What Fresh Hell Is This?

October 28, 2014

A Sad Juxtaposition

Today is Jonas Salk's 100th birthday.  He was born today in 1914 and he was instrumental in the fight against polio - with a vaccine.

And now the sad:
A growing anti-vaccination movement, coupled with ongoing difficulties in reaching underserved populations, is taking a global toll on efforts to eradicate infectious diseases, new data from the Council on Foreign Relations suggests.

Polio, measles, mumps, rubella and whooping cough are all preventable with safe, low-cost vaccines. Yet the council’s Vaccine-Preventable Outbreaks Map shows hundreds of thousands of cases of those diseases worldwide from 2006 to the present day.
More specifically:
Within the United States, where access to childhood vaccines is almost universal, measles outbreaks in May 2014 reached a record high for the past two decades. A vast majority of those afflicted had not been vaccinated for religious, philosophical or personal reasons. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17,325 cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis, were reported in the U.S. from Jan. 1 through Aug. 16 this year -- a 30 percent increase from the same time period last year.

A recent report by The Hollywood Reporter revealed the consequences of Los Angeles' plummeting vaccination rates: The city has seen more than 1,300 cases of whooping cough this year alone, and some of the hardest-hit areas are LA's most affluent neighborhoods. Lower vaccination rates have also been linked to recurring measles outbreaks in Great Britain, with more than 2,000 cases reported since 2013.

“One terrible truth stands out: Misinformation and rumors from just one persuasive voice, delivered effectively, can derail entire immunization campaigns and persuade millions of parents to shun vaccinations for their children,” [Laurie Garrett, the Council on Foreign Relations senior fellow for global health]  wrote in a Los Angeles Times op-ed last week. “Every baby who has died of pertussis in California, been paralyzed by polio in Pakistan or suffered from measles in the United Kingdom represents a tragedy that might have been prevented.”
This is one of the things that happens when science is displaced by non-science.

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