Coming to a Shopping Mall Near You
The vaccine scare being stirred up by people who blame vaccines for childhood autistic disorders may be starting to have a serious impact on public health. The Nassau County Department of Health today announced that a child with measles visited seven stores in a Cedarhurst, New York shopping area last Thursday. The county is offering measles hyperimmune globulin–a post-exposure prophylactic–to people who may have been exposed to this most contagious of contagious diseases. According to a public health source, the un-immunized boy was exposed to a sick aunt on a visit to Jerusalem, and became ill a few days after returning to the states.
Measles transmission stopped within the United States about a decade ago, but we still get cases imported from less-vaccinated countries–particularly Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Israel. This is the third outbreak of measles in the past few months linked to unvaccinated children. In San Diego, an outbreak started in January in a community center where many parents of autistic children have been outspoken in their suspicion of vaccines. A second outbreak is going on now in Arizona.
Measles is a very serious disease. Before 1963, when the first measles vaccines came on the market, it killed 1 in 1,000 people it infected, and caused several thousand cases of brain damage every year in the U.S. The mortality rate reaches 10 percent in poor, undernourished populations in the Third World, and 30 percent in the immunocompromised. It’s also damned hard and expensive to stop a measles outbreak. If you’ve never had measles or a proper vaccine against it, you have a 9 out of 10 chance of getting the disease if you spend any time in the same room with a contagious measles patient. Since many of the earliest vaccines against measles didn’t work that well, there are probably more of us vulnerables out there than we think–and the disease is much worse in adults than in children.
Jenny McCarthy, the model and current poster child of the anti-vaccine movement, gave an anti-medicine rant on Larry King Show last week in which she said the measles vaccine was dangerous, and that she’d take measles over autism any day. Well, who wouldn’t, if vaccines caused autism? They don’t. Thanks, Jen-meister.