Fifteen Years After Autism Panic, a Plague of Measles Erupts

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When the telltale rash appeared behind Aleshia Jenkins's ears, her grandmother knew exactly what caused it: a decision she'd made 15 years earlier.


Ms. Jenkins was an infant in 1998, when this region of southwest Wales was a hotbed of resistance to a vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Many here refused the vaccine for their children after a British doctor, Andrew Wakefield, suggested it might cause autism and a local newspaper heavily covered the fears. Resistance continued even after the autism link was disproved.

The bill has now come due.

A measles outbreak infected 1,219 people in southwest Wales between November 2012 and early July, compared with 105 cases in all of Wales in 2011.

One of the infected was Ms. Jenkins, whose grandmother, her guardian, hadn't vaccinated her as a young child. "I was afraid of the autism," says the grandmother, Margaret Mugford, 63 years old. "It was in all the papers and on TV."

Written By: Jeanne Whalen and Betsy McKay
continue to source article at online.wsj.com

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  1. For people of my generation, mumps, measles and whooping cough were standard events of childhood. They would go through a school. Perhaps a quarter of the kids would be home sick at a time.

    However, those fearing vaccination will also avoid polio. Everyone has forgotten what that did to people.

    When people don’t vaccinate they not only put their own child at risk, they are creating tinder for an epidemic. It is time to fine people who don’t vaccinate $500. Make these irresponsible twits pay for their social vandalism.

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      For people of my generation, mumps, measles and whooping cough were standard events of childhood. They would go through a school. Perhaps a quarter of the kids would be home sick at a time.

      However, those fearing vaccination will also avoid polio. Everyone has forgotten what that did to people….

      ” For people of my generation, mumps, measles and whooping cough were standard events of childhood. “

      Not standard for this generation ( though I remember all ) and a probability exists the the epidemic would be quite large in this unprepared ” herd. “

    • In reply to #1 by Roedy:

      For people of my generation, mumps, measles and whooping cough were standard events of childhood.

      Are you sure MEASLES? Mumps and chicken pox, sure, but measles used to get your whole house quarantined.

  2. I’ve written here about this many times, the little children all being tortured by what were known as “the diseases of childhood,” the long queue at the local health centre when the polio vaccine came, the relief when the needle went into my arm, the fact that every class in school had a disabled polio victim, the long-term consequences of the diseases, including the boy who sat next to me dying last year of post polio effects, and many older people suffering half a century later from the effects of the other clutch of other diseases, not to mention those who died at the time.

    People with no scientific knowledge, or susceptible personalities, are easily bamboozled by pseudo science. Andrew Wakefield should be prosecuted for the mischief he has caused.

  3. when I once questioned, some time ago, a poster on another forum if they were aware of the risk she was putting her child at, who was convinced of the connection due to the size of the font on the daily mail, her response was, word for word; “better a dead child than a half living one”

    this is when i stopped arguing with such apes. not only was the link disproved but even if it were true, the fact is there are parents out there who are still terrified of mental conditions to the point that they’d sacrifice their own for the sake of not having to work a little harder to bring them up. no thought as to how happy an autistic child could be, how productive they could turn out with the right support or how much joy they’d bring to their family, just rather they died a slow horrible death than it turn out a bit different from the other children

    • “Ape” is not an insult. For an individual that cruel, “Ape” would be a compliment. They are not ape nor human…..

      In reply to #3 by SaganTheCat:

      when I once questioned, some time ago, a poster on another forum if they were aware of the risk she was putting her child at, who was convinced of the connection due to the size of the font on the daily mail, her response was, word for word; “better a dead child than a half living one”

      this is when…

  4. First episode of ‘The View’s’ upcoming season: Please make welcome our new host, Jenny Mccarthy! (canned applause and cheers). Our first hot topic – Fifteen years after autism panic… lol

    If Mccarthy would just admit some degree of error of judgment in response, that probably would knock over several bowling pins.

  5. In reply to #7 by Smill:

    In reply to bluebird, post 6… because public more likely to react to that than what Chief Medical Officer might say.

    The sad reality is that they’re probably right.

    I find it both sad and shocking how short term our memories are of disease. People don’t seem to realize that these so called ‘childhood diseases’ actually kill children and adults. These anti-vaxers need a dose of reality but they don’t seem to live in reality so that’s part of the problem.

    So right now we have a return of measles. What next? Smallpox? Polio? My mother remembers when smallpox hit her street when she was young and there was quarantine. Several children died and my aunt became deaf in one ear. Yes lets all go back to that. Lets return to the good ol’ days of short disease ridden lives.

    Naivety will kill off humans quicker than anything else.

  6. aroundtown, smallpox is one of only two viruses (rinderpest is the other) to have been completely eradicated. So while it was a horrible disease that killed 300-500 million people in the 20th century, it isn’t a vaccine we need to worry about anymore. Unless you read the extremely scary (because its extremely true) book The Demon in the Freezer, by Richard Preston (author of the equally great, but equally terrifying book The Hot Zone).
    In reply to #4 by aroundtown:

    I could not possibly agree more with the three previous posters on this issue. I seems that there are those with a short memory of the atrocities of the very recent past. We have the tools to face these maladies with a vaccination and there are those who would balk and cry foul. Just boggles the…

    • In reply to #11 by Prime8:

      aroundtown, smallpox is one of only two viruses (rinderpest is the other) to have been completely eradicated. it isn’t a vaccine we need to worry about anymore.

      Actually, it’s very much alive and well and used in labs every day. My husband used to experiment on smallpox in petri dishes in college. So yes, mere students have access and yes, it could create a lot of havoc if it got released into the population. Just sayin’.

  7. New South Wales, Australia, has passed a law which will fine any childcare centre up to A$4,000 every time they enrol an unvaccinated child who thereby puts the other children at risk, without their or their parents’ consent.

    Putting an unvaccinated child in such an environment is no better, and probably in many ways worse, than filling the room up with cigarette smokers breathing second hand smoke all over them.

    Australia is showing the way here. Of course you have a choice about vaccination: just don’t expect the state to educate the pariah if you choose stupidity.

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