure to a virus would result in death –always.

          Your thinking process is bizarre, and from what I can tell simply wrong. In some cases the “technique” of the immune system is to have single-nucleotide polymorphisms, single base-pare differences, on every single cell in the body. This is part of the genetic resistance some experience to some diseases. Sadly, genetically engineering all humans to have an optimal set of SNPs (assuming they didn’t make you vulnerable to other infectious agents) isn’t an option just yet.

          Europeans, Africans and Asians were genetically shaped to be more resistant to smallpox through selective culling over centuries (the immune system was programmed to handle this virus because of earlier exposures).

          Um, no, that’s not it. Europeans, Africans and Asians vulnerable to smallpox died, leaving behind those less vulnerable. To reach their level of increased resistance to disease as a population, millions had to die over the course of centuries. The Native Americans went through it all at once. It wasn’t their immne systems that were shaped by smallpox, it was their genes (yes, genes code for immunity, but don’t be obtuse).

          (Reason: their immune system did not recognize small pox.)

          Wrong. Reason: their genes were shaped to be less vulnerable to smallpox through a selective killing of those who were vulnerable. And not just smallpox by the way, many diseases. Also, these groups respond readily to vaccination, as nearly all humans do, which eliminates much of the risk of dying of infectious disease at essentially no (or at least orders of magnitude lower) cost. You know not of what you speak.

          The toxicity of a disease is inversely proportional to the immune response of the host. If the immune response is nil, all viral attacks will be lethal.

          Um…no again. In some cases the danger is not the virus, the danger is the immune system itself. In other cases, the virus is directly lethal. There is no handy rule of thumb you can apply to all viral, let alone all possible infections. Death rates due to diseases varies immensely based on a wide variety of factors including genetics, nutrition, the random variations in antibodies produced by the body, and a host of factors we don’t understand. But something that reliably and safely prevents infections, morbidity and mortality is vaccination. Scheibner has not the training, understanding or honesty to understand what she speaks of. She’s wrong, you’re wrong, and your opinions puts babies, children and adults at risk of death, sterility and more. Good work, asshat.

          1. Iqbal says:

            Not really.

            http://theglyptodon.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/super-antibiotics-from-crocodile-blood/

            Immune system works in the way it develops. What about using the science to develop it, than to use science to destroy it.

            1. Windriven says:

              “Immune system works in the way it develops. What about using the science to develop it, than to use science to destroy it.”

              And vaccination isn’t using science to develop [the adaptive immune response]???

              As to kicking the innate response into hyperdrive, do you have any concerns about stimulating autoimmune problems? Do you imagine that reptile physiology is sufficiently close to mammalian that strategies that work for reptilians can simply be ‘ported over’ without unanticipated negative
              consequences?

            2. Chris says:

              Antibiotics work on bacteria. There is a vast difference between bacteria and viruses.

              Why do you think it is better to treat measles rather than preventing it?

              Again, measles is so infectious that before 1963 almost every kid had it before they turned fifteen years old. So science has figured out a way to prevent an infection by inducing a a teeny tiny form to educate the immune system. Plus it is much safer than getting wild measles.

            3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

              Jebus, we have a hard enough time testing in non-human mammals where results are rarely 100% predictive. Now you want to extrapolate from reptiles? You don’t know anything!

              You know what happens if you give smallpox to an alligator? Smallpox, one of the deadliest killers in history? Nothing, because smallpox isn’t adapted to alligators.

              Do you know what happens when you give a person a vaccine? They develop the immune system to resist it.

              Exactly what are you worried about with vaccination? Lifespans have increased, children no longer die, infectious diseases are generally inconveniences rather than lethal fears. And your concern is what exactly? You apparently want to build some sort of super-immune system that can fight off all diseases without requiring vaccination? That’s not how the immune system works, and that would take massive selective breeding that would not prevent future humans from ever succumbing to disease. The problem isn’t that we’re malnourished and therefore weak, we’re far more reliably fed than our ancestors have ever been. There really isn’t much problem bar those infections we don’t have vaccines for.

              1. Iqbal says:

                “You know what happens if you give smallpox to an alligator? Smallpox, one of the deadliest killers in history? Nothing, because smallpox isn’t adapted to alligators. ”

                What happens if you plant the small pox virus on 10 humans? Will ALL 10 catch small pox? to the same degree? and will all 10 die?

                The ones who come through: reason?

                Incidentally, the antibodies produced by the blood nullified the HIV virus!!

                “Lifespans have increased, children no longer die, infectious diseases are generally inconveniences rather than lethal fears. And your concern is what exactly?”

                My fear is that under the guise of science, we are doing it the wrong way!!! For example, change places of an 18 year old vaccinated American from Colorado (?) with an 18 year non-vaccinated Somalian to see the effect of surroundings on the health the 2 and their capability to sustain in the unknown environment.
                You can predict the outcome?
                This is exactly how the immune system works: genetics and by adapting.

              2. Windriven says:

                lowball, you should shut your stunningly ignorant pie hole long enough to read some history about life and disease in the time before widespread vaccination. Even today, look at the upsurge in polio in Syria as the vaccination program crumbled under the weight of civil war.

                You might be able to mount a thoughtful argument that widespread agricultural and unnecessary clinical uses of antibiotics has dumbed down our immune systems. But not vaccination.

                Watch a video of an infant with pertussis. Read about those crippled in their youth by polio. Count the millions who died over the years of smallpox.

                Really, are you sane?

              3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                What happens if you plant the small pox virus on 10 humans? Will ALL 10 catch small pox? to the same degree? and will all 10 die?

                Depending on the strain, year, and health of the people, more or less will die. But generally the lethality of smallpox infection was around 30%. Do you have any kids? Do you have three kids? How would you feel if one of them died? Because what you’re saying is “as long as an infection isn’t 100% lethal, it’s OK.” Frankly, fuck that and fuck you. You may casually dismiss diseases you don’t have to worry about because they only kill 1/1,000, or only the poor and malnourished, but I assure you – every single death is a friend, father, mother, sister, brother, son or daughter to somebody, and the death matters to them.

                Do you know how many people die of smallpox vaccination? None, because smallpox is extinct. Do you know how many died when smallpox vaccination was a necessity? Approximately one in a million.

                The ones who come through: reason?

                We don’t know, which means we can’t predict who it will be, and that holds for all diseases – there will always be a tiny number of well-nourished, healthy people who die of a normally innocuous diesase – but won’t die of vaccination. And at least part of it is due to the purely random nature of antibody production which sometimes simply fails. It’s certainly not whatever nonsense you believe to be the reason – I’m guessing it’s “malnourishment”, as if wealthy, well-fed aristocrats, clergy and merchants didn’t fear smallpox.

                Smallpox is extinct: reason? Vaccination.

                Incidentally, the antibodies produced by the blood nullified the HIV virus!!

                What’s your point? Those antibodies don’t reach the interior of the CD4+ cells where HIV hides, selectively kills, and eventually emerge from when the body is no longer capable of producing antibodies and dies of AIDS-related infections.

                My fear is that under the guise of science, we are doing it the wrong way!!! For example, change places of an 18 year old vaccinated American from Colorado (?) with an 18 year non-vaccinated Somalian to see the effect of surroundings on the health the 2 and their capability to sustain in the unknown environment.
                You can predict the outcome?
                This is exactly how the immune system works: genetics and by adapting.

                How is vaccination, which has driven a major terror of the world extinct and is doing the same with numerous other diseases, “doing it the wrong way”? What is your alternative? Your painfully ignorant postings reveals a startling ignorance of the immune system and infectious diseases. Yes, malnutrition can impair immunity – but full nutrition isn’t a guarantee of health. Well-fed people still succumb to and die of diseases. The average East Coast Native American was considerably better-fed than the Europeans who first landed, standing a foot taller, straighter, stronger and fitter. Smallpox chewed through them in a devastating fashion.

                But hey, if you’re so convinced, test it! Head out to Africa, find somewhere with an ebola outbreak and let them bleed into your mouth. I mean, you’re probably super healthy with a great diet, I’m sure you’ll survive!

                Idiot.

              4. Sawyer says:

                @Iqbal

                Incidentally, the antibodies produced by the blood nullified the HIV virus!!

                I really, really, REALLY hope this was just a random musing and not something that you’ve thought seriously about. It looks as if you’re suggesting that bringing back smallpox to Africa and Asia would be a sensible option to combat AIDS.

                This is absurd. We already have wonderful tools (antivirals, clean water, condoms, basic education) that work orders of magnitude better than some cockamamie virus spreading scheme at combating AIDS. Why the hell would someone even hint at the idea that smallpox would be a useful public health measure? What century are we living in?

                Seriously lqb, your speculation here would qualify you as a science adviser for Theo Mbeki (not something to be proud of).

              5. Chris says:

                Iqbal, why have you not answered any of my questions? Why are you going on about things that are not measles?

                Try again:

                Why do you think it is better to treat measles rather than preventing it?

                Measles is very infectious, and the only safe way to get immunity is from the MMR vaccine. What other proven methods do you know can prevent measles other than the MMR vaccine?

                For both questions provide PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support your answers.

              6. Iqbal says:

                Sawyer:

                Please read: http://news.nationalgeographic.co.in/news/2008/04/080407-alligator-blood_2.html

                WilliamLawrenceUtridge:

                If you put strengthening of immune system at the center of medical activity, some simple answers will emerge.

                An American with a large back up of scientific medical system is at a loss to sustain in a Somalia. What is the lasting benefit of such medical system?

                With all virus evolving over time, will the vaccinated child with a compromised immune system till be safe?

                Important aspect is to find cures for such diseases so that no child dies. It is well known that the disease provides long term benefits.

                My point is that the present medical thought is completely flawed. The first action of all drugs is to compromise the immune system-that defense nature developed over million of years – all symptoms that show the body is under attack, are removed – fever, blood pressure, headache etc, The underlying reason is missed.

                So how can vaccination be any different? Vaccines do not work with malnourished children as their immune system does not have sufficient ability to take the virus load. So what is more important?

              7. Chris says:

                Iqbal, mice lie, monkeys exaggerate and ferrets are not people… and those are all mammals. Alligators are not mammals. Plus antibiotics do nothing for viral diseases like measles. Do try to take a class in basic biology sometime.

                Now for the third (or fourth) time answer my questions:

                Why do you think it is better to treat measles rather than preventing it?

                Measles is very infectious, and the only safe way to get immunity is from the MMR vaccine. What other proven methods do you know can prevent measles other than the MMR vaccine?

                For both questions provide PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers to support your answers.

              8. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

                If you put strengthening of immune system at the center of medical activity, some simple answers will emerge.

                Really. That’s what you think. Because the immune system is sooooo simple.

                Also, what are the implications of your idea for those with autoimmune disorders?

                With all virus evolving over time, will the vaccinated child with a compromised immune system till be safe?

                Vaccines target conserved areas of viruses (and bacteria, which also cause disease) such that if these areas are so different, the virus essentially ceases to be infectious or even viable.

                A child with a compromised immune system, vaccinated or unvaccinated, requires the protection offered by herd immunity – you’ve just presented a compelling moral reason for universal vaccination, to protect those for whom vaccination is not a protection.

                My point is that the present medical thought is completely flawed.

                Given your apparent complete lack of understanding of the immune system or biolgoy in general, do you really think you are in a position to make this statement? Do you know enough about the body or infectious diseases to make such a pronouncement? Because your naive comments suggest that you don’t.

                The first action of all drugs is to compromise the immune system-that defense nature developed over million of years – all symptoms that show the body is under attack, are removed – fever, blood pressure, headache etc, The underlying reason is missed.

                Um…no. Not all drugs affect the immune system. Some “drugs” are monoclonal antibodies, which are part of the immune system. And many diseases kill not through direct action, but rather because of an over-reaction of the immune system. The 1919 influenza was deadly because the immune system destroyed the lungs. High fevers are deadly because they drive brain proteins to denature, and are a reaction of the immune system, not drugs. Diarrhea is a reaction of the immune system to flush out bacteria and viruses from the gut, and is the number one pediatric killer in developing nations because of hyponatremia and hypokalemia. Cerebral swelling in children in reaction to…some disease I heard about on TWiV, West Nile Virus? is caused by the immune system and is treated with steroids, which reduce the swelling. In the absence of swelling, the disease is not lethal, it’s not even dangerous. Rabies has been treated through medically induced comas, to reduce activity of the immune system in the central nervous system, which is normally 100% lethal. Sometimes the body is the problem.

                Jebus, read a book.

                So how can vaccination be any different?

                You don’t know the difference between vaccines and drugs, and you expect us to take you seriously?

                Vaccines present a killed or attenuated version of the virus or bacteria to the body. The body recognizes the virus or bacteria and produces antigens. Subsequent exposures lead to much more rapid and voluminous antigen production, neutralizing the infection before it can become dangerous. It’s exactly the same mechanism that prevents measles, mumps, rubella, polio, smallpox or any other disease from being lethal, providing you survive your first infection. “Surviving the first infection” is the trick by the way – billions of people were immune to diseases in the past, but parents got to watch a substantial portion of their children die in infancy for the privilege. This activity of the immune system has been understood for decades, it’s basic immunology found in any anatomy and physiology textbook. Read a book. Immunization is the very definition of “strengthening the immune system”, against a specific pathogen, the only definition that is actually true and factual.

                Read a book.

                Vaccines do not work with malnourished children as their immune system does not have sufficient ability to take the virus load. So what is more important?

                So what you’re saying is, we should let children die of vaccine-preventible diseases until they’ve got enough food to eat?

                You asshole.

                Also, exactly how many viral particles are found in each vaccine? How do adjuvants impact the number of viral particles found within each vaccines? What is the load of viral particles like now, compared to say, 20 years ago?

                And really – are you sure that malnourished children don’t benefit from vaccination?

            4. Sawyer says:

              I would suggest people stop responding to lq. The link he provided me did not answer my questions at all. He either isn’t interested in a serious conversation or he doesn’t know how to answer basic yes or no questions.

              1. Windriven says:

                No arguments from me. There are a few commenters who happen by whose ignorance is so all-encompassing and so painfully refractory that no amount of careful dialog can make a dent.

                The downside though is that lurkers might read the idiocy promulgated by these clowns and suppose the lack of rejoinder to be an admission of some truth that we cannot counter. So I am likely to respond, I guess. But it will not be polite, it will not be gentle.

    2. weing says:

      @Iqbal,
      A few things. Viera Scheibner’s degree is in geology. Measles, like smallpox, has no animal reservoir and can be eliminated just like smallpox. I suppose you were against vaccination for smallpox too. We no longer vaccinate for it as it has been eliminated. Are you for releasing the smallpox virus on the population so that the human population can experience thesimilar benefits you attribute to measles? Once measles becomes eliminated, vaccination for it can also stop.

  17. Young CC Prof says:

    I called it! I said there was no way in heck the British Columbia measles outbreak would respect a piddly little international border, and, to my dismay, I was absolutely right.

    Two different border counties have alerts out, one with 4 cases (same family) one with a single case, who unfortunately visited several public locations during the contagious period.

    Can someone please tell me WHY the Washington State health department waited this long to issue an alert?

    1. Chris says:

      Because they are handled at the county level. Plus it takes time for the person to find out they have measles, alert their doctor, who then alerts the county health department. See this timeline:
      http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/news/2014/14032801.aspx

      Oh, and checking on the Washington State Health Department, there is a notice on a San Juan County measles case, plus the recent massive landslide.

      By the way, the second Whatcom County case is someone living in the same house at the first.

      1. Young CC Prof says:

        I meant that Washington State should not have waited for local cases to act. I understand that identifying and confirming cases takes time.

        When it became clear that the Fraser Valley outbreak in Canada was large, spreading and just a few miles from the border, THAT was when they should have started warning people to check their vaccination status, warning health facilities to watch for cases, etc. (Actually, I don’t know if they warned hospitals. But they didn’t say boo to the general public.)

        The probability of the outbreak crossing into Washington was approximately 100%, and they should have been proactive.

        1. Chris says:

          You should email them about that.

          In the meantime, a massive landslide is demonstrating how county politics is deadly. Whatcom County was once a center of the northwest “patriot” movement, and is still anti-government anything (read
          In God’s Country: The Patriot Movement and the Pacific Northwest
          by David A. Neiwert).

    2. Chris says:

      I caught some local news, lots of stuff in measles awareness. Jammed in with more reports on the Oso landslide.

  18. Jane says:

    There is no question that there are certain diseases that demand vaccination, polio and tetanus among them. However, based on the success of SOME vaccines, the medical community ignores any suggestion that any harm can be caused by ANY vaccine. This “more is better” mentality led to an upsurge in shingles following the mass vaccination for chicken pox and well over 1000 cases of lifelong narcolepsy/catalepsy following the Pandemrix vaccine in Europe. Yes, some vaccines are necessary, but no vaccine is benign.

    1. Sawyer says:

      Ignores? The only reason we know those links exist (and I think the Pandremix one is still rather sketchy) is because scientists and doctors carefully study the pharmacology and statistical evidence behind vaccinations. Those potential downsides of vaccines were not identified by anti-vaxxers, but by legitimate research institutions working with industry and government regulators. Both of the examples you gave actually disprove the idea that the medical establishment is ignoring problems with vaccines.

      This is sort of like claiming the medical community ignores the safety of pregnant women because of thalidomide.

    2. Harriet Hall says:

      @Jane,

      “the medical community ignores any suggestion that any harm can be caused by ANY vaccine.”

      Nonsense! That is demonstrably untrue. In fact, everything we know about harms caused by vaccines comes from the medical community.

      “upsurge in shingles” – was not because of chickenpox vaccine. See http://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/news/20131202/chickenpox-vaccine-not-responsible-for-rise-in-shingles-study-says It has been theorized that there might be a temporary increase in shingles, but if enough people got vaccinated, shingles would be eradicated.

      “narcolepsy following Pandemrix” – Your example demolishes your own claim: this is strong evidence that the medical community doesn’t ignore any suggestion of harm from vaccines. It was reported by the medical community in the medical literature and has even been covered by Steven Novella on this very blog. http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/pandemrix-and-narcolepsy/

      “some vaccines are necessary”
      No vaccine is “necessary.” We could let nature take its course. Instead, we choose to reduce the morbidity and mortality from vaccine-preventable diseases.

      “no vaccine is benign”
      Vaccines are a hell of a lot more benign than the diseases they prevent.

    3. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      Jane, the opinion of the medical community is that the currently licensed vaccines, based on current knowledge (both of which change over time) indicates that the risks of vaccination are orders of magnitude less than the risks of the diseases they prevent. The opinion is never that the risks are zero, as any time you have had to sign a slip to get a vaccine would indicate (or read a vaccine insert, or asked your doctor, or went to the CDC website for information on specific vaccines).

      This careful risk assessment changes as more evidence comes in. The most salient examples – smallpox vaccinations no longer occur, and in the first world, polio vaccines are of the less effective, less convenient injected-killed version, rather than the much easier to transport and deliver live-attenuated version. I know why, do you? The pertussis vaccine was changed from a more effective cellular (cell wall actually) variant to the current acellular version because of safety concerns. Real ones, not fake “autism” ones.

      You should learn more of the subject you are criticizing.

  19. Chris says:

    “the medical community ignores any suggestion that any harm can be caused by ANY vaccine. ”

    Please post the link and quote where any author of this blog has denied the risks of vaccines. There is even a CDC page detailing the risks of the MMR vaccine:
    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/Vaccines/MMR/MMR.html

    The issue is relative risk, and this article has examples of the risk of the vaccine being exaggerated, while the harm from measles downplayed.

  20. Respect says:

    Wow! I’m always amazed how people on both sides of this subject are so extreme.

    The real issue in the vaccine industry is that the pharmaceutical companies who are making billions selling and marketing vaccines and the government agencies who are in charge of policy and safety of vaccines have a morally questionable relationship. Pharmaceutical companies spend big $$$ lobbying for their cause. And just as an example of the too cozy relationship between politics and big business, the former head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding (Director from 2002-2009) stepped down from her position and went to work for Merck’s multi-billion dollar global vaccine business. These issues of murky ethics have a HUGE bearing on public confidence and safety of vaccines.
    The vast majority of people questioning vaccine safety are not interested in abolishing vaccines and/or bringing back illness. They simply want better standards of safety and transparency in this industry. BUT, just as the NRA preys on people’s fears and reduces those asking for better gun safety to untrue stereotypes, people asking for higher standards of safety and health are reduced to stereotypes.

    Here is a study published very recently in the Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine discussing evidence that links inflammatory diseases (i.e. diabetes, asthma, autism, auto-immune illnesses, food allergies…) to vaccine induced immune system overload.
    http://www.omicsonline.com/open-access/vaccine-induced-immune-overload-and-the-resulting-epidemics-of-type-diabetes-and-metabolic-syndrome-1747-0862.S1-025.php?aid=24058

    Vaccine companies do NOT test all the possible combinations of vaccines for safety in prelicensure studies. This is a fact and is even stated in the VAERS website: “The numerous possible combinations of vaccines (as well as drugs and biologics) that may be concomitantly administered with the new vaccine may not have been represented in the prelicensure trials.” This means that the safety of vaccines given in combination is being tested on children. This is unacceptable!

    I have talked to numerous public health officials and infectious disease physicians and they ALL agree that this topic is extremely complex and is not a black and white issue. There are risks on both sides. They ALL agree that every parent needs to educate themselves on the risks and benefits of vaccines and their family’s genetic history before making a vaccine decision.

    So please, stop bullying, berating, and trying to silence the people who have questions and want this unscrupulous industry to be cleaned up.

    1. Chris says:

      “The real issue in the vaccine industry is that the pharmaceutical companies who are making billions selling and marketing vaccines and the government agencies who are in charge of policy and safety of vaccines have a morally questionable relationship. Pharmaceutical companies spend big $$$ lobbying for their cause”

      Is it bullying to ask you how that works financially? Please provide the economic savings comparing if we stopped vaccinated and just treated for the diseases. Like what is the comparison of providing each child two MMR vaccines and then treating one out ten who get measles who end up in the hospital. (presently 15% of those who have caught measles this year in the USA have needed hospital care, see: Measles — United States, January 1–May 23, 2014).

      Please present the data to counter this paper: Economic Evaluation of the Routine Childhood Immunization Program in the United States, 2009.

      By the way, please stick to PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers. Do not link to “pay to publish” journals like your OMICS paper.

      “This is a fact and is even stated in the VAERS website: “The numerous possible combinations of vaccines (as well as drugs and biologics) that may be concomitantly administered with the new vaccine may not have been represented in the prelicensure trials.” This means that the safety of vaccines given in combination is being tested on children. This is unacceptable! ”

      I just searched the official VAERS website under the Health and Human Service government URL, and those words were not found. Please tell us where those words exist. Because the words I see before you enter the official website are: “VAERS is a passive reporting system, meaning that reports about adverse events are not automatically collected, but require a report to be filed to VAERS. VAERS reports can be submitted voluntarily by anyone, including healthcare providers, patients, or family members. Reports vary in quality and completeness. They often lack details and sometimes can have information that contains errors.”… and on and on.

      1. Respect says:

        -How is it in any way, shape, or form ethical for a person to step down from a government position where they are making decisions on vaccine policy and safety studies and funding right into a cozy and lucrative job with a huge vaccine manufacturing company? Do you not understand the issues in this kind of situation?
        -Here is the link to the John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health about VAERS site and system where this statement came from :
        “The numerous possible combinations of vaccines (as well as drugs and biologics) that may be concomitantly administered with the new vaccine may not have been represented in the prelicensure trials.”
        http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/VAERS.htm
        Are you saying you were not aware of this fact? It is a fact.
        -The Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine is a reputable International peer-reviewed journal.

        1. AdamG says:

          The Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine is a reputable International peer-reviewed journal.

          Actually, this isn’t true at all. OMICS absolutely deserves their spot on Beall’s list of predatory open-access journals: http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/

        2. Chris says:

          That is not the official VAERS website, this is:
          http://vaers.hhs.gov/index

          This is the official portal to the database:
          http://vaers.hhs.gov/data/index

          What do you need to read and understand before using that database?

          Now answer my question: how is not using the MMR vaccine cheaper? Is it better to treat measles than to prevent it? Provide that data that directly contradicts the two links I provided.

        3. Chris says:

          There is more about that paper you posted, other than it being in a shoddy predatory pay to publish journal: It was written by a patent troll.

          Classen is not a qualified reputable researcher.

          If you think he is more reputable than Dr. Gerberding, then you have some screwed up priorities. Plus a warped sense on time sequence. How was she supposed to influence the CDC before working for Merck? Which is where she went after she lost her position at the CDC. Where was she supposed to get work? A fast food restaurant?

          Now if you believe there is something wrong with the MMR, then post the PubMed indexed studies by reputable qualified researchers with that evidence. Do not try it by saying someone left to find work elsewhere, or that some random “study” claims vaccines cause some nebulous thing.

          Oh, and by the way, Classen is wrong:

          Pediatrics. 2001 Dec;108(6):E112
          Childhood vaccinations, vaccination timing, and risk of type 1 diabetes mellitus.

          You can find more studies from the Vaccine Safety Datalink program here:
          http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/library/vsd_pubs.html

        4. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

          -How is it in any way, shape, or form ethical for a person to step down from a government position where they are making decisions on vaccine policy and safety studies and funding right into a cozy and lucrative job with a huge vaccine manufacturing company? Do you not understand the issues in this kind of situation?

          You might have a point if it went the other way – private to public, but what are your ethical objections? Such a person would understand the FDA approval process, and should be barred from using their knowledge and connections to manipulate or subvert the drug approval process, but using their knowledge to find appropriate channels in order to expedite approval is valid and useful to nearly all parties. The real problems of Big Pharma are regards publication bias, and it doesn’t matter where you worked before or after – if they bury a trial, there’s not much that can be done aside form litigation to uncover it.

          http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/VAERS.htm
          Are you saying you were not aware of this fact? It is a fact.

          We know that the VAERS database has no quality controls and anybody can add anything to it. That rather argues against it being a useful source of information. Further, noting that “not all vaccines have been tried in all combinations” is not magical evidence that combination vaccines are dangerous. You are over-applying the precautionary principle here in a way that would make vaccination more difficult, more painful and less patient-friendly, and the only entities that benefit from this are bacteria, viruses, and Big Pharma (multidose vials are much less profitable than single-dose). How do you feel about your actions helping Pfizer pad it’s bottom line? I think it’s disgraceful and a little sad that you aren’t aware of how your paranoia is helping the very entities you so apparently loathe.

    2. WilliamLawrenceUtridge says:

      The real issue in the vaccine industry is that the pharmaceutical companies who are making billions selling and marketing vaccines and the government agencies who are in charge of policy and safety of vaccines have a morally questionable relationship. Pharmaceutical companies spend big $$$ lobbying for their cause. And just as an example of the too cozy relationship between politics and big business, the former head of the CDC, Dr. Julie Gerberding (Director from 2002-2009) stepped down from her position and went to work for Merck’s multi-billion dollar global vaccine business.

      Notice how you’ve never seen anyone with polio, or in an iron lung, or with smallpox, or measles, or tetanus? See, all the unethical business practices and gerrymandering of drug approvals and evidence aside – vaccination does work, and Big Pharma doesn’t need to be ethical to produce a safe and effective vaccine. It would be much, much better if ethics were actually a primary concern, but it’s not. Fortunately, fear of the public relations disaster of an error in vaccine manufacturing keeps them on the straight and narrow, which means you don’t have to worry about your kids spending their entire lives in a mechanical ventilator.

      These issues of murky ethics have a HUGE bearing on public confidence and safety of vaccines.

      Perhaps public confidence, but “ethics” doesn’t make vaccines any safer or more dangerous – manufacturing practices and standards do that. And say what you want about Big Pharma, they’re deceptive assholes, but they have definitely figured out how to produce a consistent product for a low price – and thank the FSM because I don’t want to think about a world with endemic polio.

      Here is a study published very recently in the Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine discussing evidence that links inflammatory diseases (i.e. diabetes, asthma, autism, auto-immune illnesses, food allergies…) to vaccine induced immune system overload.

      Here’s Paul Offit pointing out how stupid that statement is:

      http://www.historyofvaccines.org/content/blog/video-do-vaccines-overwhelm-infant-immune-system

      Vaccine companies do NOT test all the possible combinations of vaccines for safety in prelicensure studies.

      So what? The amount of antigen and adjuvant in each vaccine is minimal, and they aren’t given in random combinations – the vaccine schedule was assembled by an expert panel by the CDC. Follow the vaccine schedule and you minimize your children’s chances of an adverse event or ineffective vaccine. These people are far, far smarter than you are, nearly all are academics, and you should trust them.

      I have talked to numerous public health officials and infectious disease physicians and they ALL agree that this topic is extremely complex and is not a black and white issue.

      Two points:

      1) Vaccine safety and efficacy is rather black-and-white; they are safe and effective (and should be used) or they are not (and shouldn’t). Public perception and maximizing uptake – that’s very complicated, but the safety and efficacy of vaccination is unquestionable as a whole, and even individual vaccines are among the more studied medications in the world.

      2) Why are you turning the issue, which you admit is complicated, into a simple narrative of good and evil?

      So please, stop bullying, berating, and trying to silence the people who have questions and want this unscrupulous industry to be cleaned up.

      It’d be a lot easier if people didn’t show up and say stupid things like “because Big Pharma is greedy, vaccines don’t work”. If people actually looked at the nuance and evidence rather than making fallacious statements on the basis of paranoia and knee-jerk distrust of corporations, perhaps they would get their questions answered. We get the same litany of fallacies – Big Pharma is Evil, Too Many Too Soon, Green My Vaccine, never do any of the people who show up and bleat these tropes like mindless sheep show any evidence of even reading both sides of the issue. Every objection or factual correction is met with “Big Pharma”, which is another way of saying “I’m not interested in any evidence because I’ve already made up my mind. Well great – then go somewhere else, because here we are interested in the evidence.

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