"Health fascism" in Australia? The anti-vaccine loons think so

Although The Amazing Meeting is now over, my vacation is not, at least not yet. My wife and I decided to take an extra couple of days off before winging our way home tomorrow. Originally I had planned on posting "reruns" for a couple of days, but something popped up that I felt obligated to comment on. I knew this was coming, thanks to the inimitable Australian skeptic and promoter of science-based medicine Dr. Rachie, with whom I shared the podium both for the Science-Based Medicine Workshop and on a panel on Saturday at TAM. She told me that something would be coming on Monday (Australian time, and, as Dr. Rachie put it, Australians live in the future), and it sure did. (As an aside, I also learned from industry insiders that Jenny McCarthy has actually taped the pilot for her new Oprah-sponsored talk show. I was very happy to learn this good news from Dr. Rachie as a remedy to the depression I felt after learning that Jenny McCarthy may very well soon be gracing our airwaves.)

I was too tired last night to blog it (I am still in Vegas, after all), but I'll try to lay down a bit of discussion right now, before we head off to breakfast and then to Hoover Dam. The story is about the Australian Vaccination Network, which, for those of you not familiar with it, is pretty much the Australian equivalent to Generation Rescue or the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) here in the States, and it's entitled Anti-vaccine group accused of harassing, misleading parents. The first part of the story shows why AVN is pretty much just like Generation Rescue and NVIC:

The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) has compiled a damning report into Australia's most prominent anti-vaccination group, the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN).

The HCCC accuses the AVN of providing inaccurate and misleading information and selectively quoting research out of context to argue against vaccination.

Yes, indeed. These are the same sorts of things that GR and NVIC do all the time. However, I'm a bit concerned. It appears that Australia may have an even loonier bunch of anti-vaccine zealots than we do here in the States:

The report has also noted accusations that the AVN harassed the parents of a child who died of whooping cough last year, after they advocated the importance of childhood vaccination.

On the other hand, maybe not. After all, the anti-vaccine movement recently tried to harass me, but I don't have a child who died of whooping cough, and I don't know that even GR would do something like this:

Dana McCaffery died of whooping cough in March last year.

She was 32 days old - too young to be vaccinated against the disease also known as pertussis.

What her parents Toni and Dave did not realise was that they lived in an area with one of the lowest rates of childhood vaccination in the nation, and one of the highest rates of whooping cough.

The McCaffery's live just a few kilometres from the headquarters of the AVN.

They say they have been harassed by the AVN since their daughter died, and that the AVN has made repeated claims that Dana did not die of pertussis.

"Our daughter wasn't even buried and it began," Ms McCaffery said.

"It began the day before her funeral, it began with phone calls to the health department to get her medical records contending she didn't die of pertussis ."

An email from Paul Corben, the director of Public Health at the North Coast Area Health Service, backs up Ms McCaffery's claims.

In the email, Mr Corben says Ms Dorey called him on March 12 seeking details of Dana's death and accusing him of misleading the public by attributing the cause to pertussis.

Ms Dorey denies the claims. She repeatedly says Dana "supposedly" died of pertussis, but the McCaffery's say that is an "offensive statement".

"It's the most offensive statement because I watched over five days my beautiful daughter suffer the most agonising death," Ms McCaffery said.

"Then to be put in a position where I have to prove that she died of pertussis that's even crueller."

Mr McCaffery says Ms Dorey is "she's diminishing the fact that pertussis can and does kill".

"It is going to lead to someone making a decision that could put their baby or their family at risk and that's not right," he said.

The McCaffery's have made their own complaint to the HCCC about the AVN.

Although it's been my observation that GR routinely tries to downplay any outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases, I'm unaware of any case where it's actually targeted the parent of a child who died of a vaccine-preventable disease for harassment of this type. All that can be said is that Ms. Dorey is despicable beyond all belief, a truly vile human being.

Perhaps that's why the merry band of anti-vaccine loons at Age of Autism are so strongly supporting her. Martin Walker couldn't resist posting a spectacularly over-the-top screed entitled Health Fascism in Australia. As a member of CFI, I found its introduction particularly hilarious, so much so that I had to pause to clean the coffee off my keyboard as I read it again. It's just that funny:

The sinister Skeptics group, agents of what used to be CSICOP now the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) organised from the US and linked to the major corporate lobby groups, American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) and American Council Against Health Fraud (ACAHF), which is in turn linked to the Australian CAHF) are making ground in Australia. Supported by authoritarian ideological influences in government and Big Pharma, the Skeptics are running constant attacks on homeopathy, natural cancer treatments, those who question vaccination and those who support any form of alternative medicine.

With the present world fiscal crisis, all those linked to Big Pharma and Science are fighting a bitter battle to preserve drug company competitiveness. But where fascist influences in government and health with most force come together is in attacking anyone who speaks out about freedom of choice and expression in relation to vaccination.

Over the last year the international corporate lobby Skeptics, have been behind a campaign against the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN). In 2009, one of their trolls, a lay person with no standing in medicine or government complained about the web site of the AVN to the office of the State Government funded Health Care Complaints commission (HCCC) an organisation that accepts complaints against groups found be giving out false information about health.

Truly, the conspiracy woo is strong in this one. You know, I really wish we "sinister skeptics" did have that much power. But we don't. In fact, it often seems as though we're perpetually fighting a rearguard, losing action against various quackery and pseudoscience of the type that AoA so frequently advocates. I will admit, though, that it was a nice touch to include ACSH, given that I don't particularly like ACSH and have complained about its pro-industry bias before. The whole corporatism thing so nicely dovetails with accusations of fascism:

This is the hub of Health Fascism happily embraced by the HCCC evidently supported not by the votes of their constituents but by Big Pharma. The pharma-skeptics and corporate science geeks, have pushed this censorious line in Britain and America. In Britain they went so far as to draw up a set of rules suggesting that no one other than scientists or doctors should be able to write anything, or say anything in the media; no lay person was to be able to hold a view on their own health or that of others. The next step after ruling that no one other than scientists can speak about health, is the bringing into force of fascism. No discussion about compulsory vaccination - force it on people, no discussion about alternative medicine - ban it, no discussion about what constitutes democracy - bring in scientific and evidence based politics and human behaviour.

Damn, I envy those Australian skeptics. They're fascists with real power to use their jackboots to crush any dissent from the science-based medicine line that vaccines are safe and efficacious at preventing the deaths of babies like Dana McCaffery. I need a trip to Australia right away to study the dark arts of fascistic skepticism under the tutelage of people like Peter Bowditch. Unfortunately, for all his fascistic tendencies, Bowditch notes with sadness that the actual HCCC recommendations are less stringent than they should be in a science-based health care paradigm.

Fascism. Antivaxers keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

Enough blogging. Back to vacation. For one more full day, anyway.

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Notice that Ms. Dorey is complaining about a layperson stating an opinion on this topic. I suspect that this is the pot calling the kettle black. Even if she has a medical credential (an RN would be called "Ms."), it's rich that she's the one calling "fascism" while trying to control who is allowed to speak.

Not surprising, though.

(I have no medical training either. But I have studied logic.)

I'm reasonably sure that every time I click on a link to AOA, my IQ goes down by a couple of points. I really need to stop clicking.

Meanwhile... wow. Ms. Dorsey is as despicable a human being as you'll find. I wonder sometimes how people like her can live with themselves, until I remember they've actually managed to convince themselves that they're right.

By A Nonny Moose (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

I'd definitely say that the AVN is a somewhat loonier version than what we have here in the U.S. I mean, Dorey was spreading David Icke's whole Reptilian population control conspiracy about the H1N1 vaccine and "chemtrails". But then, she is from the U.S. (sorry, Australia), so perhaps she's not necessarily indicative of the Australian brand of antivaxer.

At any rate, yes, she is a callous, dangerous ignorant individual grasping at whatever straws can support her delusions.

Vicki- Meryl Dorey has *no* medical qualifications or credientials

on a side note- are RNs really called 'Ms' in the USA just because they are RNs?!

Here in Aust, I'm still a Miss even tho I'm an RN lol. (and it's 3:30am here, I should be asleep but am still elated after our lateline report!)

Tabs
(Proud to be a member of Stop the Australian Vaccination Network- http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=76305414878)

@KittyB
Good on ya miss!

As for foisting idiot Dorey on you (from the US), we got Ken Hamm, creationist loon in return (from down under) I think. Hamm just spreads stupid though, not death, so Dorey is really in a class by herself.

I hope the HCCC is collecting data and making graphs that show the incidence of vaccine preventable disease increases where vaccination rates are low. Publishing those graphs could help a lot.

Every time you click on an AoA article, an angel tears its wings off. Maybe.

(I'm also a member of the "Stop AVN" group on Facebook.)

By Rene Najera (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

KittyB--

No, RNs aren't called "Ms." because they're registered nurses. They're called Ms., Miss, Mrs., or Mr. depending on gender and preference. Fairly often, that comes out to "Ms." in something like a newspaper article, though the nametag in the hospital may say "Mary" or "Mary L." than
"Ms. Lee."

Wow her post is amazing. She could have jumped into alien coverup's and reptilian governments and i would have not even blinked.
She is bat sh#t crazy... to use the medical termanology

By Dwpeabody (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Science. SBMers keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

By augustine (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Methinks Dorey should read a few dozen books about civilian life in Mussolini's Italy, Franquist Spain and Nazi Germany before she continues throwing around the term 'fascist'.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

The next step after ruling that no one other than scientists can speak about health, is the bringing into force of fascism.

Godwin, anyone?

By Just Sayin' (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

In Britain they went so far as to draw up a set of rules suggesting that no one other than scientists or doctors should be able to write anything, or say anything in the media; no lay person was to be able to hold a view on their own health or that of others.
Complete news to me, and I'm in the UK. I think this stems from complaints from people like Ben Goldacre that hardly any newspapers nowadays use journalists with a science background to cover science and medicine stories; the result is a nearly-daily spew of breathless articles about some amazing new study or medical breakthrough that anybody with some science knowledge can see is total bovine testicles.
Equating public grumbles that journalists should write about subjects they're familiar with to 'drawing up a set of rules' enforcible by law is paranoid craziness.

I am disgusted. That crazy antivaxxers would harass a family just to further their "vaccines are bad, not good!" party line. It also shows a pathetic desperation. Positively revolting.

"I'll try to lay down a bit of discussion right now, before we head off to breakfast and then to Hoover Dam."

You are such a party animal, Orac.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Am I the only one who questions the wisdom of laws against groups giving out "false and misleading" information against health? Yes, I realize that false and misleading information can kill but OTOH, there is the potential for laws like this to be misused.

Michael @ 18:
It's a fine line. On the one hand, we need freedom of speech and diversity of opinion. On the other hand, it is irresponsible to shout "fire!" in a crowded theater (even if there really is a fire, because panicking the crowd will not help matters).

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

I've noticed that Australia has exported some especially aggressive cranks. It's the homeland of Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, and at the beginning of the 20th century, it supplied the world with Alexander Dowie, father of the modern flat-Earth movement.
A major irony I pointed out a few days ago on an older thread: Anti-vaxxers expect us to take their word that if a child was diagnosed with autism after being vaccinated, then the vaccine caused autism. But they are skeptical whether outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are caused by not vaccinating.

@18
We already have laws against false and misleading health claims; the US FTC and FDA regularly whack all manner of quacks, cranks, and charlatans. Consult the Google for "quack miranda warning" for examples of how to easily skirt the regulations.

Given how slowly the FTC and FDA act and the number of absolute nutters in the US promoting a veritable dog's breakfast of crap cure-alls, products, and advice, I don't see that these laws have impeded free speech one whit. If they did, Dana Ullman would be breaking rocks with Gary Null on Rikers Island while Oprah shivved Jenny McCarthy for the last stale blueberry muffin from breakfast.

I'm unaware of any case where it's actually targeted the parent of a child who died of a vaccine-preventable disease for harassment of this type
------------------------
What harassment? They called the health department. If the McCafferys want to use their child's death to start a vaccination campaign, questions surrounding the death are legitimate.

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

From the article:

They say an AVN representative posted a message on Facebook urging them to "tell the whole story".

"One day I hope the parents of this baby tell the whole story and are able to see how they have been used by a group of ruthless scumbags with alterior (sic) motives," the Facebook post said.

"Then maybe they will be able to honour their child's life with the truth."

Mr McCaffery says the comment is "reprehensible".

"To suggest that we're being used by a group of people - that we're not honouring our daughter's life with the truth - is just reprehensible. They are terrible people," he said.

Holy crap!

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

As one who works in the Australian health system I feel I must set the record straight. We are not heading toward fascism. Quite the opposite. According to an 88 year old woman I saw earlier today we are actually heading toward communism.

We are not heading toward fascism. Quite the opposite. According to an 88 year old woman I saw earlier today we are actually heading toward communism.

According to several prominent authorities [1], there is no difference. Socialism, Fascism, Communism, Unionism, Humanism, Darwinism, etc.: Indistinguishable.

[1] Limbaugh, Jirgal, et al, 2009

By D. C. Sessions (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

What harassment? They called the health department. If the McCafferys want to use their child's death to start a vaccination campaign, questions surrounding the death are legitimate.

Not exactly a wagon to be hitching yourself to there sid; AVN's actions have been reprehensible; they had it confirmed that the death was due to pertussis but pressed on anyhow. Having a death from pertussis in Australia kind of flies in the face of Dorey's contention that there have been no deaths of pertussis in Australia for decades. Would you care to defend that statement as well sid?

@Science Mom

Looks like 16 deaths in 13 years. Not that scary.
-----------------
...pressed on anyhow

Pressed on how? I'm just now hearing about this story. What's been so reprehensible considering these people have put themselves into the media spotlight. And it looks like this pressing has brought to light one possible error in the prescription of the wrong antibiotic

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Pressed on how? I'm just now hearing about this story. What's been so reprehensible considering these people have put themselves into the media spotlight. And it looks like this pressing has brought to light one possible error in the prescription of the wrong antibiotic

You don't try claiming that these people are essentially using their daughters death in some giant conspiracy. You dumbass.

The AVN is based in Bangalow, Northern Rivers, NSW. I don't know if it's related to the AVN being there (probably?) but the Northern Rivers has the lowest vaccination rates in the country - 79.6%, which is below the level required for herd immunity (http://holocenehominoid.blogspot.com/2010/06/travel-advisory-for-northe…).

The Northern Rivers region roughly covers the top half of the white area on that map. I live a few hours south of there and have family who regularly go to the Northern Rivers to see their family. Could it be pure bad luck that their kids all contracted whooping cough (non-fatally) within the last year? As far as I'm concerned, the sooner AVN is shut down, the better.

Well, you know, Science Mom, a doctor has to sign that death certificate. And all doctors (with the exception of DAN doctors of course) are Big Pharma shills. So obviously you can't believe a word any one of them says.

Actually pertussis was a really big problem here last year. Thankfully there haven't been any deaths here where I live; but I attribute that largely to the fact that we have close to a 100% child vaccination rate in this particular corner of the country; and largely to sheer dumb luck, that none of these affected adults had close prolonged contact with small infants. (And surprise surprise, even with close to 100% vaccination rates, we have no higher rate of autism here than anywhere else in the country.) The problem is that, in adults, it just presents like a really nasty cold. It can last for several months, but most adults assume it's the common cold and they're just having a bad run with it. Important health reminder: Your pertussis shot does not confer lifetime immunity. Get a booster, save yourself from a nasty cold, and potentially save a baby's life.

Sid, you are a sick bastard. Only 16 lives, who cares? With an attitude like that does anyone actually trust you enough to let you around their kids?

Fascism. Antivaxers keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.

"âWhen I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, âit means just what I choose it to meanâneither more nor less.'

âThe question is,' said Alice, âwhether you can make words mean so many different things."

The problem is that, in adults, it just presents like a really nasty cold. It can last for several months,
-----------------------
Really?

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heic/id/pertussis/
Adult pertussis is under-reported, with many adult cases going unrecognized

Acute Bordetella pertussis Infection in an Adult
by S Smith - 1996 - Cited by 7 - Related articles
B. pertussis infection in adults usually presents as
a mild infection, sometimes only a cough.

NJDHSS, Communicable Disease Service: Pertussis
Older children or adults often have no symptoms or will only have mild symptoms

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid Troll, what level of death from pertussis concerns you? Do you prefer the American stats:

Pertussis:
Year___Cases__Deaths__Year___Cases__Deaths
2000____7867____ 12___1950__120718__1118
2001____7580____ 17___1951___68687___951
2002____9771____ 18___1952___45030___402
2003___11647____ 11___1953___37129___270
2004___25827____ 27___1954___60886___373
2005___25616____ 39___1955___62786___467
2006___15632____ 16___1956___31732___266
Total_103940____140_________426968__3847

The death figures for 2004 through 2006 are from the 9th slide in this set.

How many babies need to die before you care?

"Looks like 16 deaths in 13 years. Not that scary."

Come Offit, Sid.

There were 17 pertussis-related deaths in the U.S. in one recent year (2000). Not as bad as in 1934, when 12,000 died. And not remotely as bad as the situation currently seen worldwide, when 350,000 a year die from this disease, largely due to the inavailability of vaccine.

And of course, antivaxers like Sid focus only on developed countries (poor nations are believed unworthy of consideration) - but even in developed countries there's more than death from residual pertussis to concern us.

Infants under 6 months of age have a higher morbidity and mortality risk. Those under 2 months of age have the highest reported rates of pertussis-associated hospitalization (82%), pneumonia (25%), seizures (4%), encephalopathy (1%), and death (1%). The principal complications of pertussis are: apnea, secondary infections (such as otitis media and pneumonia), and physical sequelae of forceful coughing."

Should we subject more children to the misery of this disease, potential long-term effects and death, and place adults (particularly those who are immunosuppressed) at risk by pooh-poohing the consequences of infection and trying to turn people against vaccination?

Sid and his buddies think so.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Ah Sid, Sid, Sid... the deliberate ignorance bit is really old. If you're looking this stuff up, you know full well that it is young infants who are at risk of death (from apnea). You choose to focus on adults and older children because it conveniently supports your contention that pertussis is not dangerous. Polite people call this "cherry picking". I call it "being a giant dick".

Sid Troll:

Adult pertussis is under-reported, with many adult cases going unrecognized

That is an argument for more adults and teenagers to get the Tdap. I guess you did not realize you actually posted something pro-vax.

It looks like Dorey is a homeopathy supporter. Go figure.

How is this for a solution? If rich white Australians refuse to have their children vaccinated, their children are taken away and given to the Aborigines.

Sid, I appreciate how you have shown your true colours.

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

Three infants died of Pertussis in the outbreak of 2009 in Australia. One was the Mcaffrey baby and the other two babies had received 1 dose of pertussis containg vaccine.

There has been mountains of media exposure for Dana Mcaffrey but none whatsoever for the other two babies who were vaccinated.

Taken from the Australian Department of Health and Ageing website: http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/cda-cdi33…

To clarify - 'pertussis-containing vaccine' does not mean it was a contaminated vaccine; it means the infants in question had recieved only one shot of the vaccine. Here, it is given at 2, 4, and 6 months, and again at 4 years. If the children in question recieved only 1 dose that would mean (most likely) they were between 2 and 4 months old.

Just to add some more information to the harrassment (as if it weren't enough already)

Meryl Dorey sent her husband Ken Dorey to the home of the Grandparents of Dana McCaffery the day before Dana's funeral. He extended his condolances and then said that Meryl would like to speak to the family about Dana's death... the DAY BEFORE THEIR DAUGHTER'S FUNERAL.

Then! if that weren't enough! after her outrageous, offensive, incorrect and ignorant e-newsletter about Dana and the nature of her death- and then an AVN member sent it to Dana's Aunty... all before they had even had the funeral.

So Sid- screw you.

Jinxy- the reason the other families and their lost babies aren't as public is because they chose not to be, and after how Dana's family has been treated- can you really blame them?

Chris asked Sid troll

How many babies need to die before you care?

Based on Sid's commenting record, I believe it would depend on the amount of melanin in the babies.

By Militant Agnostic (not verified) on 12 Jul 2010 #permalink

jinxy, the two babies had only had one vaccine each. They needed to have had at least three to become mostly protected. Even then the vaccine is really only 80% effective.

You seem to be playing the nirvana fallacy, that if it is not 100% effective, then it is not worth it. Which is quite wrong. It means that herd immunity is even more important. Again, the Tdap needs to be taken up by any adult who will be near children.

Here is a little educational video which explains herd immunity.

"There has been mountains of media exposure for Dana Mcaffrey but none whatsoever for the other two babies who were vaccinated."
How about the "blackfellows" who died of H1N1, while David Burd and AoA were announcing that Australia had no flu epidemic?

"The Sinister Skeptics."

Would they play Vaccine Fascists?

I love the fact that AVN complains about all doctors and scientists being tied to Big Pharma or part of the conspiracy, but then when someone who isn't a doctor or scientist comments, then we get this - "one of their trolls, a lay person with no standing in medicine or government".

I find myself compelled to ask: if it were a virus that killed you in a very painful manner over the course of about a month, and the vaccine prevented it in 99.998% of cases, would you still be calling it "health fascism" to force it on everybody ?

All the ruling does is force them to have a disclaimer admitting that they have no scientific backing for their craziness - they are still allowed to post or say whatever they want. The fact that they are screaming so loudly shows what they are really after - misleading parents.

Dorey has been digging herself deeper today in truly hilarious fashion, it's so nice to enjoy the show rather than being enraged. Although I did honestly believe the Walker article was a Poe until I realised it was from AoA.

I had pertussis as an adult and it nearly killed me. I was off work for weeks and whooping for months. They didn't have the vaccine when I was a kid and my Mum never mentioned that I was the one who didn't get it then. You want to know what it feels like? Cough your lungs empty then clamp your neck shut. Anti-vaxxers want to do this your babies.

Since I was stupid enough to fall for the anti-vaccine rubbish my kids had pertussis too, heart-breaking how they fight for breath in the night. Since then we have been vaccinated for everything possible and I check the record every year to keep us all up to date.

@49. Yes, that is all the ruling does. But the accompanying report which is being quoted by mainstream media here in Australia is damning in it's assertion that the AVN do not provide credible, accurate information regarding vaccination and are, in fact, an antivaccination organisation. It then goes on to point out the errors in the AVN's infamous "10 Questions" information, as well as other information provided.
The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission is a govt body and is subject to some very complex laws and red-tape just like all govt bodies. The fact that they looked at the complaints against the AVN, who do not provide health care nor have registered clinicians at the helm of the organisation, and decided that as the AVN provide health care information and advice they actually do come under the HCCC scope speaks volumes to me. If Meryl Dorey and the AVN were registered clinicians/providers then the recommendations would have been far stronger.
This is a start. Little steps. And a govt authority has investigated and stated the AVN are not credible and do not provide accurate information. This severely limits the access to the media as a "vaccine expert" that Meryl Dorey once enjoyed in this country.
As for her and her group's actions re the McCafferys - her true agenda and persona has been exposed and she has been called to account.
More investigations with other government authorities are also currently underway as well.

I could barely get through the linked article.

There are not words in the English language to express how vile this woman is, and everyone else supporting her in harassing a couple who have lost a child.

She couldn't even wait until after the funeral? She is disgusting filth. The whole month surrounding my son's funeral was the worst, most unbearably painful time of our lives. The fact that there are people in the world who would ignore common decency and attack Toni and Dave McCafferty for trying to save other infants from their daughters fate, makes me sick.

I hope this is just the beginning of the anti-vax groups getting their actions exposed in the media. I love how Ms. Dorey tries to deny some of her more reprehensible statements, which shows that she knows what an inhuman monster she appears to be.

She is a slimy weasel and I hope public opinion lambastes the AVN for being the acrimonious bunch of ass-bags they are.

@Science Mom

Looks like 16 deaths in 13 years. Not that scary.

Leave it to you to simultaneously avoid the challenge and make yourself look like even a bigger wanker. Sixteen isn't none now is it?

...pressed on anyhow

Pressed on how? I'm just now hearing about this story. What's been so reprehensible considering these people have put themselves into the media spotlight. And it looks like this pressing has brought to light one possible error in the prescription of the wrong antibiotic

Dorey and her merry band of assholes harangued the McCaffrerys unmercifully. That you could defend Dorey's actions speaks volumes. The antibiotic charge is complete tosh and demonstrates not only what little you actually know about pertussis but gleefully swallow and regurgitate whatever shite is fed to you. You've hit rock bottom and just keep digging.

Sid,
Maybe you are confusing Africa with Australia. We know you approve of deaths in Africa. Pretty insulting Sid.

These are preventable deaths Sid. With no autism downside based on surveys comparing high vaccine areas with low uptake areas. Statistically, if vaccine rates were over herd immunity levels, 15 of the 16 would not have died.

Dorey should be made to care for whooping cough infants and babies as part of her insufficient punishment for being a vile, classless asshole. You could certainly join her Sid.

Pressed on how? I'm just now hearing about this story...

Right -- Sid Troll is coming in late, and hasn't even bothered to get the full picture, but already he's pretending he's the authority. I guess that's an indicator of how desperate he is to gloss over the visible evil done by others in his camp. What a worthless cowardly little shit.

By Raging bee (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Although it's been my observation that GR routinely tries to downplay any outbreak of vaccine-preventable diseases, I'm unaware of any case where it's actually targeted the parent of a child who died of a vaccine-preventable disease for harassment of this type.

What continent is "bensmyson" from? I'm sure he/she would happily join such a pile-on.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Mikema
Statistically, if vaccine rates were over herd immunity levels, 15 of the 16 would not have died.

As per usual, you have no idea what you're talking about. There is no pertussis herd immunity due to the vaccines limited efficacy and people's unwillingness to recieve boosters throughout their lives

PEDIATRICS Vol. 112 No. 2 August 2003, pp. 405-406

COMMENTARY
The Science and Fiction of the "Resurgence" of Pertussis
James D. Cherry, MD, MSc

Today B pertussis is circulating and causing disease in adolescents and adults of all ages and all have had previous infections and many past immunizations. There are about 1 million cases of pertussis in adolescents and adults in the United States each year and about 13% of all prolonged cough illnesses in adolescents and adults are attributable to B pertussis infection.8

--------------------------------

@DLC

if it were a virus that killed you in a very painful manner over the course of about a month, and the vaccine prevented it in 99.998% of cases, would you still be calling it "health fascism" to force it on everybody ?

Yes

----------------------

@Kitty

Meryl Dorey sent her husband Ken Dorey to the home of the Grandparents of Dana McCaffery the day before Dana's funeral

Had not seen this in the media reports. If true would certainly be out of line. Do you have a source/link?
---------------------

@Chris
How many babies need to die before you care?
Sid Troll, what level of death from pertussis concerns you?

What does that mean? I hear it a lot from your side. Does care/concern mean to do what YOU want and vaccinate. And force everyone else to do the same?

--------------
@Sciencemom

Dorey and her merry band of assholes harangued the McCaffrerys unmercifully

You continue to avoid the issue - "harangued the McCaffrerys unmercifully" - how???

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Jack
Ah Sid, Sid, Sid... the deliberate ignorance bit is really old. You choose to focus on adults and older children because it conveniently supports your contention that pertussis is not dangerous. Polite people call this "cherry picking". I call it "being a giant dick".

Try reading the posts before you comment. I was responding to this:

The problem is that, in ADULTS, it just presents like a really nasty cold. It can last for several months,

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Sid Offit: Ms Dorey's behavior and comments are linked in the main post by Orac. Click and read. In Kristen's comment at 52, she links the the Australian ABC where they have a transcription of the program.

@Sid Offit,

Perhaps you could set a good example by demonstrating more awareness of the larger picture in your own writngs.

A few straight-forward answers to direct questions might help too.

By squirrelelite (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid, you know how to use the internets, right? As a troll on this blog, how could you have possibly missed all the Australian coverage of Dana McCaffrey's death? Dorey and AVN's harrassment of this family was well documented . . . http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2951651.htm

By Pareidolius (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@11

Awwww, what a cute attempt at immitation! You should take note of a couple of things, though, before attempting it again:

1) When Orac uses it above it is preceded by a lengthy takedown of the person using the word in question explaining how wrong they are and exactly why they are wrong. In this case, no one was really talking about science all that much, and if they did use the term incorrectly, I'm having a hard time finding it. If I'm wrong, enlighten me. Be specific and thorough.

2) The phrase is usually used when there is a specific word that is actually being used wrong (and often) by the party in question. If Orac had made a post in which he repeatedly used the word "science" to describe something that was clearly not science, and the commenters then did the same, your usage would be appropriate.

These handy tips might make your usage of the montoyaism more effective. As is, it seems like you were attempting to do a drive by egging in a vacant lot with a handful of pingpong balls.

By mikerattlesnake (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

AVN's harrassment of this family was well documented
-----------
I just see where they contacted the health dept

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Sciencemom

Dorey and her merry band of assholes harangued the McCaffrerys unmercifully

You continue to avoid the issue - "harangued the McCaffrerys unmercifully" - how???

Not even close sid. All of the supporting documentation has been linked to and discussed, not my problem if you need it spoon-fed to you. The onus is upon you to keep up and follow along.

Now, is 16 none? Is Dorey factually correct by stating that there have been no pertussis deaths in Australia? Is she justified in her tactics against these parents because they chose the road of advocacy? Rather hypocritical since Dorey claims to be an advocate. Why would she deny what she has done if she was so justified?

Sid Troll, you were the one saying it was "only" 16. Which is why I asked you how many kids have to die of a vaccine preventable disease before you care. Perhaps I should have said before you cared about the science and facts.

Which you don't. Just like you don't care when the sick and dying children are darker than bleached linen.

Oh, and there is video of Dorey's disgusting comments in the presence of the parents of the baby who died. She is reprehensible. It was what was quoted in the above news clip. She first denies it, and then says "and forgets about the children who died from the vaccine." Except on the Channel 7 debate she cannot provide evidence of children dying from the vaccine.

Sid Offit @ #57 cites the article "The Science and Fiction of the 'Resurgence' of Pertussis by James D. Cherry, MD, MSc.

Highly recommended reading. Quote from the article:

The modest increase in reported pertussis is of concern but hardly deserves the title of "resurgent" disease because the rate of illness in the United States is still 50-fold less than in the prevaccine era.

@Science Mom
The antibiotic charge is complete tosh and demonstrates not only what little you actually know about pertussis

Complete tosh is it?

Their Facebook page:
Started Erythromycin to stop her being infectious.

http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=8468
Under 1 month erythromycin not recommended.

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid,
So you are saying the 16 deaths were guaranteed? Nothing could be done to push the adult booster uptake? AVN had nothing to do with adults not wanting vaccines? Interesting slant. I still think you & Dorey-ass ought to spend time with afflicted kids.

My Cherry Quote
There are about 1 million cases of pertussis in adolescents and adults in the United States each year

Your Cherry Quote
the rate of illness in the United States is still 50-fold less than in the prevaccine era.

If we did have 50 times more pertussis in the prevaccine era we'd have 50 million cases each and every year in a population of 150 million. Impossible. Highest prevaccine estimates I've seen point to the entire birth cohort - which is/was 3 millionish. Maybe he's mixing reported cases with actual to get his 50 fold?

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Mikema

So you are saying the 16 deaths were guaranteed?

No. One could mandate that every man woman and child in Australia be vaccinated over and over to prevent ~1 death a year. It just depends on what type of world you want to live in

--------
AVN had nothing to do with adults not wanting vaccines?
Can there be no voice countering those of the medical establishment?

Besides, most of the health care workers/adults who don't get the flu shot don't fail to get it becausue of NVIC or AVN - they've probably never even heard of those organizations - so perhaps at the margin they could have an effect but I don't imagine I'd be significant.

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Sid Offit

Perhaps you should have kept reading past the second paragraph from your link on treating pertussis. If you had you would have seen this (emphasis added):

For treatment of pertussis among infants aged <1 month (neonates), no data are available on the effectiveness of azithromycin and clarithromycin. Abstracts and published case series describing use of azithromycin among infants aged <1 month report fewer adverse events compared with erythromycin; to date, use of azithromycin in infants aged <1 month has not been associated with infantile hypertrophic pyloric stenosis (IHPS). Therefore, for pertussis, azithromycin is the preferred macrolide for postexposure prophylaxis and treatment of infants aged <1 month. In this age group, the risk for acquiring severe pertussis and its life-threatening complications outweigh the potential risk for IHPS that has been associated with erythromycin. Infants aged <1 month who receive a macrolide should be monitored for IHPS and other serious adverse events.

While erythromycin is not recommended, it can be used, particularly in light of the fact that efficacy for azithromycin and clarithromycin, according to your link, is unknown in the <1 month old age group.

Sid:

Can there be no voice countering those of the medical establishment?

Interesting that the rate of vaccination around AVN is lower than for other (saner) areas of AU. You make it sound as if harassing parents of dead children is a reasonable voice countering anything. AVN are pigs. You should pick your battles more carefully.

@Sid Offit: (#67) You quote:

Under 1 month erythromycin not recommended.

First, those are USA guidelines, and Australia's may be different. I haven't been able to find them yet. Even in the USA, however, the Merck Manual says it may be used in infants >1 month. (It gives the preferred drug for under 1 month as Azithromycin) Neonate doses are based on weight per kilo in preference to age. If a baby weighs enough, they may be given a drug even if not "recommended" for their age. If they are 3 months old but under a certain weight, they may not be given a "safe" (for their age) drug.

Second, Dana WAS about 1 month old (medically, months go generally by 28 day periods, not necessarily calendar months when dealng with neonates/infants). So, her doctors may have decided to give e-mycin as the safest antibiotic for an infant her age and weight. Again, Australia's recommendations may be different for treatment of pertussis in a neonate. They were trying to save Dana's life, you know. They may have gone with the other drug in hopes of doing so.

Let me go on the record saying that "harassing parents of dead children" is bad. I'm not in favor of it. But I haven't seen anything that falls into that category - quote with link would be nice. And I'm sorry but I don't have the time to become an internet detective to find these horrible things. The group is making the charges let them produce the evidence.

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid @ 73:

As more than one person has already pointed out, the link you seek is in Orac's article. With transcripts of Dorey's commentary.

Can't you fucking read?

By Composer99 (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Even with a 28 day month it seems like it was perscribe a little early but either was I doesn't seem to have been a contributing factor. And I did say "possible" due to the proximity of the 1 month cutoff. My only point was that looking into situations like these is justified because that's the only way to discover if there's something underlying the "perfectly healthy" claim and thus providing parents with accurate information. And I agree. The doctors are doing whatever they can under the circumstances and should be commended.

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Even with a 28 day month it seems like it was prescribed a little early but either way I doesn't seem to have been a contributing factor

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Some antivax loons are simply misguided.

Sid, on the other hand, is outright evil, taking glee in the suffering and death of children.

@Scott

That's complete tosh!

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Your posting history speaks for itself, proving it to not be tosh of any sort.

Sid,
Scott's use of 'glee' might be a little over the top but you do have a reputation fro minimizing the suffering of others in the support of morons like Dorey and others. You have many times quashed worldwide stats because of your devaluation of third world human suffering. Suffering is suffering. Fighting to prevent it is pretty damned evil.

Let me go on the record saying that "harassing parents of dead children" is bad. I'm not in favor of it. But I haven't seen anything that falls into that category - quote with link would be nice.

Quotes and links have ALREADY BEEN PROVIDED, you stupid shit, and you're ignoring it like the stupid bigot you clearly are. There's no use talking to someone who is clearly choosing not to listen or understand.

I'm not a regular advocate of banning, but Sid's comments have been consistently insulting, willfully ignorant, and totally devoid of even a credible pretense of good faith. Even by the standards of most woo-advocate comments, Sid has nothing to contribute, blatantly ignores the contributions of others, and can't even act like a grownup. In short, he doesn't work or play well with others, he won't be missed, and there are plenty of better woo-boys who would happily fill in for him if he's banned. He has no more place here than a raving drunk homeless loony has in a conference of medical professionals.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Let me go on the record saying that "harassing parents of dead children" is bad. I'm not in favor of it. But I haven't seen anything that falls into that category - quote with link would be nice.

Quotes and links have ALREADY BEEN PROVIDED, you stupid shit, and you're ignoring it like the stupid bigot you clearly are. There's no use talking to someone who is clearly choosing not to listen or understand.

I'm not a regular advocate of banning, but Sid's comments have been consistently insulting, willfully ignorant, and totally devoid of even a credible pretense of good faith. Even by the standards of most woo-advocate comments, Sid has nothing to contribute, blatantly ignores the contributions of others, and can't even act like a grownup. In short, he doesn't work or play well with others, he won't be missed, and there are plenty of better woo-boys who would happily fill in for him if he's banned. He has no more place here than a raving drunk homeless loony has in a conference of medical professionals.

By Raging Bee (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid,

In item 34 above, Chris presented the reported infection and death rates for pertussis in a period before immunization and in a period after immunization was widely available. Both reported infection rate and death rate went down.

If I understand your position properly, you believe the rate of immunization is so high in places like the United States and Australia that even if you don't immunize yourself and your children, the odds against you and yours being sickened (much less killed) by pertussis is small (only 16 out of 400 million or so). You would also advise others to do the same for the same rationale.

Is that more or less right? If so, what happens when more people act as you advise? Is there evidence that pertussis related deaths won't return to pre-immunization levels in such communities?

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Technically the whole-cell pertussis vaccine became available in the 1940s. The CDC data actually only starts in the 1950s.

The main change is that the vaccine was not universally available to all, and there was no real push to vaccinate. At least not as much as when the polio vaccine became available. So the comparison between fifty years is still valid, especially since the population of the USA has almost doubled during the same time period.

Funny, the troll who says he is not a "cow" in the Vaccine Song thread actually relies on herd immunity. He may not be a "cow", but he is a parasite.

(especially since he has appropriated the name of an author)

Chris,

Thanks for the clarification.

By Mephistopheles… (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@RagingBee

I'm inclined to agree with you, but only insofar as that Sid is seemingly committed to contributing absolutely nothing to any discussion, and then bloviating and backtracking when anyone points out the absurd bigotry of his position ("that's not what I said! Oh, it is? Well it's not what I meant" ad nauseum). Any ideas (valid or otherwise) he/she may have wanted to contribute were contributed long ago, and now he/she is simply an occasional irritant who throws topic threads completely off topic.

I'm not at all a proponent of banning unpopular speech, but usless, repetitive and dull speech contributes nothing to any conversation and has no value. There are anti-vaxxers who post here occasionally who bring actual points to the table for debate, and while the majority of us obviously disagree it's at least interesting and worthwhile to discuss and debate. Others (I'm thinking specifically of STY) are at least entertaining enough to spice up a post and at least that's some contribution.

Sid (and jen and augustine, as far as I am concerned) are neither interesting nor entertaining, and anything he (they) have to contribute was said long ago. They bore me so utterly that I am loath to even post this comment that mentions them by name, but perhaps a discussion on the appropriate time to ban a troll is more interesting than yet another conversation about why some diseases are okay because they don't kill enough people for Sid to care.

The only value the trolls add is to help re-hash points for newbies. This is a case, I suspect, of diminishing returns. They can be object lessons for others to learn from but they are not necessary as such.

I agree with Ian. The days when it was fun to mock Sid are even long past. Now, even that is boring.

@MikeMa

The only value the trolls add is to help re-hash points for newbies

That is true, and something I had not considered. It was a comparatively short time ago that all trolls under the sun, Sid included, were brand new for me and did help me shortcut a lot of the more superficial objections.

Maybe I should just buy a Gameboy or something for when I get bored, rather than expecting comment threads to be my salvation :P

I'm quite sure Orac doesn't need our help or suggestions in deciding who to ban and when.

Ian,

You may wish to invest in something a bit more up-to-date like a PSP or DS. Just sayin'.

By Composer99 (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Scott - how do YOU know? Maybe it keeps him up at night!

@Composer99 - naw, that wouldn't be 'ironic' enough for my hipster image. For example, I am currently writing this on a Mac Classic II (and wearing the skins of animals I trapped and slaughtered myself).

Complete tosh is it?

Their Facebook page:
Started Erythromycin to stop her being infectious.

http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=8468
Under 1 month erythromycin not recommended.

Yes, complete tosh for A.) No mention of erythromycin use, that I could find, appears on their facebook page. Unlike you, I made an effort to ascertain verification.

And B.)M.I. Dawn @ 72 explained, quite nicely, how or why erythromycin may have been used and not contraindicated as you charge.

But most importantly, you are victim-blaming, just as Dorey has been. Something MUST have been wrong with the baby, or parental care or medical care for her to have died. It's gross and shameful that anyone would stoop to such tactics to preserve their egregious and fallacious statements.

I suspect that the likes of Dorey, such as you, are very uncomfortable that your proclamations and influences don't take place in a vacuum and do have an impact on those that don't make the same choices as you. So you weasel your way out of the fact that healthy, well-cared for infants can and do just die of infectious diseases.

Well, I wouldn't ask Orac to ban Sid, because idiocy is not a banning offensive. However, I don't have to read him any more. If he can't follow links (and I even specifically pointed to Kristen's link also), then I don't need to waste my time reading what he has to say.

Sid, you just joined Augustine, Smarter Than You (in all incarnations), and jen in greasemonkey's killfile. Enjoy the company.

Just for the record, erythromycin and azithromycin are from the same class of antibiotics (macrolides) and have the same mechanism of action. Both of these drugs are pretty much equally efficacious in the treatment of pertussis. I suspect the reason that these guidelines don't recommend erythromycin for infants <1 month is because it is associated with gastric dysmotility and pyloric stenosis in that age group.

What this means, Sid, is that this baby being on erythromycin does not mean that she had some other underlying infection. There are very few infections in infants where macrolides are the drug of choice and the erythromycin was appropriate treatment for pertussis and therefore was likely prescribed for that indication.

#96 had a line cut off the first paragraph for some reason. This is what I wrote:

Just for the record, erythromycin and azithromycin are from the same class of antibiotics (macrolides) and have the same mechanism of action. Both of these drugs are pretty much equally efficacious in the treatment of pertussis. I suspect the reason that these guidelines don't recommend erythromycin for infants is because it is associated with gastric dysmotility and pyloric stenosis.

What this means, Sid, is that this baby being on erythromycin does not mean that she had some other underlying infection. There are very few infections in infants where macrolides are the drug of choice and the erythromycin was appropriate treatment for pertussis and therefore was likely prescribed for that indication.

It should also be pointed out that Bordetella pertussis bacteria also produce a couple of types of toxins. Antibiotics will do absolutely nothing about the toxins.

I am always amazed when there is a hue and a cry about the supposed "toxins" in vaccines, and very little about the toxins created by various bacteria. Like the ones created by Clostridium botulinum bacteria that certain folks who scream about toxins in vaccines actually have injected in their face!

Sid - infants can seem fine one minute and go down the tubes the next. Anyone who's worked with pediatrics knows that.

By dedicated lurker (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

...even if you don't immunize yourself and your children, the odds against you and yours being sickened (much less killed) by pertussis is small

With 1 million cases a year both I and or my child probably will or have gotten it. Pertussis, like the flu, just doesn't worry me enough to get a shot - or several - for it
----------------
what happens when more people act as you advise?

I don't advise anyone to do anything. I simply point out these aren't the killer diseases the establishment would like us to believe they are.

Is there evidence that pertussis related deaths won't return to pre-immunization levels in such communities?

Hard to say but there weren't many deaths when people all over the world stopped vaccinating during the DTP scare of the 70s and 80s?

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Sid Offit @ 73

Let me go on the record saying that "harassing parents of dead children" is bad. I'm not in favor of it.

I lurk these comment threads pretty frequently, and I think this is the only time I've ever seen Sid make a definitive position statement. No insinuations, no leading questions, no random links that supposedly support his position, or papers that might are just tangentially related to what's being discussed - just a pure statement of where he stands. Congratulations, Sid!

I think that in the future, we might be able to get him to agree that small animals can be cute, and pie is often delicious.

Sorry, previous posted directed at:

Mephistopheles O'Brien

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@Science Mom

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=64908671721#!/topic.php?uid=64908…

Started Erythromycin to stop her being infectious. Heart rate, oxygen levels, reps of breathing all good.

Thanks for the link and as has been explained to you, is moot. But since you have obviously perused the McCaffrey's FB page, you should have been able to see the abuse that they had been subjected to. Or will you just cherry-pick what suits you? Still a Dorey fanboy?

Hard to say but there weren't many deaths when people all over the world stopped vaccinating during the DTP scare of the 70s and 80s?

Oh really? See Japan and Sweden for pertussis epidemiology when they withdrew DTP or delayed until 2 years old. Death isn't the only outcome of interest to anyone that is actually interested in epidemiology and infectious diseases.

@Science Mom

Death isn't the only outcome of interest
------------
True enough but I was responding to this specific question:

Is there evidence that pertussis related deaths won't return to pre-immunization levels in such communities?

And, since you raised the issue of Sweden, do you have any data regarding pertussis deaths in Sweden during the 17 years they stopped vaccinating for pertussis. The literature is silent on the matter

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

Some important facts for those interested in protecting their children from suffering through an unpleasant and potentially permanently damaging/fatal disease (and for antivaxers) from a Medscape article available online:

"The rate of pertussis peaked in the (prevaccination) 1930s, with 265,269 cases and 7518 deaths reported in the United States. This rate decreased to a low in 1976, when 1010 cases and 4 deaths occurred. The rate recently peaked to 25,616 cases (8.7 cases per 100,000 people per year) reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005 and 15,632 (5.2 per 100,000) reported in 2006. The CDC estimates that 5-10% of all cases of pertussis are recognized and reported. Pertussis remains the most commonly reported vaccine-preventable disease in the United States in children younger than 5 years...In England, the percentage of people vaccinated over the last 4 decades decreased to less than 30%. This decline has resulted in thousands of cases reported recently, a rate that approaches the incidence in the prevaccination era. Similar epidemic outbreaks have recently occurred in Sweden, Canada, and Germany. Nearly 300,000 deaths from pertussis in Africa are thought to have occurred over the last decade (note: estimates of worldwide pertussis deaths (mostly occurring in regions without vaccine protection) have ranged from 190,00 to nearly 400,000 per year - a grim statistic of interest, excepting to those antivaxers for whom death and disability outside of developed countries are insignificant)...

Today, about 10-25% of children younger than 4 years and 2-4% of all persons with pertussis secondarily develop bacterial pneumonia. Approximately 1-2% of infants and 0.3-0.6% of adults develop seizures, which are believed to be a result of hypoxia or cerebral hemorrhage from the prolonged coughing spells. About 0.1% develop encephalopathy.
â¢In the prevaccination era, pertussis caused more than 270,000 cases and nearly 10,000 deaths annually. This rate reached a low of 4 reported deaths in the United States in 1982 and has recently risen to an average of about 25 deaths annually, with 39 being reported in 2005...

Complications of pertussis infection include hypoxic encephalopathy (brain damage), pneumonia and cerebral hemorrhage.

The CDC's page on What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations (highly recommended) notes that in eight countries where pertussis vaccination rates dropped, their pertussis incidence surged to 10 to 100 times the level seen in countries where vaccination rates were sustained.

It's worth protecting your kids (and susceptible adults) from such a disease by getting them vaccinated.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

And, since you raised the issue of Sweden, do you have any data regarding pertussis deaths in Sweden during the 17 years they stopped vaccinating for pertussis. The literature is silent on the matter

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=84

I don't know what is so silent about Swedish pertussis epidemiology. You can also follow some of the references. Deaths aren't the only important outcome to me so deal with it.

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol6no5/pdf/srugo.pdf

"VACCINATED (my emphasis) adolescents and adults may
serve as reservoirs for silent infection and
become potential transmitters to unprotected
infants"

"Therefore,
even young, recently VACCINATED (my emphasis) children may
serve as reservoirs and potential transmitters of
infection."

By augustine (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

The literature is often very silent when you do not check. While I have not had a chance to read them a quick pubmed search finds a number of articles on the subject in addition to the one linked to by Science Mom.

In defense of Sid, as far as I can tell, he's only saying that the risk/benefit ratio of vaccination is different for people living in First World nations versus people living in Third World nations, and he isn't saying "who cares about people living in Third World nations".

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@105 Bacon

"The CDC's page on What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations (highly recommended) notes that in eight countries where pertussis vaccination rates dropped, their pertussis incidence surged to 10 to 100 times the level seen in countries where vaccination rates were sustained."

Let me "Cherry" pick some stats off of the CDC website.

1965 6,799 cases 55 deaths
1956 31,732 cases 266 deaths
1960 11,468 cases 76 deaths
2004 25,827 cases 16 deaths
2005 25,616 cases 31 deaths

We don't have to wait to answer the question. 50 years of increased vaccine coverage and we're heading back towards prevaccine numbers. Keep in mind that your article says only 5-10% of cases are reported. 500,000 cases of pertussis with all of the vaccine coverage.

Maybe the CDC, in their haste to create fear and drive vaccine uptake, didn't realize they put the efficacy of the vaccine in question.

Houston, we have a vaccine problem.

"The rate of pertussis peaked in the (prevaccination) 1930s, with 265,269 cases and 7518 deaths reported in the United States."

Does the CDC give citations for these numbers?

"Nearly 300,000 deaths from pertussis in Africa are thought to have occurred over the last decade (note: estimates of worldwide pertussis deaths (mostly occurring in regions without vaccine protection) have ranged from 190,00 to nearly 400,000 per year - a grim statistic of interest, excepting to those antivaxers for whom death and disability outside of developed countries are insignificant)... "

Maybe this has something to do with it...

http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/80/1/193

Just maybe. A true objective scientist would consider variables.

By augustine (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=84

"Financial support was obtained from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (contract no. N01-AI-15125) and from the following manufacturers: SmithKline Beecham (Rixensart, Belgium); Pasteur-Mérieux Connaught (Toronto, Canada), and Pasteur-Mérieux MSD (Lyon, France)."

Vaccine manufacturer says vaccine really really works. It's amazing. Just as good as the less safe older killer version. In fact more mice gain weight than die with this version.

"The rapid decline of pertussis in Sweden is promising, but it remains to be shown that currently licensed vaccines in the present schedule will control disease in the long term."

Why? Who wants to go out on a limb and say that it will ABSOLUTELY control disease in the long term?

Why don't we use the whole cell vaccine again?

By augustine (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

50 years of increased vaccine coverage and we're heading back towards prevaccine numbers. Keep in mind that your article says only 5-10% of cases are reported. 500,000 cases of pertussis with all of the vaccine coverage.

I remember my first day of intro epidemiology (actually, both of my first days - I took the course in both undergrad and grad school). One of the first things they teach you is the difference between a number and a rate. You have completely failed to take the size of the population at risk; your numbers are, therefore, meaningless as a comparison. The population of the United States (I'm guessing those are American numbers) has nearly doubled since 1965.

While deaths are reportable (by which I mean they must be reported to the CDC), cases are not necessarily (I am not sure when the laws were passed). The deaths are therefore meaningful, whereas the cases (as you note) are not necessarily representative of anything. We see that the death rate has been cut by nearly 75%.

They also taught us how to put our numbers in the right order, but I didn't need to go to grad school to know that - we learned counting in Kindergarten. Your time scale is way off, as you jump from 1965 to 2004. You've drawn a line between two points and called it a trend, which I suppose is your prerogative. However, it makes your invocations of what "real scientists" would do risible. You are clearly the beneficiary of absolutely no instruction in science.

"You are clearly the beneficiary of absolutely no instruction in science."

Thank you for your non-response.

By augustine (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

"We see that the death rate has been cut by nearly 75%."

Just as it was pre- vaccine era.

By augustine (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

as for any news links to the story of Meryl's husband visiting the day before the funeral- you'll have to wait when that hits the headlines.

For now Sid, you have the link to Dana's FB memorial page- go look on the wall and you'll see a post by Dana's father.

@Matthew Cline

Exactly!

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 13 Jul 2010 #permalink

@30 and all those who are unaware,

The Northern Rivers region of NSW is well known as an "alternative lifestyle" area, with both hippies and New Age celebrity types being very thick on the ground.

It's no surprise whatsoever that this would be one of the lowest regions for vaccination, and why AVN would have a strong presence there.

By AussieMarcus (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ 33 Sid,

You presented this quote:

B. pertussis infection in adults usually presents as a mild infection, sometimes only a cough.

The word usually is important, but you act as if it is not even there. In a later comment you remove the word usually.

@ 59

The problem is that, in ADULTS, it just presents like a really nasty cold. It can last for several months,

@ 102

...even if you don't immunize yourself and your children, the odds against you and yours being sickened (much less killed) by pertussis is small

With 1 million cases a year both I and or my child probably will or have gotten it. Pertussis, like the flu, just doesn't worry me enough to get a shot - or several - for it

You appear to confuse this statement - B. pertussis infection in adults usually presents as a mild infection, sometimes only a cough, with a statement like this - B. pertussis is just a vaccination, with only unusual cases of a cough or a cold, and no infection.

You are still choosing the more risky option for your neighbors, your children, and yourself.

You misinterpret what is written about pertussis, then misinterpret your misinterpretation to the point where you appear to be ready to declare that pertussis has been eradicated.

Imagine if we set you loose on a post on terrorism. You might be describing Osama bin Laden as nothing more than occasionally disagreeable.

"VACCINATED (my emphasis) adolescents and adults may
serve as reservoirs for silent infection and
become potential transmitters to unprotected
infants"

"Therefore,
even young, recently VACCINATED (my emphasis) children may
serve as reservoirs and potential transmitters of
infection."

The article doesn't stipulate but my educated guess is that the adults were vaccinated in infancy, hence the reference to waning immunity. It isn't any secret that the vaccine doesn't prevent colonisation but is highly effective for preventing disease symptoms. It is also no secret that adolescents and adults do serve as reservoirs for infants and children. It is also known that an immune person with no or very mild clinical symptoms isn't going to be spewing infectious particles around as someone with a hacking cough for months.

Do you have a point to make Augie?

@Science Mom

I think it also bears pointing out that immunity from infection with pertussis wanes at about the same rate as immunity from the pertussis vaccine.

So, you can get infected and have a potentially hacking, rib-bruising cough that lasts for months - a cough which spews bacteria in a cloud with every hack. That will grant immunity for about 7 years or so.

Or, you can get a needle stick, no cough spewing bacteria about and immunity that lasts about 7 years or so.

Hmm...tough choice.

Or, you can get a needle stick, no cough spewing bacteria about and immunity that lasts about 7 years or so.

B-b-but vaccines contain DHMO, a major component of acid rain!!!

By Matthew Cline (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

Troll @ 116:

Cherry picking again, I see. You ignore all of the post where Ian describes in some detail your failure to come to grips with the numbers and treat his final sentence as some sort of non-response. Even though it is the conclusion supported by the documented statistical legerdemain you engage in.

You really are full of it, aren't you?

Do I need to hold your hand through the process of realizing how I come to that conlcusion above?

By Composer99 (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

Todd w.: "Or, you can get a needle stick, no cough spewing bacteria about and immunity that lasts about 7 years or so."

You deceivingly left off the other possibilities.

You could get a needle stick and STILL have a bacteria spewing cough. And STILL infect an immune compromised individual.

Or..

You could forgo the needle stick and, like 90-95% of Pertussis cases, not know you even had Pertussis.

By augustine (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

You could forgo the needle stick and, like 90-95% of Pertussis cases, not know you even had Pertussis.

A rather embellished conclusion and doesn't account for prior infection and/or vaccination attenuating clinical course. Try again Augie.

I think it also bears pointing out that immunity from infection with pertussis wanes at about the same rate as immunity from the pertussis vaccine
------------------------

Todd, you've really got to keep up with the research

http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1000…
Our results support a period of natural immunity that is, on average, long-lasting (at least 30 years) but inherently variable.

and

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15876927
A review of the published data on duration of immunity reveals estimates that infection-acquired immunity against pertussis disease wanes after 4-20 years and protective immunity after vaccination wanes after 4-12 years

12 â  20

By Sid Offit (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

Whoops...need to correct my post. It should have state that immunity lasts around 10 years. I was writing from memory and didn't double-check my linked source.

@Sid

Congratulations. You understand that 12 is not the same as 20. Bravo. Next you will perhaps learn what a range is. Maybe you'll even learn that "about X or so" is generally understood to mean X +/- some amount. Also interesting is that the ranges listed in that PubMed article both have 4 at the low end. Hey, I can do math, too! 4 = 4. Amazing.

At any rate, what you have shown is that pertussis infection can grant several more years of immunity than vaccines. You also, perhaps unwittingly, showed that vaccines can provide longer-lasting immunity than natural infection. Of course, that misses the point about the comparative risks to oneself and others.

Interesting that augustine eagerly accepts CDC figures when he thinks (inaccurately) that they support his argument, but dismisses CDC figures for high incidence of pertussis cases and deaths in the prevaccine era as being undocumented.

Your own cherry-picked stats demonstrate the facts quite well - even with a large increase in population, the incidence of pertussis and pertussis-related deaths nowadays is a small fraction of what we experienced in the pre-vaccine days.

The vaccine is not perfect. And we have antivaxers like yourself, intent on scaring parents away from vaccinating their kids, thus helping to decrease herd immunity. The vaccine's success in preventing death, disability and the misery of whooping cough remains a fine achievement of medical science. "Thanks" to outbreaks of pertussis like the one in California and another currently taking place in my community, parents are getting to see the consequences of listening to the scaremongers and foregoing protection for their kids.

Peering at the fine print of your link, I see the paper is apparently about the connection between malnutrition and mortality in the Third World. Does the paper say that our inability to properly keep children fed mean that we should avoid vaccinating them against disease? Perhaps you could point out where it says that.

Thanks.

By Dangerous Bacon (not verified) on 14 Jul 2010 #permalink

Several years ago, I had a "nasty cold with a cough that lingered on for several weeks". In fact, the cough was so horrible, I could not say 3 words in succession without coughing myself breathless. Often, I coughed until I vomited. I was drinking cough syrup like it was water, and my doctor gave me cough syrup with codeine so I could eat and sleep (even turning over in bed, I would wake up coughing so hard I would vomit).

As the cough finally waned, a friend, who had gotten sick about 6 weeks after me, with similar symptoms, was diagnosed with pertussis. She actually broke 2 ribs with her coughing.

I asked my (then) doctor (I left her practice shortly after that) if I possibly had pertussis after my friend was diagnosed, and she replied that she didn't think so, since I had been vaccinated as a child. She refused to test me for pertussis because "adults don't get it"; in her opinion, my friend's doctor was wrong since my friend was an adult (disregarding the fact my friend had positive lab tests for pertussis). Dr. Nasty said that I had asthma and should be on medication for asthma. (Strangely, a LOT of her patients had asthma diagnoses, I discovered later.) Never mind that I had never had any asthmatic symptoms before that time, nor have I had since. So, I was never officially diagnosed with pertussis. But, based on my symptoms, I am sure that is what I had.

I recovered, after what was probably the most miserable winter of my life. I made sure that my next tetanus shot had the pertussis vaccine! I don't care if the disease gives immunity, I'd rather make sure I have been immunized so I never get it again.

Wow! That does sound like a bad doctor. I mean, I *have* asthma, and what you describe does not sound like asthma. If it went away, it was an infection. If it didn't, it was COPD (which more serious than garden-variety asthma). Now, you can get asthma symptoms are a result of an infection -- my asthma is nearly always triggered when I get a cold. But there are objective measures you can use to diagnose it. I would think a history of a nasty cold would be inadequate. And to not even contemplate a bacterial infection -- even if adults "don't get pertussis" (which is wrong), they do get plenty of other bacterial infections, and identifying and treating that infection is vital even if you *do* have asthma. Especially if you have asthma, in fact.

I wonder how many *dead* asthma patients that doctor has.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 15 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ Calli Arcale: I left out a bit. By the time I saw the doctor, I had rales and rhonchi in my lungs; on the basis of that she gave me the asthma diagnosis and also a nebulizer treatment. All the treatment did was make me shake for 6 hours. I will give her credit; she did give me the cough syrup with codeine rx, though! However, as I said, I have had no symptoms ever since of asthma and, post surgeries, I have always had good lung expansion testing and always very good oxygenation levels.

I left her over that and another issue. Don't miss her at all!

@Sid:
"A review of the published data on duration of immunity reveals estimates that infection-acquired immunity against pertussis disease wanes after 4-20 years and protective immunity after vaccination wanes after 4-12 years"

I have actually made similar points at RI myself, but haven't seen data as specific as these numbers. According to said numbers, the MINIMUM time span is the same for "natural" and vaccine-induced immunity. The difference in MAXIMUM time can be expressed as 66% longer for "natural" immunity. To quantify relative benefit will require information about the statistical frequency of 20-year immunity. The obvious problem, as has been pointed out in response to me, is that actual pertussis infection carries a substantial risk of death or permanent harm, whereas to my knowledge the most well-substantiated reports of adverse effects of the old whole-cell DTP vaccines mostly involved short-term effects.

A further problem: In present or comparable past conditions where vaccines are not readily available, records of repeat pertussis infections will also be poor at best. The fundamental problem is what I have mused to be the greatest single obstacle to any historical inquiry: "Illiterate peasants take lousy notes."

@Ian #135: if only I had a prostate...no, it had more to do with a pre-surgical clearance exam where she tried to talk me out of the surgery and into her friend's snake oil dietary center where I could be cleansed of toxins and lose weight under her friend's supervision. All I had to do was pay $$$, buy the supplements/treatments and go on a 650 cal diet for 8 weeks and I would be in great shape...

I contacted the MD board in our state, but they told me that since she was not selling the items herself they could not do anything about her. So my family all left her practice instead. Yes, she is still practicing.

By triskelethecat (not verified) on 15 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ 134 MI Dawn,

@ Calli Arcale: I left out a bit. By the time I saw the doctor, I had rales and rhonchi in my lungs; on the basis of that she gave me the asthma diagnosis and also a nebulizer treatment.

Rales (crackles) in the lungs is often associated with fluid in the lower airways, which may most often be a sign of CHF (Congestive Heart Failure).

Rhonchi in the lungs is associated with thicker fluid, which may most often be associated with pneumonia.

Neither is primarily as sign of asthma, although neither rules out asthma.

With rhonchi, the doctor should have considered pneumonia. even if she thinks you have asthma. Pneumonia can bring on asthma attacks that can result in hospitalization or death.

You were wise to leave her.

All the treatment did was make me shake for 6 hours. I will give her credit; she did give me the cough syrup with codeine rx, though!

You are making the alternative medicine quacks jealous. If they could write prescriptions for addictive substances, think of the profits!

This quote from Thank You for Smoking makes me think of the alt med frauds. :-)

We don't sell Tic Tacs, we sell cigarettes. And they're cool, available, and *addictive*. The job is almost done for us.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0427944/quotes?qt0418060

Coughing can be an early sign of an asthma attack, but it is insane to extrapolate from that to a diagnosis of asthma. Not that this isn't a perfect example of the way alternative medicine quacks extrapolate all sorts of insane ideas from minimally related/unrelated information.

if only I had a prostate...

Which is what made the digital rectal exam that much more suspicious! Well, that and the reach-around.

I make light of situations that aren't really funny :P

@ 139 Ian,

I make light of situations that aren't really funny :P

You came to the right place.

I thought it was amusing suggesting an inappropriate prostate exam between 2 people, neither one having a prostate.

Making light of situations that are not really funny seems to apply to commenting on alternative medicine, anti-vaccinery, and other irresponsible behaviors.

They aren't really funny, but if we don't laugh, the other appropriate response may be to cry.

MI Dawn:

By the time I saw the doctor, I had rales and rhonchi in my lungs; on the basis of that she gave me the asthma diagnosis and also a nebulizer treatment. All the treatment did was make me shake for 6 hours.

Ah, that would be my old buddy albuterol, I expect. (In other countries, it is sometimes known as salbutemol.) It's a very popular and effective bronchodialator used for rapid relief from acute asthma symptoms. It does NOT treat asthma. This is important to emphasize. Bronchodialators provide symptom relief but do not treat asthma. If you actually do need a bronchodialator, you should use it, but you should also go on a steroid to treat the inflammation so you don't have to use it again. So wow, that doctor didn't even give you the right treatment for what she thought you had.

Albuterol is a beta agonist, and a fairly indiscriminate one. It has some ugly side effects, one of which you experienced: the shakes. I have a tremor at the best of times (runs in the family) and albuterol makes it much worse. (Salmeterol, the long-acting beta agonist that's part of Advair, does not cause the shakes. Also, salmeterol lasts longer. But it comes with its own set of risks, and is more expensive.)

Once again, I find myself wondering how many dead asthma patients your old doctor has. Did you file a complaint? She seems way outside the standard of care.

By Calli Arcale (not verified) on 17 Jul 2010 #permalink

There has never been the necessary requisite molecular or adduct research conducted to prove the actions of any vaccine. Any reported/alledged saftey profiles are from the witless observations of poorly trained physicians who haven't the slighest clue of what their observations may mean. The suggestion that vaccines are universally safe and to be promoted as such is willful deception and unbridled ignorance.

One other thing: "The reason medical history is not taught in medical schools is because it's too embarassing..."

Orac...you are an embarassment...

There has never been the necessary requisite molecular or adduct research conducted to prove the actions of any vaccine.

Where exactly do you get that "necessary requisite," "Dr." Health? If we took away from your life everything that hasn't had "the necessary requisite molecular or adduct research to prove [its] actions," I suspect you'd soon be quite unhappy at all that had suddenly disappeared; have you ever stopped to think of whether your deodorant has been examined at the molecular level? Of course you haven't; you're only prejudiced against vaccines, so you demand a level of perfection regarding vaccines that you don't demand from anything else.

Any reported/alledged saftey profiles are from the witless observations of poorly trained physicians who haven't the slighest clue of what their observations may mean.

Wow, it's not just an ad hominem argument, it's one conducted against an entire profession.

The suggestion that vaccines are universally safe and to be promoted as such is willful deception and unbridled ignorance.

No, the correct term for that suggestion is a straw man. That's what it's called when someone wants to look like they've refuted certain arguments, but they cannot actually do so, so they invent an argument that they hope people will mistake for the real thing. We support the use of vaccines because they're far safer than the diseases they protect against. Your suggestion that anyone has ever claimed vaccines to be universally safe is willful deception and unbridled ignorance.

By Antaeus Feldspar (not verified) on 18 Jul 2010 #permalink

There has never been the necessary requisite molecular or adduct research conducted to prove the actions of any vaccine.

What "necessary requisite" do you mean? Come on. Don't be shy.

Any reported/alledged(sic) saftey(sic) profiles are from the witless observations of poorly trained physicians who haven't the slighest(sic) clue of what their observations may mean.

Wouldn't someone who misspells three common words in one sentence could fairly be described as "witless", "poorly trained" and without the slightest clue?

The suggestion that vaccines are universally safe and to be promoted as such is willful deception and unbridled ignorance.

So why are you suggesting it? See Antaeus' reply above.

One other thing: "The reason medical history is not taught in medical schools is because it's too embarassing(sic)..."

Actually, medical history IS taught in medical school (at least at UBC, my Alma Mater). Nice "quotation", BTW. Did you make it up?

Orac...you are an embarassment(sic)...

Projection strikes again. Aren't you late for your Summer School makeup spelling class?

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 18 Jul 2010 #permalink

That has got to be the clueless troll who changes his name for no particular reason (Medicien Man, Dr. Smart, etc). He has been pwned here often.

Also, idiot morphing troll, if you do not want me responding to you then don't post your stupid drivel on a blog where I regularly comment. The idiot claims I am "stalking" him. Perhaps he does actually go to the public library and makes a ruckus, and then accuses the employees of "stalking" him when they ask him to leave because he is disturbing others.

"Any reported/alledged saftey profiles are from the witless observations of poorly trained physicians who haven't the slighest clue of what their observations may mean."

Not just ad hominem, but projection. Physicians are not only trained to a high standard, but will have extensive experience observing people in various stages of life from which to develop a practical sense of normal and abnormal. It is parents who make unsubstantiated reports of vaccine injuries who "haven't the slightest clue of what their observations may mean."

@ 145 Chris,

Just commenting on the paranoid schizophrenic's (just a guess?) rantings will have the troll accusing you of conspiring with all of the other people persecuting the troll by using logic and sanity.

There is a conspiracy of reason.

It is the sane way to live.

Every time you point that out to the troll, the troll feels persecuted.

In the troll's world, this all makes sense.

I'm so important, I'm being stalked! MwaHaHaHA!

Stop stalking me!

Wait! Come back! I'm really an attention whore and might shrivel up and die if nobody paid attention to me. :-(

Stop stalking me!
.

Are you suggesting that deoderant and vaccines have the same safety profile?

Fact is scientific method is based on theory. Medical practice is observational, linear and episodic in an attempt to prove theory, generally reduced to obsessive compulsive behaviour: trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

And to alleged UBC alumni, medical history is not taught at UBC. I know this because I teach at UBC. May the barking begin.....

And to alleged UBC alumni, medical history is not taught at UBC. I know this because I teach at UBC. May the barking begin.....

It was when I attended.
So you claim to teach at UBC. What do you teach, advanced ranting on the square outside the Student Union Building?

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 19 Jul 2010 #permalink

No, Bruce, I believe he actually teaches at a different UBC, the University of Bull Crap.

@ 148

Are you suggesting that deoderant and vaccines have the same safety profile?

Of course not. Vaccines protect us against against illnesses.

Fact is scientific method is based on theory.

What do you recommend that isn't based on theory?

Medical practice is observational, linear and episodic in an attempt to prove theory, generally reduced to obsessive compulsive behaviour: trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

No.

You do not understand what you are writing about.

You cannot even remain on the same topic for just one sentence.

Medical practice and medical science are different.

Medical practice is not an attempt to prove theory.

The scientific method is a means of testing hypotheses to determine validity. Repeating these tests is a way of catching errors and improving accuracy.

Maybe you just don't wish to be aware of your errors.

Maybe you cannot be accurate.

Perhaps you could do the rest of us a favor and keep your errors to yourself.
.

I know some current med students at UBC. Perhaps I should ask them about courses in medical history. A very quick search shows that there are at least some historians at UBC that study it and I would be very surprised if they do not teach a course in it, even if it is a special topics course rather than a regular one.

I did a quick search of the medical school on the other side of the border from UBC and found a whole department: Bioethics and Humanities.

It seems that history and ethics are all tied together. I do see a course on alternative medicine, which I am sure is woo friendly.

You are all as rabid, stable and a mature as 5 years olds at recess; easily provoked to reveal just how irrevocably and intellectually clumbsy and stunted you are. You jump, bark, grind and hiss. Supporters of this type neo-con thinking and thoughtless knee-jerk expression deserve their own type of medicine....vaccinate your spawn, radio and chemo your loved ones and colonscope yourselves into oblivion.

Oh and for "Bioethics & Humanities"...comments...this is not Medical History....And for the other "I did a quick search and there are a least some historians at UBC" You're kidding...historians at UBC...brilliant

And, again, let the barking begin.....

@DrHealth #155

Y'know, rabies is prevetable with post-exposure prophylaxis, i.e. a vaccine.

Care to try?

By Rogue Epidemiologist (not verified) on 19 Jul 2010 #permalink

DrHealth cannot be for real, they must simply be a troll looking for negative attention because no one could simply be this stupid and unable to comprehend what they read. Or could they?

"I did a quick search and there are a least some historians at UBC"
You're kidding...historians at UBC...brilliant

You do realize that the rest of the sentence says
"that study it and I would be very surprised if they do not teach a course in it"

where "it" was medical history. Indicating that those historians specifically research medical history. The comment was not indicating that there are historians at UBC (obviously not a surprise) but that there are medical historians at UBC.

But I have a feeling that misunderstanding was intentional.

"medical historians at ubc" really? who? what's the name of the course
dildo....

"post exposure prophylaxis"? it's post exposure mitigation...did you actually attend a medical school?

Look at the link, Mr. Troll. There are actual history of medicine classes, several actually. Plus, there is a whole page devoted to the history of medicine at the national library of medicine: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/

And why do you think "Epidemiologist" means medical school? You are aware that not every epidemiologist is a physician?

Oh, and it is "post-exposure prophylaxis".

As interesting as this all is, none of it addresses the lack of evidence behind that claim that Medical History had been dropped due to 'being too embarrasing', rather than due to schedule restraints, or being intergrated into the basic introductory modules, as it is in Nursing and AHP courses.

Also, there are Universities which house History of Medicine Centres, which offer posts in the History of Medicine, and which offer courses and degrees in the History of Medicine.

IF the highly unlikely event of Medicine course no longer having any form of history of medicine component is true, it still does not follow that it was due to any political, rather than academic, decision.

Dear Chris:

I'm afraid you are retarded. I'm sorry, intellectually challenged, or is it developmentally challenged...whatever. I'll type slowly, 'cause I know you can't read quickly....I....said....at...U.....B.....C....
And who the is the fuckwit who asked about "Epidemiologist"?
Call Chris. He may know people who can help you.

I think I've figured out this group! It's been designed to fiegn allegiance to the great ORAC so that you may have a public forum to give him eBlowJobs,eHandjobs and eRimJobs......

And just for the record, Meryl Dorey of the AVN was vindicated by the NSW HCCC despite the fact that ORAC, Barrett and MacLeod lied to the commission.

And, again for the record, I'm not a troll I'm a plant....and thank all of you for proving my point and making this part of the official record.

God bless and Good night.....

@ 159,

"post exposure prophylaxis"? it's post exposure mitigation...did you actually attend a medical school?

A section labeled Postexposure Prophylaxis for Non-immunized Individuals

at

http://www.cdc.gov/rabies/medical_care/index.html

and

Guide for post-exposure prophylaxis

at

http://www.who.int/rabies/human/postexp/en/index.html

Not that the troll would trust anything either of them would write. After all, they are real doctors.
.

At least two historians work on aspects of medical history
http://www.history.ubc.ca/keith-benson/
http://www.history.ubc.ca/jessica-wang/

They also have a group of people who more broadly work in the history of Science, technology and medicine.
http://www.history.ubc.ca/research-clusters/history-of-science-technolo…

As for courses, I am not sure. I do note there is a subject guide to the history of medicine on the library website suggesting that someone at the university thought it was a good idea. Now this took me 5 minutes of poking around so I am not sure what courses make use of this subject guide but the information is hardly being hidden.
http://toby.library.ubc.ca/subjects/subjpage1.cfm?id=296

Hell, they even have a history of medicine reading room
http://www.library.ubc.ca/woodward/memoroom/

So, Dr. Health, in your travels about the UBC campus, I guess were too substance-impaired to notice the following:

http://www.library.ubc.ca/woodward/memoroom/

Quite a lot of space and resources to devote to something so "embarassing". Funny how you could not know about such a facility on YOUR OWN CAMPUS.

Still waiting to hear what you teach at UBC...could be a long wait.

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 19 Jul 2010 #permalink

As I was running around, I listened to a podcast about the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It was an example of why history medicine and bioethics are intertwined.

Bruce, I am wondering if this "Dr. Health" even knows where UBC is located.

Chris:

He probably thinks that the University of British Columbia is in South America.

Looking back, there were a few Novembers when I wished it that were true.

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 19 Jul 2010 #permalink

@ 163

and thank all of you for proving my point and making this part of the official record.

Proving the troll's point?

The troll had a point and nobody told me?

I wonder if the troll knows what the point is.

The troll appears to have spent a lot of time in the principal's office in high school, based on the reverential reference to the official record. Maybe this troll is still in high school or is in the not yet graduated category of student.
.

T. Bruce McNeely:

He probably thinks that the University of British Columbia is in South America.

Sure, someplace between Belize (which he probably still thinks in British Honduras) and Colombia.

Looking back, there were a few Novembers when I wished it that were true.

Wasn't that just last month? Something about a Junevember? Well, at least it is not either Manitoba nor Minnesota.

Oooh, he admits he is not a troll but a plant! Whoa, it is a real bit of jimsonweed! Or some other type of vegetation. Suggestions?

@Chris:

Nuts?

Bananas?

Shrooooms?

By T. Bruce McNeely (not verified) on 20 Jul 2010 #permalink

"I'll type slowly, 'cause I know you can't read quickly....I....said....at...U.....B.....C...."

Actually , you originally said:

"One other thing: "The reason medical history is not taught in medical schools is because it's too embarassing..."

Yes, it is a quote, but you put it into a context that indicated that you believe it to be true.

Fuck, you can't even remember your own arguement correctly.

Skunk cabbage?

PUBLIC WARNING ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN VACCINATION NETWORK (AVN)

Updating...
26 July 2010

by the Health Care Complaints Commission under section 94A of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993

The Health Care Complaints Commission has investigated two complaints about the Australian Vaccination Network (AVN), a non-profit organisation registered in New South Wales that provides information about vaccination. The complaints alleged that the AVN provides incorrect and misleading information about vaccination.

The Commissionâs investigation of the complaints focussed on the material presented by the AVN on its website.

The Commissionâs investigation established that the AVN website:

provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
contains information that is incorrect and misleading
quotes selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous.

On this basis, the Commission recommended to the AVN that it should include a statement in a prominent position on its website to the following effect:

The AVNâs purpose is to provide information against vaccination, in order to balance what it believes is the substantial amount of pro-vaccination information available elsewhere.
The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice.
The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider.

The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.

The AVNâs failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.

The anti-vax mania is something that really annoys me. I work in pathology and I have seen the panic of doctors and pregnant mothers who don't vaccinate but are horrified when their child comes home with something vaccine preventable that could harm their unborn child if they are also infected. These people are lucky that (for now) the number of people vaccinated outweigh the number of people not vaccinated and yet autism rates are still low.
The whole basis of their argument is derived from a, discredited many times over, ten year old paper. If that doesn't show them to be ignorant and uneducated lay people, then I don't know what will.

By Mad Scientist (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink

@Dr Health

A history lecturer of mine once said that people who use curse words and words such as "retard" have a small vocabulary and are basically ignorant. They use these words to fill in the gaps of their speech but it immediately discredits them especially in discussions such as this. When attacked for your beliefs instead of justifying them and giving evidence like any educated and competent medical professional would do, you resorted to swearing and name calling. I especially take offense to your use of the word "retard".
Perhaps the reason you won't admit what area you teach is a sign that the only area you specialize in is the janitorial duties at UBC.

By Mad Scientist (not verified) on 25 Aug 2010 #permalink