nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Friday, May 6, 2011

Measles Continues To Spread. Thanks, Wakefield, McCarthy, and...Oprah

Just Google the word "measles" to find that the US is not the only country experiencing a big increase in cases, all due to vulnerable unvaccinated children.

This follows in the immediate wake of increased cases of pertussis...for the same reasons.

I blame the people above, among others.  Andrew Wakefield published fraudulent research linking autism to vaccines.  Jenny McCarthy is still convinced (and will be, no matter what) that vaccines caused her child's autism, and Oprah has given McCarthy and others an open forum to reach millions with their scare tactics.

All this, in the face of repeated well-conducted, large-scale, controlled studies that show there is no such link to vaccines.

Someone said that the success of vaccines is the source of their downfall.  As the diseases--which ran rampant--began to disappear, people began to adopt New Age fears about things that are not "natural" or "organic."  (vaccines are organic, of course, but they're have to stick somebody).

I saw a case of measles in medical school, but none since.  I guess I'll have to go back to the textbooks to re-learn the diagnosis and therapy now that people are too stupid to protect their children. 

In my childhood, it was just expected that you caught chicken pox, measles, mumps, and rubella.  I got 'em all.  A few kids died.  It was part of life.  There were also about 100,000 cases of polio every summer, and parents feared greatly.  The vision of rooms full of iron lungs, breathing for children whose respiratory muscles had been paralyzed by the polio virus, was horrifying.

All that's gone now, but it's return was probably inevitable.  An irresponsible media and a handful of wacky advocates were enough to overcome people's ability to reason and to prey on their fears.  We deride primitive man for his irrational fears, and bizarre explanations for what happens to us (demons, witches, curses, etc).

But we're no different, just more technological.

I posted on the vaccine life cycle a long time ago.  The vaccination--disease disappearance--decreased vaccination--disease reappearance process has been recognized for decades.  See that post here.

As one distressed mother told a reporter, she had heard all the warnings about vaccines and thought that childhood illnesses were all pretty benign, anyway.  She didn't have her child vaccinated, and after the child's death, could only say, "I had no idea these illnesses were such a potentially deadly threat."

A tragic way to learn.

Doc D

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