How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases

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For most of us, measles and whooping cough are diseases of the past. You get a few shots as a kid and then hardly think about them again.

But that’s not the case in all parts of the world — not even parts of the U.S.
As an interactive map from the Council on Foreign Relations illustrates, several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. Their resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.

Since 2008 folks at the think tank CFR have been plotting all the cases of measles, mumps, rubella, polio and whooping cough around the world. Each circle on the map represents a local outbreak of a particular disease, while the size of the circle indicates the number of people infected in the outbreak.

As you flip through the various maps over the years, two trends clearly emerge: Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S.

Childhood immunization rates plummeted in parts of Europe and the U.K. after a 1998 study falsely claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was linked to autism.

That study has since been found to be fraudulent. But fears about vaccine safety have stuck around in Europe and here in the U.S.

Viruses and bacteria have taken full advantage of the immunization gaps.

In 2011, France reported a massive measles outbreak with nearly 15,000 cases. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Somalia suffered larger measles outbreaks that year.

In 2012, the U.K. reported more than 2,000 measles cases, the largest number since 1994.

Here in the U.S., the prevalence of whooping cough shot up in 2012 to nearly 50,000 cases. Last year cases declined to about 24,000 — which is still more than tenfold the number reported back in the early ’80s when the bacteria infected less than 2,000 people.
Written By: MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF, NPR
continue to source article at npr.org

41 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by God fearing Atheist:

      Evolution is a cruel mistress.

      not according to the antivaxxers i see posting almost daily now. nature is a lovely nurturing mistress who cures all childhood ilnesses gently and efficiantly while vaccines are exclusively designed to make evil pharma corps lots of money out of making children difficult to control.

      the fear that parents display is in itself, frightening. the link to autism has been completely disproved but the reason this myth survives is because it appeals to the deepest fear of bad parents, that their children don’t behave properly. sick or dead children are fine, they come with the benefits of peer sympathy but the fear of a child having social difficulties can only carry this much weight if the parents are too self-obsessed to be allowed to procreate.

      sterilizatoin is the best prevention for autism, lets spread that message

  1. I’ve got a query about the map. I’ve had a good look at it for Australia and there are dots over some very sparsely populated areas, which are almost certainly not local outbreaks – at least not over the area the dot occurs. We don’t need to give dangerous kook’s ammunition so it is worth fixing this.

    • In reply to #2 by Grimace:

      I’ve got a query about the map. I’ve had a good look at it for Australia and there are dots over some very sparsely populated areas, which are almost certainly not local outbreaks – at least not over the area the dot occurs. We don’t need to give dangerous kook’s ammunition so it is worth fixing thi…

      It looks like for some diseases they have used the state figures and centred the dot over the centre of the state. Whooping cough is very prevalent. Also for many of these diseases it is the remote communities that suffer the most, some of those are pretty much third world communites.

      • In reply to #8 by Stuart Coyle:

        In reply to #11 by Reckless Money:

        Thanks guys I take your point about the Aboriginal Communities (lets not use the more colloquial local term for them). I’m an Australian and have seen my fair share of these communities and agree they are a disgrace to our country. Unfortunately the state of these camps is not something that can be believed without seeing it. My wife is a social worker and said it is referred to as the fourth world – third world living conditions in a first world country.

        The only first world services the Aboriginal Communities get to “enjoy” are provided by the police, the courts and the Department of Corrective Services.

    • In reply to #2 by Grimace:

      I’ve got a query about the map. I’ve had a good look at it for Australia and there are dots over some very sparsely populated areas, which are almost certainly not local outbreaks – at least not over the area the dot occurs. We don’t need to give dangerous kook’s ammunition so it is worth fixing thi…

      Hi Grimace,

      You might find that a lot of the aboriginal camps have third world level health issues (to our collective shame). I’m guessing, but I wouldn’t be surprised if basic absence of access to normal medical care in rural areas might make that population less likely to be vaccinated and therefore at risk of higher incidences of preventable diseases. There has also been now a couple of decades of hospital closures in the bush in general. So you could have a low or sparse population perfectly willing to be vaccinated (but unable to, or unable to afford to travel the 4 hours to the nearest medical establishment). In this case diseases like this can therefore be over represented in terms of disease load/per capita.

      Also a lot of rural areas in times of drought and economic hardship end up with a situation of farmers being forced off the land and properties being broken up into small blocks and sold to poor people (they were known as blockies when I was teaching bush). Having taught in such a community I can tell you that alcoholism, drug abuse and belief in every form of woo was highly prevalent. At least were I was teaching there was a much much higher rate of anti-vaccers than in the middle class suburb I live in now. Many kids I taught lived in tin sheds, bathed in creeks or dams (our school uniform was brown so those who’s parents rarely washed their clothes rarely- no electricity did not get embarrassed by dirt smeared uniforms) and did their homework by candle light. They often came to school sick and with the nearest doctor over an hours drive away (so not too bad) they did not get to the doctors anything like regularly enough, some didn’t have working cars even so a trip to the doctor involved taking a bus that went out in the morning and back in the evening so you were committing to a whole day unless you could get a lift.

      While I haven’t seen the actual data shown here it would not surprise me in the slightest if it were true.

    • In reply to #2 by Grimace:

      I’ve got a query about the map. I’ve had a good look at it for Australia and there are dots over some very sparsely populated areas, which are almost certainly not local outbreaks – at least not over the area the dot occurs. We don’t need to give dangerous kook’s ammunition so it is worth fixing thi…

      Could herd immunity be a factor with population density, in a way that afflicts sparse populations greater?

    • In reply to #3 by Sample:

      What the hell is “other”!

      Mike (checking my vaccine records…I’m not vaccinated for other!)

      You might be :) Flick through the map from the link in the full article and you’ll see it’s a mishmash of chickenpox, diphtheria, (lots of) typhoid and meningitis. Oh, and 20 cases of Ebola in Uganda…

      Surprised they’ve left off tuberculosis: it was good for 8.6 million cases and 1.3 million deaths in 2012.

      • In reply to #36 by Clay:

        In reply to #5 by phil rimmer:

        This needs plenty of exposure on the media. Perhaps an item on the Bill Maher Show…

        Unfortunately putting it on Bill Maher would be mostly preaching to the choir.

        My joke was that Maher has been somewhat in the antivax camp. His views have been disgraceful.

  2. Where’s the vapid Jenny McCarthy’s voice in all this???? She and Sarah Palin occupy the same category of “idiot” in my classification system. Which is more dangerous is still to be seen.

    • In reply to #7 by crookedshoes:

      Where’s the vapid Jenny McCarthy’s voice in all this???? She and Sarah Palin occupy the same category of “idiot” in my classification system. Which is more dangerous is still to be seen.

      Wouldn’t it be great if some papparazi managed to get pictures of McCarthy sitting in the waiting room of a vaccination clinic wearing huge sunglasses in a futile attempt to hide her identity while she’s getting her kids vaccinated?…

      Please forgive my mean disposition but I just love it when people get caught in their own bullshit.

    • In reply to #7 by crookedshoes:

      Where’s the vapid Jenny McCarthy’s voice in all this???? She and Sarah Palin occupy the same category of “idiot” in my classification system. Which is more dangerous is still to be seen.

      I have posted the link to her Facebook page; no response as yet.

    • Bang on,
      In reply to #7 by crookedshoes:

      Where’s the vapid Jenny McCarthy’s voice in all this???? She and Sarah Palin occupy the same category of “idiot” in my classification system. Which is more dangerous is still to be seen.

  3. “… several diseases that are easily prevented with vaccines have made a comeback in the past few years. …”

    And to think this need not have happened! Issues like this make Plato at his political crankiest seem quite reasonable. Time for a mug of tea!

  4. Blimey!

    You can’t turn your back for a minute.

    Why?

    Because the viruses never do. They’re always watching us, and we’re kidding ourselves if we think that we have the upper hand.

    If anyone rules the World it’s these little buggers.

    And to think, we have the means at our disposal to deal with them, but some ignoramuses are spreading rumours and by so doing causing deaths; in the hundreds of thousands!

    The article doesn’t lay blame anywhere specifically but a few names do spring to mind.

    Crimes against Humanity? Possibly.

    Certainly gross negligence.

  5. Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

    Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.

    • In reply to #17 by Stevehill:

      Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

      Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.

      How about an earthly jail?

      • In reply to #18 by fsm1965:

        In reply to #17 by Stevehill:

        Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

        Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.

        How about an earthly jail?

        Sadly he is still spouting his shite and is employed by an American Christian hospital – the “Good News Doctor Foundation” presumably to help them spread theirs. He is a doctor though, a former surgeon. Clearly illustrating the fallacy of the argument from authority. So no earthly justice I’m afraid and as to the latter well we know what we think about that.

        • In reply to #20 by mr_DNA:

          He is a doctor though, a former surgeon.

          No he is not. He was struck off, not least for his role in this fraudulent “research” and the wholly unethical means by which he enlisted children to participate in often painful procedures (including lumbar punctures) to “prove” his conclusions.

          Had he sought regulatory approval to carry out this research, it would never have been given.

    • In reply to #17 by Stevehill:

      Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

      There were more people involved in his particular fraud. As far as I’ve discerned it’s similar to the Fred Leuchter affair with Holocaust denial, an idiot celebrated by ideologues and jackal journalists.

    • In reply to being an atheist wouldn’t make heaven or he’ll true. Lol
      to #17 by Stevehill:

      Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

      Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.

    • In reply to #17 by Stevehill:

      Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

      Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.
      That thought has also occured to me.

      • In reply to #30 by madmollysdad:

        In reply to #17 by Stevehill:

        Anyone done a recent body count on avoidable deaths attributable to “Doctor” Andrew Wakefield’s fraud?

        Sometimes I wish I was not an atheist, and that there really was a deepest pit of hell especially reserved for him.
        That thought has also occured to me. The fact that one believes in Hell of any kind provides for that in the here and now.

  6. Sadly he is still spouting his shite and is employed by an American Christian hospital – the “Good News Doctor Foundation” presumably to help them spread theirs. He is a doctor though, a former surgeon. Clearly illustrating the fallacy of the argument from authority. So no earthly justice I’m afraid and as to the latter well we know what we think about that.

    He was struck off the UK medical register as unfit to be a doctor, so naturally he was welcomed by the US quackology faith-heads.

    the “Good News Doctor Foundation”

    Sounds like Newspeak

    List of Newspeak words -
    Duckspeak is a Newspeak term meaning literally to quack like a duck or to speak without thinking. .. … . . .Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak.

  7. The amusing thing is while India in 2008 seems to have a lot of vaccine preventable cases, it is nearly completely gone (only Pakistan seems to show a big dot) in 2013 while the US is increasing.

  8. The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) – Its membership has included senior politicians, more than a dozen Secretaries of State, CIA directors, bankers, lawyers, professors, and senior media figures. Pardon me if I sound skeptical about ANYTHING these criminals put out.

  9. This article seems designed to stir emotions with misleading information and little evidence. It states, “[disease] resurgence coincides with changes in perceptions about vaccine safety.” This is not the same as establishing cause and effect.

    The map identifies a number of geographical locations with ominous pulsing circles that represent disease outbreaks. One wonders whether vaccine doubters have proliferated in many of the highlighted regions.

    The article cites as discredited a single 1998 study that links vaccines to autism. Yet the vaccine-autism link has been identified in other studies, as recently as 2012. And other problems with vaccines have been charged, not the least of which is that they often show no demonstrable effect on disease cure or transmission. In 2010, most California whooping cough patients had been vaccinated. And many individuals have apparently contracted from vaccines the very disease against which they were vaccinated.

    As with so much information that originates from pharmaceutical corporations, independent evaluation is vital. This is becoming increasingly difficult to find. When those fanning the flames of hysteria earn billions of dollars every year from mandatory vaccinations, it is prudent to be skeptical of both their claims of success and their assurances of safety. Having weighed the risks and benefits, I have no interest in getting vaccinated for anything.

  10. Noticing that this post is under the pseudoscience tab, I believe we need a different label for this kind of irrational approach to a subject. It isn’t the irrationality of religion – that’s basically magical thinking – and it’s not the irrational thinking of instinct (Kahneman’s Fast Thinking). It’s not, in my opinion anyway, the same as the gullible acceptance of pseudoscience. It is something else, similar if not the same as the irrationality of conspiracy theories. For sure, charlatans and con-men of all sorts prey on this population of the mistakenly credulous, even to the point of seeking some sort of academic acclaim by getting a fraudulent paper published. But we do need to know how people think, how this kind of irrationality differs from the other forms so as to minimize the damage done. Look at how ineffective we’ve been in reducing religious mania here in the States. If we pointed out that magical thinking, especially about death, is seductive and addicting without arguing about the details of the delusional state, I suspect we’d have been much more successful. Now – how do we present a view of anti-vaccination that will resonate with the appropriate people and awaken a realization that they have been dangerously wrong about it?

  11. Take a wery good look at the map, specially northern Europe. Did you ever ask yourselves, why there are almoust no cases of deseases in this countrys. Let me tell you: they have the least mandated vaccines and a perfect infrastructure. Rings any bells?

    • In reply to #34 by A mini Brus:

      Take a wery good look at the map, specially northern Europe. Did you ever ask yourselves, why there are almoust no cases of deseases in this countrys. Let me tell you: they have the least mandated vaccines and a perfect infrastructure. Rings any bells?

      You are looking at the bits of Scandinavia where nobody lives. (And where viruses seldom thaw out!)

      • In reply to #35 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #34 by A mini Brus:

        Take a wery good look at the map, specially northern Europe. Did you ever ask yourselves, why there are almoust no cases of deseases in this countrys. Let me tell you: they have the least mandated vaccines and a perfect infrastructure. Rings any bells?

        Stevehill:
        You are looking at the bits of Scandinavia where nobody lives. (And where viruses seldom thaw out!)

        Ignorance is the fuel for fear. For your records, northern Europe is considered Sweden, Denmark, Faroe Islands, Finland, Norway, Iceland with app. 26M population.

        And some additional remarks regarding the map:
        If the dots representing the infected people would be in relation with the population of the same country, most of them would not been visible.
        The numbers of infected people are representing only the unvaccinated people, if you add infected people who were vaccinated, the number would almoust double.

  12. There is at least one misleading element in this infographic: according to an article from Science, vol 341, 2 August 2013 (The Pertussis Paradox), large number of whooping cough cases seen in developed countries is due to the adoption of acellular vaccine (in DTaP), which seems not to be as effective for obtaining long-term immunity as the old cellular variant (in DTP).

  13. Muslims and other cults should be allowed Not to inoculate per their religious edicts. As long as they stay in their barns or palaces, free of the ones who don’t involve themselves in the fondling of monkeys, sharpening of religious circumcision equipment, forced inter-tribal marriages and the inane screaming of their favorite incantation while being constipated.

  14. Could somebody please email this article to Jenny McCarthy so that she can go on the TV shows and beg everybody to disregard her previous stream of misinformation. Allow her to revive her career via penitent public admission of wrong. Save the children.

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