Respectful Insolence

Thanks again, antivaccine loons

I’m a bit torn today. On the one hand, it makes me cringe when pundits write inflammatory articles blaming Jenny McCarthy for measles outbreaks. Yes, I know that I once did the same thing myself, but, as much as antivaccinationists dislike me, I’ve actually toned it down a bit when it comes to that particular line of attack, having learned that it is important not to overstate the pro-science case or risk making errors of fact that antivaccinationists can jump all over in order to try to discredit arguments against them. On the other hand, it can’t be denied that declining vaccination rates in areas full of affluent, vaccine-averse families or where pockets of people belonging to religions that forbid vaccination or modern medicine have lead to more frequent and larger outbreaks. Even though vaccine uptake rates for most vaccine-preventable diseases remain high averaged over the nation or over individual states, the same is not true as the geographic divisions examined get smaller; i.e., as the data become more granular.

A good example of this is the ongoing measles outbreak in southern California, the one that “Dr. Bob” Sears downplayed on Facebook in a highly unprofessional rant about patients of his who were apparently calling his office, quite reasonably worried about the measles outbreak and whether they should be vaccinated. In a similarly craven “pass the buck” message, Dr. Jay Gordon basically told his patients that if they want the MMR vaccine they should get it. While another antivaccine-sympathetic pediatrician waffles about vaccines.

Then I see something like this CDC press release issued yesterday, which seriously tests my determination not to go all Orac on these people for this:

Two hundred and eighty-eight cases of measles were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States between Jan. 1 and May 23, 2014. This is the largest number of measles cases in the United States reported in the first five months of a year since 1994. Nearly all of the measles cases this year have been associated with international travel by unvaccinated people.

“The current increase in measles cases is being driven by unvaccinated people, primarily U.S. residents, who got measles in other countries, brought the virus back to the United States and spread to others in communities where many people are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, assistant surgeon general and director of CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases. “Many of the clusters in the U.S. began following travel to the Philippines where a large outbreak has been occurring since October 2013.”

These cases come from fifteen outbreaks covering eighteen states that have been connected to travel to eighteen countries.

And, contrary to the whines by antivaccinationists that measles isn’t a dangerous disease (a truly dumb argument favored by antivaccinationists like the ones over at Age of Autism that I like to refer to as the “Brady Bunch gambit,” named after an episode of that famous sitcom in which all the Brady kids caught the measles that is often cited by antivaccinationists as an argument that 45 years ago measles wasn’t considered a big deal), this round of measles is serious, with more than one case in seven resulting in hospitalization. Complications have included five cases of pneumonia, one case of hepatitis, one case of low platelets, and one case of pancytopenia (lower counts of red and white blood cells, as well as platelets). Fortunately, no cases of encephalitis and no deaths have been reported—yet. Given that about one case of measles in twenty is complicated by pneumonia, we’ve actually been fortunate. A pneumonia rate of one in twenty should have produced nearly three times as many cases of pneumonia. In any case, given approximately one case of measles in 1,000 is complicated by encephalitis and the mortality rate is around 0.1% to 0.2%, encephalitis and deaths are inevitable if the number of measles cases continue to increase.

Personally, I can’t help but be a bit worried that the state with the most cases is Ohio, which is a mere 50 miles away. It gets even more worrisome when one notes that the season is young. Just take a look at this graph of measles cases by month compared to prior years:

measles2014

The pace of increase in the number of total measles cases is far faster than any year since 1994; if the rate of increase doesn’t level off soon we might be looking at a thousand cases this year. In a few years, we might even find ourselves facing endemic levels of measles comparable to what the UK is now experiencing.

I really have to worry if history is repeating itself. Specifically, I have to wonder whether British history is going to be repeated in the US. Remember how in 2008 measles was declared endemic again in the UK, after having been declared eliminated a mere 14 years before, thanks largely to the MMR-autism scare precipitated by Andrew Wakefield’s fraudulent work? This is what the Eurosurveillance report at the time stated:

Fourteen years after the local transmission of measles was halted in the United Kingdom (UK), the disease has once again become endemic, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), the public health body of England and Wales. In an update on measles cases in its weekly bulletin last week, the agency stated that, as a result of almost a decade of low mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccination coverage across the UK, ‘the number of children susceptible to measles is now sufficient to support the continuous spread of measles’ [1].

Sound familiar? It will in a minute. Take a look at the latest CDC report:

Measles elimination has been maintained in the United States since elimination was declared almost 15 years ago. However, approximately 20 million cases of measles occur each year globally, and importations into the United States continue to pose a risk for measles cases and outbreaks among unvaccinated persons. The 288 measles cases reported during January 1–May 23, 2014, including an ongoing outbreak involving 138 persons in Ohio, represent the highest number of measles cases reported for that period since 1994.

See what I mean? It took fourteen years for the UK to go from having eliminated endemic measles, thanks to the MMR vaccine, to having measles return as an endemic disease. Here we are now, around fifteen years after measles was declared eliminated in the US, and we now have the highest number of measles cases in 20 years. Now, what “eliminated” means is not that there are never cases of measles in the US. Rather, it means that there is not continuous transmission of the disease. What we’re seeing now is a series of outbreaks that have arisen from (mostly) unvaccinated people traveling abroad to countries where measles is either still endemic or there are ongoing outbreaks.

We’re not seeing continuous transmission right here in the good ol’ USA—again, yet. If vaccine rates fall enough and lead to enough areas of low vaccine uptake, that could easily change, which is why public health officials are so worried. They should be, because if outbreaks continue to occur, the disease could reach a tipping point and will once against be considered endemic. Eliminating a disease like measles, removing it from the list of endemic infectious diseases, is something that is very difficult to do. It requires a major commitment by public health officials and a high level of uptake of an effective vaccine because even the most effective vaccines (like the MMR) still have a failure rate and it is those for whom the vaccine does not provide adequate protection who can serve as the reservoir for a disease to become resurgent again. The elimination of continuous transmission of measles was a great feat; we went from a half a million cases a year to a handful, and even now there are only a few hundred. Unfortunately, those few hundred could be harbingers of a return to something resembling the bad old days because population immunity and herd immunity are difficult to achieve but don’t take very much to destroy.

You know, maybe it isn’t so over-the-top after all to “thank” Jenny McCarthy, Andrew Wakefield, “Dr. Bob” Sears, Dr. Jay Gordon, Age of Autism, Generation Rescue, Barbara Loe Fisher and the National Vaccine Information Center, The “Thinking Moms’ Revolution,” and all the panoply of antivaccine activists and groups responsible for the drumbeat of propaganda claiming that vaccines cause autism, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), autoimmune disease, and many other conditions that are, in fact, not caused by vaccines. Measles is on the way back, and they definitely played a role. They exaggerate the risks of vaccination, one of the safest medical interventions ever devised and arguably the one that has saved more lives than any other. In doing so, they skew the perception of the risk-benefit ratio, particularly given that vaccines have been so successful that most diseases vaccinated against are seldom seen by the parents making decisions regarding vaccinating their children. The result is decreased vaccine uptake and increased disease.

Truly, antivaccinationists, whether they admit it or not, are the pro-disease contingent.

Comments

  1. #1 lilady
    May 30, 2014

    Those anti-vaccine groups are probably gloating now, that the total of new confirmed cases of measles has reached 307 cases YTD, with 87 new cases of measles reported to the CDC, this past week. The May 30, 2014 MMWR is now online:

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm6321md.pdf

  2. #2 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    May 30, 2014

    They exaggerate the risks of vaccination

    And downplay the seriousness of the diseases and the effectiveness of vaccines.
    Interesting that the number of hospitalisations is lower than expected. Is there a possible explanation for this?

  3. #3 reasonablehank
    May 30, 2014

    Ah, yes, the Brady Bunch Gambit. A derivative of the Argumentum ad flinstonium.

  4. #4 Lawrence
    May 30, 2014

    They are completely “pro-disease.” Routinely, posters over at AoA claim that natural infections are better & that kids should be purposely exposed to build up their immune systems…..and any kids that suffer bad disease reactions – well, they deserved it because of “something-something.”

    And they call us evil…..

  5. #5 lmachintelligence
    May 30, 2014

    I don’t suppose that there is any possibility of requiring evidence of measles immunization prior to being allowed to enter (or re-enter) the USA. It is probably too rational a thing to do.

  6. #6 Dorit
    May 30, 2014

    @Lawrence: like the recent article by Mr. Olmsted claiming vaccines contribute to rise in cancers, because measles prevented cancer.

  7. #7 David Schilling
    May 30, 2014

    What Dr Jay Gordon said on twitter yesterday… “@JayGordonMDFAAP: @tweek75 Hi Todd. I don’t like measles outbreaks either. If parents want their children to get the shot, I give it. It’s not a great shot.”

    Brilliant.

  8. #8 Spectator
    May 30, 2014

    “Those anti-vaccine groups are probably gloating now,”

    That’s not a joke actually. The natural health shill I know personally (chemo will kill your immune system, cure your cancer with Ayurvedic diet) believes she has a ‘stronger immune system’ plus an enlightened diet and thus won’t get cancer. Regarding a friend of mine who has cancer, she implies that it was because of his bad diet, and thus his fault.

    In reality he ate a modestly healthy diet, has never opened a pack of cigarettes and was in nearly perfect health as far as anyone could tell. But that doesn’t count, it has to be the specific diet/lifestyle zzzz advocates.

    The no-vaccine folks commonly believe they’re stronger better than all of those sick people, and that disease is Nature weeding out the sick. So, in their mind, if you get encephalitis from measles its a good thing, as -you- are removed from the gene pool leaving the more pure, naturally strong people such as themselves.

    Sound familiar?

  9. #9 MikeMa
    May 30, 2014

    @lmachintelligence
    Not exactly what you are looking for, but when I had to travel overseas for work (mostly to India), I was given a list of recommended vaccinations for the area. I got them and my work paid for them. Good on them.

    It might be useful to provide the web-based “Contagion Report ™” for all global destinations. (Might already exist.) Updating it would not be trivial but not too difficult and have that information widely marketed as an important part of travel.

    You could have tear off cards at the drug store next to the travel sized crud, and big banners floating over the drug store prescription area, etc.

  10. #10 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 30, 2014

    I had a (brief) back-and-forth with Dr. Jay on Twitter yesterday, in which he declared that he “doesn’t like measles outbreaks either” (despite having downplayed the seriousness of outbreaks every time they occur) and stating that the MMR is “not a great shot”. Someone else asked him to explain. He just moved on and ignored the question. I don’t blame him, really. He can’t answer it with anything remotely in the realm of reality.

  11. #11 Lawrence
    May 30, 2014

    @Todd – MMR “not a great shot?” hmmm….I would call a 99.5% reduction in overall cases of Measles, Mumps & Rubella to be quite a damned good accomplishment….it isn’t even like it ever contained the kind of stuff that anti-vaccine folks hate (like Thimerosal or aluminum salts, for example).

    They are morons.

  12. #12 Lawrence
    May 30, 2014

    @Spectator – although they don’t outright state it, they have to believe in some form of Eugenics, because of their desire to use disease to “weed out the weak & make the survivors stronger.” Again, without plainly stating it, that is exactly what they are saying.

  13. #13 Chris Hickie
    May 30, 2014

    If you’ll allow me, Orac, I’d like to “thank” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the amazing amount of AAPathy they’ve shown towards antivaccinationists for nearly a decade. Is this measles surge anywhere on their radar at aap.org or healthychildren.org? Of course not (but you can read all about hurricane preparedness and preventing ice hockey injuries in summer–things about which of course are *critical* for a pediatrician to know and practice). Yes, thanks a whole lot, AAP, for not having a damn ounce of courage to take on increasingly emboldened antivaccinationism. From not calling out your own Drs. Sears/Gordon (who are right in the middle of measles central in southern California and actively telling people not to vaccinate) to not even showing the remotest interest in the garbage spewed at NVIC–thanks a whole lot. It is very difficult to believe the AAP is “dedicated to the health of all children”. It is very easy to see the AAP is currently dedicated to the health of all thing AAP and wouldn’t want to even risk a scrape on the knee when it comes to calling out antivaccinationists. That is so pathetic.

    The AAP’s annual convention this year is San Diego–right in the middle of anti-vaccine lunacy. California is having record cases of measles this year and is also surging again on whooping cough (2 infant deaths from pertussis this year–being overshadowed by measles which is unfortunate). Just like in 2010, when the AAP convention was in California and no one there could be bothered to address the 9,000 cases of whooping cough with 10 infant deaths from the 2010 California pertussis outbreak, I will bet that good old AAPathy will evident in San Diego in 2014.

  14. #14 Darwy
    Røde grøde...you know the drill
    May 30, 2014

    I saw the bit with Dr. Jay – he’s definitely a sorry excuse for a doctor.

  15. #15 Chris Hickie
    May 30, 2014

    Gordon and Sears deserve to lose their medical licenses, but the California Medical Board is probably only beaten by the Texas Medical Board in terms of utter inability to sanction quack MDs.

  16. #16 Denice Walter
    May 30, 2014

    A mind-numbingly florid rash of inanity breaks out!

    What I’ve heard most recently about the outbreaks is that the infections occur amongst those who are *vaccinated*. Therefore vaccines don’t work:
    the Nullmacher said that these children had “all their shots” and still contracted measles. Similarly, Jameson. Furthermore, their mothers also were vaccinated thus they never transmitted immunity to their children.
    Vaccination does not equal limmunisation- it only means that antibodies were formed in reaction in a lab somewhere.

    And to think that in 4 weeks, I’ll be in a hotbed of anti-vax – oh wait, I have *natural immunity* beause I had that “mild illness” as a child.

    Mac Neil ( TMR)** writes about the Pied Piper ( stealing children) and of ‘paying the piper”-
    I do believe that we are now paying and her analogy gets the Piper’s identity totally wrong. It was Andy.

    -btw-
    I was reading material on ANH- EUR and US sites and it suddenly dawned on me-
    they are an international organisation that lobbies governments, tries to change laws, goes to court to protect its partisans, has a long-term agenda and is involved with moneyed interests.
    Doesn’t that sound awfully familiar?

    ** another masterwork of shriek and blame

  17. #17 Anna M.
    May 30, 2014

    It’s strange that the US requires all immigrants to be up to date on our vaccinations yet homegrown Americans can jet around the globe unvaccinated to their hearts’ delight. A potential immigrant can apply for a waiver but apparently this adds months to the process and is not often successful, hence not too popular an option. Besides, anyone from countries where they see the devastation from VPDs thinks it bizarre that you’d actually choose to be unvaccinated. I’d like to see the government be as strict with everyone instead of the double standards. That’s one thing the anti-immigrant types can’t blame us for: importing & spreading VPDs.

    However, only those under 50 require MMR. I’m wondering if they need to update their requirements to add MMR to that age group? All I needed was Tdap, the Flu shot, and assure the panel physician that I had had Chicken Pox.

  18. #18 Denice Walter
    May 30, 2014

    @ Spectator:

    The guy got cancer because of how he behaved ( ate, drank, didn’t exercise etc) ‘It’s his own fault’.

    I hear an awful lot of blaming involving MOST people in ‘western’ cultures- they eat wrong; they don’t exercise; they use contaminated products; they’re wasteful; they’re mindless consumers enraptured by Corporatocracy etc.

    I often detect sneering hatred for the majority of people who are so perversely unenlightened. This attitude is reflected in followers’ remarks about how terrible the polluted, deceitful, avaricious World is these days. ( see AoA, TMR,NN, PRN et al).

    Some of this is obviously a self-protective mechanism: if one lives correctly there will never never be any problems – - AS WELL AS a means of self-aggrandisement- ” We KNOW better! “. The experts are deluded, “WE have the truth.”

    Amongst the anti-vaxxers another theme emerges:
    the ranter was an accomplice in this evil pharma plot-
    she brought the child in for vaccination; she approved; thus she is also guilty of child destruction SO
    she needs to absolve herself of criminality- she didn’t know, she was deceived ( see MacNeil @ TMR currently)
    THUS she is motivated to preach to others in retribution for her sins and needs to confabulate scenarios to explain JUST how she was hoodwinked into betraying her child. They spend so much time writing about the evils of SBM to deflect their own feelings of remorse and unworthiness.

    The entire movement is fuelled by guilt and blame. Reason won’t get a foothold amongst these people.

  19. #19 Todd W.
    http://www.harpocratesspeaks.com
    May 30, 2014

    @Anna M.

    Are you really that surprised? The U.S. also requires immigrants to take a test that the majority of native-born citizens would fail.

  20. #20 Eric Lund
    May 30, 2014

    It might be useful to provide the web-based “Contagion Report ™” for all global destinations. (Might already exist.)

    The CDC maintains a list of required and recommended vaccinations for entering other countries. The State Department’s Consular Information Sheets also include that information for the country in question.

    The one time I have needed to take any action was in preparation for a trip to Brazil. I got a yellow fever vaccination (not strictly required if you are coming directly from the US or Europe, but it is if you have recently been in any of several dozen other countries, mostly in the tropics) and a combined hepatitis A/B vaccination (not required in Brazil, but I had not previously had a hepatitis vaccination as those were not routine when I was a child). The rest of the recommended vaccines for Brazil are ones you should have received anyway in the US. Most countries will allow exemptions from required vaccines if you have a medical contraindication, but it has to be documented in writing, and usually translated into the local language if different from yours. I’m not aware of any vaccine other than yellow fever being specifically required for US citizens traveling abroad.

    I know nothing of what the US requires for entering travelers. Anna M., above, notes that immigrants are required to be up to date (or legitimately unable to be vaccinated), but I don’t know if these rules apply to short-term visitors, and they apparently don’t apply to returning US citizens.

  21. #21 Sarah A
    May 30, 2014

    That’s one thing the anti-immigrant types can’t blame us for: importing & spreading VPDs.

    Never underestimate the power of irrational hatred: I’ve seen this exact accusation made in the comments section of many news articles dealing with VPD outbreaks, even when the article explicitly states that the cases were traced back to an American who traveled abroad and brought the disease back with them.

  22. #22 Dorit
    May 30, 2014

    @Anna #17: Amanda Naprawa recently suggested that as a condition of having a passport people should need to show proof of immunization: http://thevaccineadvocate.com/2014/05/21/polio-doesnt-need-a-passport-and-maybe-neither-do-you/.

    The federal government has very extensive leeway in regulating passport issuing, and it’s probably – very probably – constitutional to do so for those without medical contraindications, and it might be a good idea. The question, of course, is whether it is politically feasible – this will require federal legislation. There is also a substantive cost in restricting human movement. But it’s at least worth considering and discussing.

    That won’t completely answer your point, but it could help, especially with importation of measles.

  23. #23 Johanna
    May 30, 2014

    Todd @19

    I’ve taken the US naturalization test. It’s a bit of a joke.

    Sure, during the application process you get handed a thick booklet with 100 “civics/history” type questions and get told that you’ll be asked X-number of questions from that list. So all you really have to do is memorize the questions. (Or wing it, like I did. Read the book once, goggled a bit and got back to taking care of the more fiddly bits of application – like finding the $600+ application fee.)

    When the time came, I was asked THREE questions: What is the purpose of the cabinet, where does the President live and how many Senators are there in the US Senate.

    I then had to read one written sentence aloud and write it down. This apparently proved my literacy and fluency in English.

    Now, maybe I was cut slack because I’m from a country where English is the national language but… well, after all that swotting, it was a bit of a let-down!

    As for whether or not most Americans would pass the test – they might not be able to answer 70 of the 100 questions, but when it comes to the actual test, I think the odds are more on their side…

  24. #24 Dorit
    May 30, 2014

    @Johanna: I had a long discussion about that test with my husband beforehand. The main theme was: yes, I understand you think the answers provided in the booklet are simplistic and on occasion inaccurate, but this isn’t a law class, just tell them what they want to hear. This is not the time for a discussion of U.S. legal history or constitutional law.

    But yes, it’s not exactly the hardest test. I cannot speak to whether most Americans can pass it, though.

  25. #25 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    we went from a half a million cases a year to a handful

    Reported cases. It had to be the equivalent of nearly a full birth cohort.

  26. #26 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    The main theme was: yes, I understand you think the answers provided in the booklet are simplistic and on occasion inaccurate, but this isn’t a law class, just tell them what they want to hear.

    That’s how I wound up being one shy of a perfect score on the gun safety test in the seventh grade.

  27. #27 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    The federal government has very extensive leeway in regulating passport issuing, and it’s probably – very probably – constitutional to do so for those without medical contraindications….

    The practical issue here is that not everyone has access to childhood vaccination records. I mean, my mom might have kept them around, but they weren’t in an envelope of stuff she gave me before they moved, etc. I’m cheesed off enough at the fee without this song and dance.

  28. #28 Vincent Iannelli, MD
    http://pediatrics.about.com
    May 30, 2014

    “If you’ll allow me, Orac, I’d like to “thank” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the amazing amount of AAPathy they’ve shown towards antivaccinationists for nearly a decade. Is this measles surge anywhere on their radar at aap.org or healthychildren.org?”

    I agree with Chris. Dr. Bob, Dr. Jay, Dr. Larry and a lot of other pandering pediatricians who encourage parents to delay or skip vaccines are a problem that the AAP has long ignored.

    And if it wasn’t for Orac, Dorit, and a lot of the other folks here, who would be countering the anti-vax messaging? It isn’t coming from the AAP.

  29. #29 Spectator
    May 30, 2014

    @Denice Walter
    May 30, 2014

    I hadn’t mentioned to the altie that he’d run a half marathon in the year (months?) before being diagnosed.

    btw, he’s on a gene targeted therapy and is back up to a 5K. Also back to work.

  30. #30 Shay
    May 30, 2014

    Todd — in this state, at least, you can’t graduate from high school until you have passed an exam on the US and state constitutions.

    How long that knowledge lingers in the average teenager’s brain, I couldn’t say.

  31. #31 SimonG
    UK
    May 30, 2014

    Perhaps you could stop allowing people into the country if they haven’t been vaccinated.
    No need to stop them leaving, of course. (Just don’t ship them over here!)

  32. #32 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    where pockets of people belonging to religions that forbid vaccination or modern medicine

    Of course, there isn’t really much in the way of religions that forbid vaccination. AoA provides a bit of unintentional amusement on this front today:

    “As far as the Amish getting vaccinated 99% don’t at least not in Holmes County Ohio, one of the largest Amish populations in the U.S., many never see a doctor, you would think there would be thousands standing in line waiting to be vaccinated with a population over 55,000,(they would love to show this on the news) but no they aren’t panicking because they are used to the measles.”

    Leaving aside the part where Holmes County actually has a population of 42,366, less than half of whom are Amish, well, yes, they are now starting to turn out:

    “Health officials are scrambling to vaccinate residents. The state health department had ordered more than 1,000 doses of MMR vaccine for Knox, Holmes, Adams and Ashland counties as of yesterday, spokeswoman Melanie Amato said.

    “Palm said 161 people were vaccinated at a clinic in Danville yesterday, and 136 had shots on Thursday.”

    Interestingly, this outbreak seems to have been allowed to gain a foothold by virtue of misdiagnosis as Dengue fever.

    “[Yoder] said he asked about any special vaccines that his group might need before traveling to the Philippines, but the MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine wasn’t suggested. He had no idea there was an ongoing and deadly outbreak of measles in the Philippines. Had he known, Yoder said, he would have been vaccinated.”

  33. #33 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    ^ “Yesterday” = Friday, April 25.

  34. #34 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    I will bet that good old AAPathy will evident in San Diego in 2014.

    Gah:

    “Transmission for 11 [California] cases occurred in health-care settings; six of these 11 cases were in health-care personnel.”

  35. #35 Anna M.
    May 30, 2014

    Eric #20: no, short-term visitors are not required to provide proof of vaccination. On your visitor visa application you’re only asked if you have a communicable disease like leprosy, STDs, TB, etc.

    If you visit Canada from the US, or vice versa, with your dog, you are required to have their rabies vaccination certificate. Yet no worries for the dog’s people to gallivant about unvaccinated. Just nuts.

  36. #36 Lawrence
    May 30, 2014

    Recent postings at AoA have once again held up the Amish as paragons of health, whereas the truth is certainly quite different:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/genetic-disorders-hit-amish-hard/

    Something the folks over at AoA don’t want people to know about, I guess.

  37. #37 Eric Lund
    May 30, 2014

    There is also a substantive cost in restricting human movement.

    Things aren’t bad enough, yet, to justify quarantines, but if that ever became a serious possibility, then I would rather have passport restrictions. A quarantine would mean that an international travel would have to be held in a secure facility for some number of days (originally 40–the word is derived from the Italian quaranta) before he could actually enter the country. It would effectively end short-term international business and leisure travel, with severe impacts on the world economy as presently configured. Forcing a traveler to give proof of vaccination (or medical contraindication) in order to obtain/renew a passport is far less onerous. Bonus: the people who would be most likely to bring a VPD back with them are precisely the people who would not be allowed to travel abroad under these rules.

    In addition, I have doubts about whether quarantines would be enforced rigorously enough to work. Some people would likely have a cavalier attitude toward quarantines, as Mark Twain did in The Innocents Abroad, and some people would even try to bribe their way out of it. I suspect there is a significant overlap between anti-vaxers and both of these categories.

  38. #38 Sebastian Jackson
    Karlstad, Sweden
    May 30, 2014

    Speaking of Age of Autism, they’re promoting a new conference being organised by Jenny McCarthy and Generation Rescue. The conference will sell “boomedical” autism quackery, but apparently not to the same freakshow-like degree as Autism One (no Geiers, no bleach enemas, not even Wakefield surprisingly).

  39. #39 lilady
    May 30, 2014

    Then we have the truly delusional denizens from AoA, who have “vaccine damaged children and who want their children to contract measles…because they had measles and it’s “no big deal”:

    http://business.financialpost.com/2014/04/16/lawrence-solomon-the-untold-story-of-measles/#comment-1347701478

  40. #41 Denice Walter
    May 30, 2014

    Although I am now- again- expected elsewhere, has anyone else ( I know that many of my fellow and sister minions lurk @ AoA) read Gamondes’ latest installment in her ‘Frau Koma” series?

    It is certainly an eye opener and a page turner- but not in a good way. Think about it, AoA has BOTH Gamondes and Conrick!

  41. #42 lilady
    May 30, 2014

    I’m a “slummer” at AoA, and Gamondes’ posts are quite interesting…not in a good way.

    They have a new conference scheduled, sponsored by a group I never heard…with a star-studded cast !!! Jenny McCarthy and the Lauritos (she of the Jersey Housewives fame).

  42. #43 Matt Carey
    May 30, 2014

    Recent postings at AoA have once again held up the Amish as paragons of health, whereas the truth is certainly quite different:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/genetic-disorders-hit-amish-hard/

    Something the folks over at AoA don’t want people to know about, I guess.

    In his cursory look at the Amish years back Dan Olmsted somehow missed the cryptically named “Clinic for Special Children”. The Clinic specializes in treating many of the genetic conditions prevalent among the Amish.

    Today, who knows why Mr. Olmsted and crew remain ignorant.

  43. #44 Lucario
    Afternoon in SoFla
    May 30, 2014

    “Boomedical?” Is that some sort of exorcism-based medicine?

  44. #45 Narad
    May 30, 2014

    has anyone else ( I know that many of my fellow and sister minions lurk @ AoA) read Gamondes’ latest installment in her ‘Frau Koma” series?

    I’m afraid my taste for hack pomo stylings has waned on the heels of a volume of genuine critical theory.

  45. #46 JustaTech
    May 30, 2014

    Re: passport restrictions: An anectdote: when some of my friends were living in Africa, South Africa suddenly required that anyone passing through (It’s the main hub to Europe) had to prove a yellow fever vaccination. Now, my friends found this absurd, as there isn’t any yellow fever in the country in question, but rules are rules. So they went and bought a nice booklet that said that they had been vaccinated, rather than actually getting vaccinated.

    Is this wrong? Of course! But it was actually easier than getting vaccinated. So that would be one problem with passport restrictions: most vaccination records, particularly from childhood, are just unverified pieces of paper that would be easy to fake. And since there isn’t any simple and easy way to *prove* that you got vaccinated, you’re a bit stuck.

  46. #47 Denice Walter
    May 30, 2014

    @ Narad:

    * Au contraire, mon cher ami*

    Gamondes’ work is important because it illustrates precisely out how far afield from reality these folk drift. She is accepted and even admired.

    AG free associates and draws conclusions that are supported solely by the juxtaposition of random concepts that collide in her semantic memory and nowhere else.

    A few articles @ AoA may scare parents into fearing vaccines’ secret ingredients BUT they then encounter something by AG or Conrick ( who creates assemblages of physiological terms containing as much sense as is apparent in AG’s collage *pictorials*- i.e. not much.)

    Thus, these contributions are important to sceptics: they show that nearly any barrage of meaningless verbiage is accepted uncritically as long as it dismisses vaccines.

    We can point out their absurdity and distance from reality everytime one of these *poseurs* posts. It’s not only bad information provided by anti-vaxxers, it is their lack of critical thinking and judgment that allows such dreck a prominent place in a so-called news site. That should also inform us about their inability to criticise science.

  47. #48 Vicki
    May 30, 2014

    Vaccination records: what I have is a variety of paperwork from when I was a small child, plus a couple of sheets from the New York City Department of Health (two, because if you go for a vaccine and tell them you didn’t bring your vaccination record, they start a new one). The nurse noted the one of my flu shots that was in the system because I got it at a drugstore.

    I have been tempted, purely for convenience, to dig out the old paperwork and record, with dates, those of my vaccines that there’s a space for on the form. (The forms they were using a few years ago don’t have a place to indicate smallpox vaccination, or for the BCG tuberculosis vaccine.)
    Requiring people to prove they were vaccinated would probably mean some combination of lots of advance warning and a willingness to administer at least one dose of the MMR to anyone who showed up at an international airport or border crossing, and then hand them appropriate documentation of at least partial immunization.

  48. #49 Sebastian Jackson
    Karlstad, Sweden
    May 30, 2014

    @Lucario: “Boomedical” was a typo. Damn European keyboards…

  49. #50 TBruce
    May 30, 2014

    @Dorit#40:

    http://bostonwed-murakami.blogspot.ca/2014/01/why-press-shouldnt-be-your-source-for.html

    Another excellent response to Solomon by the wife of a paediatrics resident. She dismantles this poseur very nicely.

  50. #51 Dorit
    May 30, 2014

    @TBruce: Thank you!

  51. #52 lilady
    May 30, 2014

    There’s a very interesting debate going on at AoA on Gamondes post, about “wandering” and who can lay claim to be neuro diverse.

  52. #53 bob
    I seem to be in Oklahoma
    May 31, 2014

    Perhaps it’s a matter of experience. My mother had smallpox when she was a year old, she lived, one of her sisters did not. I had an aunt who survived polio into adulthood. I remember in school (I was in third grade at the time) kids with leg braces and crutches. If there was a vaccine, my parents saw that I got it. I remember the Salk vaccine; my dad took off work when I went to get that one. Perhaps these antivaxers just haven’t stood face to face with this stuff.

  53. #54 herr doktor bimler
    May 31, 2014

    Avicenna Last just wrote a response to that specific article by Mr. Solomon:
    Lawrence Solomon’s antivax nuttery does not reflect well on his day job, as a pro-pollution climate-change-denialist astroturfing ‘environmentalist’. You’d think his sponsors would have a quiet word to him about at least trying to sound sane.

  54. #55 Narad
    May 31, 2014

    Lawrence Solomon’s antivax nuttery does not reflect well on his day job

    Speaking of which, is Tomljenovic still at UBC?

  55. #56 Helianthus
    May 31, 2014

    @ TBruce

    Another excellent response to Solomon by the wife of a paediatrics resident.

    I just read the article from ElleMura you linked to and went on reading previous articles she wrote on vaccination or pregnancy. Interesting reading indeed, the lady has style.
    I liked her answers to the 6 least logical antivaxer myths.

    On the other hand, in this later article, some of the commenters were downright creepy. One mom has “diagnosed” ElleMura’s boy as brain-damaged on the basis of a picture, and one bible-thumper outrightly told ElleMura she was going to Hell for having her child injected with stuff.
    I am willing to recognize that I posted some offending comments in the past, but not to the point of attacking my opponents’ children, and I believe I improved on my online manners since then. Don’t these people have any decency?

  56. #57 Dangerous bacon
    May 31, 2014

    Jay Gordon was quoted as saying: “If parents want their children to get the shot, I give it.”

    See, Jay isn’t so bad. If parents argue with him enough, they can convince him to do his job properly and meet minimal standards of pediatric health care.

    Of course, in a rational world it’s physicians who advocate for good preventive medicine, not parents who overcome physicians’ irrationality on that score.

  57. #58 Narad
    May 31, 2014

    To answer my own question above, it looks like the UBC postdoc is over, leaving Tomljenovic in the tender embrace of Yehuda Shoenfeld. I imagine the comment and subsequent response on this candidate for least promising abstract ever will have some entertainment value.

  58. #59 Narad
    May 31, 2014

    In related ASIA news, mercury is now an adjuvant! Who knew?

  59. #60 Dorit
    May 31, 2014

    << embarrassed in the name of fellow Israelis.

  60. #61 herr doktor bimler
    May 31, 2014

    How could one forget the sterling work of Tomljenovic L & Shoenfeld Y.?

    In related ASIA news, mercury is now an adjuvant!

    Narad links to a paper entitled “Yet Another Example of ASIA Syndrome”. This being short for “Yet Another Example of autoimmune/inflammatory-syndrome-induced-by-adjuvants syndrome.

  61. #62 Chris Hickie
    June 1, 2014

    @Dangerous Bacon #57–don’t forget a month or so ago, Dogturd Bob was having a snit fit on his FB page because some of those damned parents of his patients actually wanted him to give their child the MMR vaccine.

  62. #63 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    Things aren’t bad enough, yet, to justify quarantines, but if that ever became a serious possibility, then I would rather have passport restrictions.

    Pakistan’s on it.

  63. #64 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    And:

    In case of urgent travel (i.e., within 4 weeks) persons who have not received a documented dose of OPV or IPV within the previous 12 months will receive a dose of polio vaccine at the time of departure at the airport.

  64. #65 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    Looks like somewhat less screwing around in the tribal areas, as well.

  65. #66 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    Au contraire, mon cher ami*

    Fine. I turned to it.* Was the bold part (not added by me) in the original?

    “Adriana Gamondes is a contributing editor to Age of Autism and a Facebook page administrator. She and her husband commute between Massachusetts and Florida and are the proud parents of recovering twins.

    Disclaimer: Withdrawal from psychotropic drugs can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Withdrawal symptoms are sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.

    * And almost immediately turned to Solomon Burke. And then this. Mike Adams knows derivatives can be more liquid than rocks from the ground, yet he doesn’t seem to have dispensed this investment advice. It’s something that could be considered patently elitist.

  66. #67 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    Those who promise us paradise on earth never produced anything but a hell. ~Karl Raimund Popper

    Uh-oh, is that a lone attestation, Adriana?

  67. #68 Narad
    June 1, 2014

    ^ I mean, the middle name helps and all.

  68. #69 Denice Walter
    June 1, 2014

    @ Narad:

    I suspect that Gamodes *et compagnie* will provide us with many future examples of unintentional hilarity masquerading as sublimely erudite revelation.

    More seriously, we heard today that a woo-meister will unmask sceptics: people will learn ALL about our errant and perverse ways. Promised is an expose of a lead sceptic who lives in his mother;s basement, types all day and is well remunerated by the powers-that-be.

    It is obviously not yours truly.
    Does anyone here have a mother?

  69. #70 Brook
    June 1, 2014

    I have a motherboard.

  70. #71 herr doktor bimler
    June 2, 2014

    Promised is an expose of a lead sceptic

    I for one do not believe in lead. There is no such thing. It is just gold, painted grey for concealment.

  71. #72 Helianthus
    June 2, 2014

    lives in his mother;s basement, types all day and and is well remunerated by the powers-that-be.

    I hope s/he will provide details on how and where to apply, my current job isn’t paying much.
    Also, my mother’s basement isn’t very comfortable. Would the attic be an acceptable substitute?

    On second thoughts, I think I will pass. The sceptics I know keep complaining that they never received the promised money.

  72. #73 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2014

    I am never disappointed by RI’s minions’ responses. You are fab: you are simultraneously the bee’s knees and the cat’s pyjamas.

    I’ve starting to believe that we can just PRESENT whatever the woo-meisters opine and that it should rapidly become apparent to most readers that it is truly crap.

    In other words, the material itself is it’s own counter argument.
    And why is that?
    - it is banal, simplistic, black-and-white thinking
    - it is self-agrandising and posturing.

    (One of you says on another thread that woomeisters tart up their explanations with lots of ‘quantum’ – or talk about ‘consciousness/ cognition’ too much, I’d say- rather than explain things simply so that anyone could benefit. What did your profs do?)

    - it is a pastiche of expressions/ ideas from various fields schmushed together
    - the structure of the language doesn’t suggest a real facility with words which often informs us about intelligence; in addition, malapropisms/ mispronunciations abound, words are chosen to impress rather than because they are most appropriate.
    - their jokes/ analogies are usually abysmal suggesting a more crude and unarticulated understanding of the subject.

    (Jokes, metaphors and analogies reflect a person’s verbal ability and comprehension of abstractions- to make good ones, you need to transfer the basic outline of one situation unto another which illustrates conceptual similarity despite perceptual – superficial- diversity. Compare Mike’s or Gary’s jokes to Orac’s).

    - they use much recycled ideas that are worn and tired, e.g. the mother’s basement meme. Big Pharma pays. “Out to get” the Truth tellers.
    - they rely upon emotionally involving their audience rather than appealing to thought. “Look what these evil b@s@rds are doing to your children! See how the government/ corporations ROB you!” ” I’m fighting FOR YOU!” ad nauseum.

    The most glaring examples shed light upon their perpetrator’s abilities and motivation quite clearly.

    Actually the whole “pharma pays sceptics” meme could be instantly de-fused because the amount of money involved would be staggering in order to affect only a tiny audience whereas mass media advertising would be a better investment. More bang for the buck.

  73. #74 Narad
    June 2, 2014

    Back at AoA, Eileen Simon is still stewing over a recent snubbing:

    “Autism” is not important enough yet. I am tired of trying to contact legislators. They all, even President Obama, respond with form letters about “acceptance,”“leveling the playing field” for people with disabilities, and the need for more research…

    The original insult:

    I wrote to Obama last December about autism and the obstetric protocol for clamping the umbilical cord immediately after birth, whether or not the baby has begun to breathe. I pointed out that there is no health benefit from clamping the cord, that clamping the cord leads to the need for resuscitation in about 10% of newborns. and that even with quick revival, damage to the brain is likely.

    I received a form letter response in which Obama stated that he remains committed to leveling the playing field for all Americans with disabilities, including those with autism. He wants to screen children before age 2, and continue to work with congress, experts, and families to improve ASD programs.

    In other words nothing should be investigated to prevent autism. I wrote back and expressed my disappointment to have received only a form letter response, and that no mention was made of the danger of clamping the umbilical cord, which I proposed might be responsible for many cases of autism. I still have not received a second response.

  74. #75 Lawrence
    June 2, 2014

    @Narad – she certainly is a one-trick pony, isn’t she? Since cord clamping has been used for decades (if not longer) than why is this “rise in autism” a recent thing?

  75. #76 Sebastian Jackson
    Karlstad, Sweden
    June 2, 2014

    @Narad: Eileen knows that the president never gets to read any of the letters sent to him, right? I think they are all intercepted, replied to with corporate letters, then archived in the National Archives or some such place.

  76. #77 sheepmilker
    June 2, 2014

    Denice @73 – you would probably know. Is there any correlation between the of paragraphs and IQ/rational thinking?

  77. #78 sheepmilker
    June 2, 2014

    ^ “use of paragraphs”!

  78. #79 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2014

    @ sheepmilker:

    I don’t know but wonder whether it might have something to do with impulsivity or maybe it’s just unfamiliarity with a computer- Old School typewriters work differently.

  79. #80 Shay
    June 2, 2014

    Since I can’t contribute anything of value to the conversation, here’s this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2LJ1i7222c

  80. #81 lilady
    June 2, 2014

    Eileen Simon keeps blathering on about cord clamping as the cause of autism, using very old (ancient) studies. When newer cord clamping studies are provided to her by Matt Carey and by Science Mom, she ignores them, then changes the subject. She continually submits testimony to the IACC about her “research” regarding cord clamping, totally ignoring current research on that topic and genetic/intrauterine environmental causes.

    http://leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk/2014/05/20/committee-on-oversight-government-reform-subcommittee-hearing-on-autism/comment-page-1/#comment-99568

    She’s just another crank poster on the clown blog…and an autism researcher wannabe.

  81. #82 Denice Walter
    June 2, 2014

    Similarly, MacNeil perseverates intensely ( @ TMR the other day- ‘Pay the Piper’ or suchlike and many other posts) about antibiotics and other assaults on children’s health. Right.

  82. #83 Chris,
    June 2, 2014

    lilady: “Eileen Simon keeps blathering on about cord clamping as the cause of autism, using very old (ancient) studies”

    Her child was born around fifty years ago, yet she did not seem aware of the rubella epidemic of the early 1960s. Congenital rubella syndrome is a known cause of autism.

  83. #84 LW
    June 2, 2014

    “clamping the cord leads to the need for resuscitation in about 10% of newborns”

    is that really true? I’d think there’d be some serious concern if 10% of newborns required resuscitation.

  84. #85 Narad
    June 2, 2014

    is that really true? I’d think there’d be some serious concern if 10% of newborns required resuscitation.

    It’s not quite as drastic as portrayed.

    “Approximately 10% of newborns require some assistance to begin breathing at birth. Less than 1% require extensive resuscitative measures.”

  85. #86 Dorit
    June 3, 2014

    Here’s something that fits this post – from tonight: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/the-daily-show-tears-into-liberal-idiocy-on-vaccines/

  86. #87 lilady
    June 3, 2014

    Thanks Dorit. Now…if we could only convince Bill Maher//sigh.

  87. #88 Julian Frost
    Gauteng East Rand
    June 3, 2014

    @lilady, Bill maher is a fool on everything. In his “documentary” Religulous, he made a number of claims that have been debunked. Cracked had an article on documentaries that were hogwash, and Religulous was one of the entries on that list.

  88. #89 Denice Walter
    June 3, 2014

    In other news:

    Mike Adams informs us that his latest research reveals that flu vaccines have 25000 times the mercury permissible in drinking water.

    And as we all know, vaccines advocates guzzle the stuff as though it were water.

  89. #90 Marion Delgado
    June 17, 2014

    They mostly admit they’re pro-disease, they even have parties to celebrate where they spread them. I have been told for years and years by the Nader/Paulbot Alliance that I must be pro-racism and pro-eugenics because I believe overpopulation exists and the right-wing of the anti-vaxxers always add that vaccines are a UN population control measure and that is more evidence I am in support of “eugenics.” They make noises like Darwin must be involved somewhere. Meanwhile, on the actual anti-vax sites I am seeing more and more that those who catch diseases and die or get crippled by them are “the weak” and we improve the human race by not coddling them. “Survival of the fittest” as “Nature” intended is becoming a big rallying cry. So I have to conclude, Jenny-style, that not being vaccinated causes cognitive dissonance. Where’s my CAM grant?

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