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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Measles, Death, and Immunization

Kim Christensen reports at The Los Angeles Times:
Three days after Gov. Jerry Brown signed one of the nation's strictest mandatory vaccination bills, several hundred opponents rallied in Santa Monica on Friday and vowed to repeal it.

Speakers at the rally included Andrew Wakefield, whose 1998 study in the medical journal Lancet claimed a possible link between the measles vaccine and autism. The study was later debunked as fraudulent and retracted, but Wakefield remains a hero in the anti-vaccination movement.

"I have been in this for 20 years and I will fight this battle until I die, because your children are worth fighting for," he told the crowd, which gave him a rousing ovation.

Tony Muhammad, student Western regional minister in the nation of Islam, invited the audience to join in a multicultural, multi-religious effort to repeal the vaccination bill.

"I will be damned if I'll let anyone come into my house and tell me what to do with my children," he said.
Frank Bruni writes at The New York Times:
The anti-vaccine agitators can always find a renegade researcher or random “study” to back them up. This is erudition in the age of cyberspace: You surf until you reach the conclusion you’re after. You click your way to validation, confusing the presence of a website with the plausibility of an argument.
Although the Internet could be making all of us smarter, it makes many of us stupider, because it’s not just a magnet for the curious. It’s a sinkhole for the gullible.
It renders everyone an instant expert. You have a degree? Well, I did a Google search!
Vaccine opponents are climate-change deniers with less gluten and more Prada, chalking up the fact that they’re in a minority to the gutless groupthink of the majority.
They’ve learned that as soon as you allege collusion and conspiracy, you’ve come up with a unified theory that explains away all opposition and turns your lonely stance into a courageous one.
A woman killed by measles in Washington state had been vaccinated against the disease as a child but succumbed because she had a compromised immune system, a local health official told a TV station.

The woman's death was the first from measles in the U.S. in 12 years and the first in the state in 25 years.

The case wasn't related to a recent outbreak that started at Disneyland and triggered a national debate about vaccinations, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Officials said it was a different strain.

The Washington woman lacked some of the measles' common symptoms, such as a rash, so the infection wasn't discovered until an autopsy, department spokesman Donn Moyer said Thursday.

Dr. Jeanette Stehr-Green, the Clallam County health officer, told KOMO-TV in Seattle that the woman had been vaccinated as a child, but because she had other health problems and was taking medications that interfered with her response to an infection, she was not protected.