The ugly side of the autism and vaccines debate is showing its dangerous face in the San Diego area where 12 children have fallen ill with measles. 3 of the children are too young to have received the measles vaccine but 9 were children whose parents refused to let them be inoculated against the measles. Some parents believe that vaccines are connected to increases in autism rates. The belief is not supported by the scientific and medical communities which maintain that the evidence in support of a vaccine autism connection does not exist. The New York Times News Service reports:
"Measles, almost wholly eradicated in the United States through vaccines, can cause pneumonia and brain swelling, which in rare cases can lead to death. "
In 1991, less than 1 percent of children in the states with personal-belief exemptions went without vaccines based on the exemption; by 2004, the most recent year for which data are available, the percentage had increased to 2.54 percent, said Saad B. Omer, an assistant scientist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.