Friday, March 21, 2008

Autism and Vaccines - Measles Outbreak in San Diego

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.


Suzanne said...

Measles is not that serious a condition. I had it when I was a kid and so did my brother.

There are many reasons why parents don't vaccinate their kids. It may not have to do with autism.

Unknown said...


I also had measles as a child. The fact that you and I did not have the more serious consequences that CAN arise from measles does not mean that the disease itself is not serious. Medical sources indicate that swelling of the brain and death can result from measles in some cases. That makes it serious to me.

In individual cases there may be other reasons why parents refuse vaccinations for their children but the alleged link to autism has been documented to be one of those reasons.

Maya M said...

I quite like this post and also your reply to Suzanne's comment.
There are legitimate reasons to not vaccinate a child - e.g. children with some immunodeficiencies shouldn't receive some live vaccines.
So it is twice important that all children (and adults) around are vaccinated, to guarantee herd immunity. Because, if a child's immune system is so weak that can be overwhelmed by the attenuated pathogens in vaccines, imagine what will happen if the antivaccine hysteria destroys herd immunity and allows the immunodeficient individuals catch the wild-type pathogen.
Think about those three babies. What was their fault, and their parents' fault, that the anti-science prejudice of other people led to measles virus circulating and infecting them?
In earlier times when people were more rational and had better sense of duty, and governments had more responsibilities and didn't capitulate to any stupid demand, people vaccinated their children despite the occasional severe complications of some vaccines.
Smallpox vaccine was known to have such complications, and still people vaccinated until the virus was eradicated.
Live polio vaccine was also known to have severe complications, but this didn't deter people. In my country, it was replaced by a safer (and less efficient) vaccine only a year ago.
Unfortunately, people forgot the toll taken by pathogens and believed that we are living in a friendly and safe world where the only perils can come from the bad Big Pharma.
If governments continue to be attacked by lawsuits and other campaigns against vaccinations, I can only recommend them to cancel vaccinations and let people confront the natural diseases, with all of their consequences. Perhaps this will bring some back to their senses.
(Sorry for the length and tone of this comment.)

Suzanne said...

You can have serious consequences from the common cold and the flu, that doesn't mean it's life-threatening for the average person.

Unknown said...


I find your last comment chilling. There is no dispute that measles can cause pneumonia, brain swelling and death.

It is your nonchalant dismissal of these consequences for some children that I find very cold and heartless.

Anonymous said...

Actually, you need to go straight to the science.

The U.S. government has just concluded that Hannah Poling became autistic due to her vaccinations and are awarding damages to her family. There have been other cases (12 that we now know of) in which the child's autism was determined to be vaccine-induced.

Besides the known neurotoxins of mercury and aluminum, vaccines contain many other toxic ingredients, including antifreeze.

A link between thimerosal, the mercury preservative in vaccines, and any number of neurological disorders was in fact discovered and discussed at Simpsonwood, California in the year 2000 at a meeting held by the CDC.

They agreed that the U.S. vaccination schedule would not be disrupted by this fact, no matter how many children were harmed.

Please consider a look at these links for further discussion of studies that do show a link between vaccines (and/or just the thimerosal) and autism: (not .com)
for more recent news.

Please look carefully--not just at the home pages or the testimonials--but do follow the links right back to some of the science.

That there are other causes of autism is certain, but the explosion of autism we see today cannot be explained by genetic causes alone.

Most autism diagnosed today is regressive, and due to environmental damage that occurs after birth.

Terri Lewis

P.S. I am not against vaccines, I only believe they should be safer, fewer (against very deadly diseases only) and started at a later age than is done in the U.S.

Maya M said...

Terri Lewis, please don't tie science to your antivaxer obsession.
Suzanne, flu IS life-threatening. It kills more than 30000 people per year (more than AIDS) in USA alone:

Maya M said...

By the way, infection with measles virus in children under 2 can result in progressive fatal encephalitis years later:
This, to my opinion, is quite a strong argument against postponing the MMR vaccine to a later age.
Generally, increasing the age of vaccination will create a pool of unvaccinated young children, which will inevitably destroy the herd immunity.

Anonymous said...

Maya M.,

As I stated very clearly, I am not against vaccines, only for safer vaccines, fewer of them, and starting later than is now done in the U.S.

It does no good to distort what is being said by any of us.

Thank you.

Terri Lewis