February 9, 2013

Herd immunity

Another example of the anti-vaccine stupidity rearing it's ugly head. From the London Daily Mail:
Measles cases at 18-year high because parents are failing to get children vaccinated
Cases of measles are at a record high, health officials have warned.

In 2012, there were 2,016 cases of the potentially deadly disease in babies, children and adults in England and Wales.

This makes it the biggest outbreak since cases were first formally recorded almost 20 years ago.

The total is more than six times that of 2002 - and almost 40 times higher than 1998, when just 56 cases were documented.
I first posted about this in 2004. Dr. Wakefield is the idiot who published his "research" in The Lancet -- an influential British medical journal back in 1998. In 2004, The Lancet retracted the paper and said:
�In my view, if we had known the conflict of interest Dr Wakefield had in this work, I think that would have strongly affected the peer reviewers about the credibility of this work, and in my judgement it would have been rejected.�
Back in 2006, Dr. Wakefield:
Andrew Wakefield, the doctor behind the scare over a potential link between the MMR jab and autism in children, is to face four charges relating to unprofessional conduct at the General Medical Council, it is reported today.

Mr. Wakefield, a surgeon who became a gut specialist, could be struck off the medical register and debarred from practising in the UK if the GMC finds him guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Following the publication of a research paper in the Lancet by Mr Wakefield and colleagues in February 1998 - which suggested a tentative link between the immunisation at the age of 18 months, a bowel disorder called Crohn's disease, and autism - many parents became anxious over the safety of the measles, mumps and rubella, or MMR, vaccine.
In January of 2010, the General Medical Council reported:
Continuing a month of skeptical victories, the UK�s General Medical Council has found that Andrew Wakefield � the founder of the modern antivaccination movement � acted �dishonestly and irresponsibly� when doing the research that led him to conclude that vaccinations were linked with autism.
In May of 2010, Dr. Wakefield became just plain Andy Wakefield:
A U.K. medical regulator revoked the license of the doctor who first suggested a link between vaccines and autism and spurred a long-running, heated debate over the safety of vaccines.

Ending a nearly three-year hearing, Britain's General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield guilty of �serious professional misconduct� in the way he carried out his research in the late 1990s. The council struck his name from the U.K.'s medical register.
And finally, the US Courts put a stake through the heart with a ruling in March of 2010
'Vaccines court' rejects mercury-autism link in 3 test cases

The finding supports a broad scientific consensus that the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal does not cause autism, and will likely disappoint parents who are convinced otherwise.
The idea that parents are still clinging to this nugget of horrible science is saddening. They put their children at risk over a bad paper published by a fraudulent doctor (Wakefield was on the payroll of a legal group that was looking to sue vaccine manufacturers) For those that do not understand what Herd Immunity is all about, the Wikipedia page is good. Posted by DaveH at February 9, 2013 1:11 PM
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