Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Vaccine misinformation spreads like insidious virus

Measles have returned. Like an aftershocks from an earthquake, the ripple effect of measles outbreaks across the United States are having devastating consequences.

Since Andrew Wakefield's false findings were published in the prominent medical journal, The Lancet, in 1998, it has unfortunately become "popular" not to vaccinate children against diseases like measles because of the unfounded fear that vaccines are dangerous. The paper was later retracted as the menace and fury of the research community wrought itself on Wakefield's unscientific methods and findings.

In the case of Wakefield's prominent and ludicrous teachings, he deliberately and erroneously stated that the measles, mumps, and rubella (mmr) vaccine caused autism. It cannot be stressed enough how wrong and harmful it is to believe that vaccines are harmful, not least because it puts children at risk of harmful disease but because it puts the unvaccinatable, the sick, and those with weakened immune systems at risk also - they're protected because everyone else is protected.

In a new four part series on medium.com, Leigh Cowart discusses how this line of thinking is reviving diseases long thought dead in Western society, and how those blind and deaf to scientific reason are misleading the ignorant down a dangerous path. Here's an excerpt:
Though best known for its telltale dappled rash, measles is a wildly infectious upper respiratory disease. Like the flu, it’s airborne — and successful. It has a near-perfect infection rate: Put your baby in a room with a measles patient, and 9 times out of 10, measles is coming home with you. In the communal space shared between you and a coughing, sneezing measles-ridden asshole, the sweet oxygenated room air and unavoidable door handles are thought to remain infectious for up to two hours. And measles delivers a double whammy because a person becomes infectious before they even know they have it. Four days prior to the rash is when most people become able to spread the love. Here’s how the virus pulls it off.


[Copyedited 23:40 - last time I write an article on my phone]

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