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Friday, June 7, 2019

Autism, Measles, Vaccines, and Quackery

In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing disease to spread.

On June 5, 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the number of measles cases nationwide so far in 2019 was 1,001. 

Ed Pilkington at The Guardian:
Thousands of American children are being put on homeopathic alternatives to vaccination by practitioners who claim they can prevent measles and “cure” autism, the Guardian has learned.
At least 200 homeopaths in the US are practicing a controversial “therapy” known as Cease that falsely asserts that it has the power to treat and even cure autism. The acronym stands for Complete Elimination of Autistic Spectrum Expression.
The “therapy” relies in part on administering high doses of vitamin C. Advocates falsely say it repairs the harm caused by vaccination – a double untruth as most vaccines are safe and there is no link between vaccines and autism, a condition for which there is no cure.

In addition 250 homeopaths, some of whom also practice Cease, are promoting “homeoprophylaxis” that advertises itself as an “immunological education program”. More than 2,000 American children have been put on the program which claims to build natural immunity against infectious diseases, though there is no scientific evidence that it works.
From the Public Policy Institute of California:
 As the US confronts its worst measles outbreak in more than 20 years, the California Legislature is considering a bill (Senate Bill 276) that would tighten the state’s already strict school immunization law. SB 276 would create a standardized form for parents seeking to medically exempt their children from vaccination and would require state review and tracking of exemption requests.
An overwhelming majority of adults (73%) think that parents should be required to vaccinate their children. Asked about child vaccines to prevent measles, mumps, and rubella, 62 percent of adults say these vaccines are very safe, and another 27 percent say they are somewhat safe. An overwhelming majority (79%) are concerned that the recent outbreak of measles will become more widespread (43% very concerned, 36% somewhat concerned).