Measles scare in SF. (no) thanks to anti vax whackoes…

It seems that a college student “infected with the contagious disease” (measles) rode on the Bay Area Rapid Transit system last week. This semi-legitimately has the public health folk concerned and they’ve made the usual announcements warning people (10,000? 100,000?) who rode the trains, etc., etc. The BART/gov’t publicity is directly related to two separate issues. The first, of course, is the lack of vaccination due to the [unfavorable descriptive terms deleted] folk like that science and education deficient Hollywood actress who has become a self proclaimed expert on that completely discredited vaccine <-> autism link. Oh, and her cohort in science illiteracy, RFK Jr., who mouths similar claims.

The other issue is the intense fear and possible overreaction that these incidents lead to. While there are measles outbreaks when an infected kid is at a summer camp or a school, I’ve never heard of a similar issue (that’s not to say there haven’t been any) from the more casual and fleeting contact on a subway train.
for more info (which has some zingers about the anti vaccine folk), check out:

14 responses to “Measles scare in SF. (no) thanks to anti vax whackoes…

  1. I almost hate to say it but, people get what they deserve when they take medical advice from people who’s only claim to fame is posing nude or having a famous father…

  2. You say that like listening to someone who poses nude is a bad thing. I’d suggest this requires much closer observation…

  3. One more reason to open those borders, eh?

  4. Jonathan Lizotte

    Yup, completely discredited, except the many, many times the link has been made, one of the latest being this report:

    But I understand how much easier you all find it to keep your head in the sand and blindly follow our benevolent government’s claims of safety. You and your kids are getting what you deserve, 1 out of 80 boys diagnosed. While those of us with non-vaccinated kids have almost zero incidence of autism.

    • That or the definition of autism spectrum disorder has been changed and broadened while public schools have been required to report signs of “mental or developmental disorder” even without parental consent and therefor the increase in diagnosis is unrelated to the actual incidence rate of the condition as originally defined.

      Also possible, the sort of parent that avoids vaccinating their children also avoids having their children examined by a psychiatrist so there is “almost zero” chance of knowing whether they would be diagnosed.

      Personally I find that both the risk of autism and the risk of avoiding vaccination are overblown in the media. Neither vaccinating nor avoiding vaccination is 100% safe. Nothing in life is. The question is of relative risk. Even given the alarmist nature of the study you cited, it still seems less risky to vaccinate. Especially given that only two of the recommended vaccines, DTAP and seasonal influenza, even contain the chemical the study implicated, and there is a thimerosal free alternative for both of them. So that leaves you with no reason to avoid vaccination because of that study.

  5. Jonathan Lizotte

    Yes, it is a question of relative risk. I chose the path of ultra low risk herd immunity for my kids, who now are very healthy young adults. Thanks to probably all of you reading this for helping to secure the health of the herd by making the higher risk choice with your kids.

    • You do know, of course, that contracting measles or rubella poses the greatest risk to adults (or young adults, in your case).
      Whilst children barely show any signs or suffer much malaise, apart from a few spots, in adults the cost is greater.
      So, you are not out of the woods yet.
      This is the sticker, though: If your children, who aren’t immunized, also do not immunize their children and should your child contract adult measles, they will immediately pass it to their offspring, at a much greater cost.
      But, hey, head in sand and all.

  6. Jonathan Lizotte

    Yes, I am aware, and thanks for bringing this up. In 2011 there were just over 200 US cases, 54 in 2012, and just under 200 in 2013. Of course most of these cases are children, foreigners, and at least a third were vaccinated. Again, it’s about relative risk.

    • You are applying that principal from the perspective of a vaccinated person. There is no loss to you. It is the legacy you are leaving your children that you should worry about.
      The figures you quote are only relative too. Relative to the number of children whose parents, selfishly, think like you. These numbers will be greater coming from the perspective of your children….and then their children and then their children.
      Stupidity only leads to greater stupidity and so on….until one of your descendents wakes up and guess what? Gets vaccinated.

  7. [moderator’s note: every so often hearing some comments from the other side is worthwhile just to keep from falling into the “we’re always right” trap]
    The assumption that science supports the validity of vaccination is commonly found – and the posts on this site are no exception. The US is the most vaccinated country in the world and near the bottom of all health tables for developed countries. Iatrogenic disease is the third major killer. Autoimmune diseases are rife. A little humility regarding your knowledge and understanding of what constitutes health is missing. If you pride yourself on independence of thought and clarity of understanding, do some research about the real causes of the decline in infectious diseases, the absence of evidence for the safety or effectiveness of vaccines and the relationship (current and historical) between vaccine proponents, the government and the pharmaceutical industry.

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