Endemic in the UK

25 Aug


Adj. 1. endemic – of or relating to a disease (or anything resembling a disease) constantly present to greater or lesser extent in a particular locality; “diseases endemic to the tropics”; “endemic malaria”; “food shortages and starvation are endemic in certain parts of the world”

Or, another example is measles in the UK.

How very shameful in the year 2008 that we have allowed one person to create an all-encompassing atmosphere of fear – groundless fear at that – that has allowed a disease that 10 years ago was virtually unheard of to return with such vengeance that two children have died in the past two years and many more have been hospitalised.

There are two reasons I find this shameful. Firstly, there is the fact that as an autism parent I am ‘judged’ every time I leave the house. We all are. The people who stare, the people who do double takes, the people whispering behind their hands. What are they saying now? How long will it be before the general public cotton on to the fact that measles _is_ now endemic is largely due to autism parents and the quacks they pay huge amounts of money to? As a community of parents we are divided and when people ask why that is or ‘can’t we just come together?’ on this issue, this is why.

*I cannot condone or stand by quietly whilst the autism community sinks into becoming a convenient media scapegoat. Neither can I stand by and say nothing whilst autism parents sink deeper and deeper into anti-vaccinationism and pretend that hospitalisation and death in the name of chasing a belief for which there is no proof is OK.*

The CDC’s Jane Seward (deputy director of the division of viral diseases) is interviewed today by Scientific American.

…in the 1960s, right before the vaccine was developed, it killed 400 to 500 children every year out of 500,000 reported cases at that time.

That’s a death every 1,111 reported cases. The current US measles epidemic has 163 cases. You’re nearly 15% there already.

Seward also says there were 4,000 cases of encephalitis a year resulting from measles in the 60’s and goes on to describe some of things that can follow on from encephalitis. Quite a lot of anti-vaccine believers say that encephalitis can lead to autism. Taste the irony.

6 Responses to “Endemic in the UK”

  1. Schwartz August 26, 2008 at 02:48 #


    I’m curious, do you really believe Wakefield is the sole nexus of this? If the common anti-wakefield conspiracy theory is to be believed, he was just a puppethead paid to deliver a message for others. That would indicate many other forces at play.

    I’m also curious if you happen to know the herd immunity number for measles? I know it’s different for different diseases. Last I read, the vaccination rate in the US had dropped from 99% to 97.5% for MMR. I don’t know what the UK numbers are.

  2. DJ Kirkby August 26, 2008 at 06:54 #

    I agree wholeheartedly. My son was obviously not neurotypical from 3 days old. He had his MMR’s at the required times as I know that the chances of severe illness or death without these is much more significant than the risk of any iatrogenic illness. I am an Aspie and so is he and yet I too wonder how many people think we are this way due to ‘opting out’.

  3. Ms. Clark August 26, 2008 at 09:24 #

    I feel like I’m watching a science fiction movie unfold:

    “SA: How infectious is measles?

    JS: It’s the most highly infectious virus there is. If you have 100 unvaccinated people in a room and a person with measles walks in and coughs, 90 people or more will get measles. It’s just very, very infectious. Coughing will aersolize the virus.”

    The plot.

    Greedy and amoral people decide it’s fun and/or profitable to attack vaccine programs and then a pack of dimwits from around the world, with Internet access, and blessed with half of a poor understanding of public health, developmental psychobiology, genetics and vaccinology and virology, start pontificating and speculating upon speculation on what vaccines just MIGHT do to imagined super sensitive babies, if combined with this or that (synergistically, of course, because “synergistic” sounds so faux smart and all) either that they insiste that it’s all a part of a huge international conspiracy to decimate the population so all the data coming from anyone they disagree with must be bad and everyone in charge of public health is more stupidder then they are, and are in the pocket of Big Pharma…. and in the end the makers of baby sized coffins especially have a huge windfall as babies and other vulnerable people start dying of vaccine preventable diseases.

    Jenny McCarthy can play Deedee Imus!! Jim Carrey can play Mark Blaxill!!

  4. Catherina August 26, 2008 at 09:41 #


    I agree with Schwartz. It is giving Wakefield too much credit to think that he could have had such an influence. What about the lawyers who solicited his services? What about the media who lapped up “his” theory? What about the Blairs who wanted some privacy for Leo? What about doctors/clinics who were all too willing to sell the single MMRs?

  5. Sharon August 26, 2008 at 11:03 #

    A friend of mine recently had a baby. She is vehemently anti-vaccine. None of her children are vaccinated. Up to now it’s just a thing we’ve agreed to disagree on, but now I’m feeling less than happy about visiting her and potentially exposing my children to infection.

    I am fed up with the autism and vaccines controversy. It’s just so stupid that people are still pushing such a flawed notion.

    I agree that Wakefield is culpable for much of this, but agree that there are others to blame too. However I think the Blairs were entitled not to discuss what they chose for their son.

  6. Kev August 26, 2008 at 11:22 #

    Don’t get me wrong guys, there were definitely others at fault but only one guy started the ball rolling and kept kicking it long after it had deflated.

    Schwartz – current MMR uptake in the UK hovers around 85% for England and Wales, 91% for Scotland and Northern Ireland. The herd immunity threshold is quoted as 95%.

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