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Monday, December 24, 2018

Measles Cases Soar in Europe

In The Politics of Autism, I look at the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism.

Sarah Boseley at The Guardian:
A growing anti-vaccine movement in Europe, fuelled by social media and anti-establishment populists, is putting lives at risk and may be to blame for measles outbreaks surging to a 20-year high, health experts are warning.

A fresh Guardian analysis of WHO data shows that measles cases in Europe will top 60,000 this year - more than double that of 2017 and the highest this century. There have been 72 deaths, twice as many as in 2017.

Health experts warn that vaccine sceptics are driving down immunisation rates for measles, HPV against cervical cancer, flu and other diseases - and that their opinions are increasingly being amplified by social media and by rightwing populists equally sceptical of medical authorities.

Anti-vaxxers in the US celebrated the presidential election of Donald Trump, who has expressed scepticism over vaccines and invited Andrew Wakefield – the discredited gastroenterologist who has claimed the MMR vaccine was linked to autism – to his inaugural ball. Trump was also said to have been considering setting up a committee to investigate vaccines under the vocal anti-vaxxer Robert F Kennedy Jnr.