Measles and Autism and Tb, Oh My.

So here I sat in front of my monitor reading through this month’s edition of Scientific American when I spied a link: “Measles is back, and it’s because your kids aren’t vaccinated.” I groaned. Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. back in 2000. Then again…so was Tuberculosis, and Tb is now believed to be responsible for 25% of avoidable deaths for young adults world wide. While HIV related cases of Tb are at the forefront of the resurgence, the instances of the disease in children in the first world, just as with the resurgence of measles, comes down to one thing: parents are not immunizing their children. Of the 131 cases documented in children from January to July of 2008, 91% were not vaccinated. This presents a frightening trend, and it is this nurse’s opinion that the fear and anti-science and anti-vaccine rhetoric surrounding the increase in Autism cases is a key contributing factor.

It was believed (and still is by some knee jerk reactionaries) that Thimerosal was responsible for the rise in diagnosed cases of Autism, but Thimerosal has not been used in vaccines since 1999. Yet Autism is still rising; in my home state of California, it has jumped 700% since 1996. 3000 new cases were reported in 2006. Most of the younger siblings of autistic children have not been vaccinated because of the misinformation regarding childhood disease vaccines.

People, I don’t know how to be any clearer about this: GET YOUR KIDS THEIR SHOTS! No, they will NOT develop Autism. No, it is NOT a scam by the marketing departments of the AMA and the eeeevil drug companies. No, it will NOT make them stronger if they have to develop their own immunity to the disease. The vaccine IS their immunity to the disease. What it will do is make them vulnerable to a disease that may very well kill them. As a parent, your primary responsibility is to protect your child. Letting them get diseases like Tb and measles when they’re easily preventable is about as far from protecting them as it’s possible to get.