At Forbes, Emily Willingham knocks down an old story that the CDC is hiding a vaccine-autism link. At Livescience, Mark Lallanilla describes how the vaccine theory is hurting people.
The latest measles threat started when an infected student at the University of California, Berkeley, rode the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train system earlier this month, possibly exposing hundreds of thousands of people to the disease, the Los Angeles Times reports.
And in a worrisome trend, it's the college-educated residents of affluent areas who are skipping vaccinations. "It's that whole natural, BPA-free, hybrid-car community that says, 'We're not going to put chemicals in our children,'" Dr. Nina Shapiro, of UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, told Salon.com. [5 Dangerous Vaccination Myths]
Some observers are surprised that many of the parents who are deciding against vaccinating their children aren't from poor or marginalized communities, but rather in some of the wealthiest enclaves in America.
"One of Malibu's three elementary schools reported that just 58 percent of its kindergartners were up to date on their vaccinations," Shapiro wrote, noting that some private schools have vaccination rates as low as 20 percent. "Parents are willingly paying up to $25,000 a year to schools at which fewer than one in five kindergartners has been immunized against … measles, polio, meningitis and pertussis."
Even in places where vaccinations are required, exemptions are easily obtained for religious or other reasons. Some people, it seems, have forgotten how devastating many communicable diseases are.
"When I was in medical school, pertussis was discussed primarily in the past tense," Shapiro wrote. "We learned about how whooping cough had taken the lives of many people in the 1930s, before a vaccine was available. It felt like ancient history."
"But now, pertussis has made a comeback in California and other states, causing severe illness in kids and adults," she wrote. "Children have died.". From KQED's California Report:
First the flu, then whooping cough and now measles. State health officials announced Friday morning that the state has 15 confirmed cases, compared with just two at this time last year.
Of the 15 cases, three are in people who traveled to the Philippines, where a large outbreak is occurring, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Two more cases are in recently returned travelers from India, where measles is endemic. Nearly half of the cases — seven — are in people who were “intentionally not vaccinated,” said Dr. Gil Chavez, state epidemiologist with the CDPH.
“It’s very clear to anyone that’s been following the issue that there’s no information that supports the theory that vaccines are harmful to kids, and that any link to long-term problems, such as autism, has been debunked,” Chavez said.