Antivaccine nonsense Medicine Religion

Canada “thanks” antivaccinationists for the mumps

I’ve been sarcastically “thanking” Jenny McCarthy for bringing the U.S. the gift of measles through her tireless efforts on behalf of Generation Rescue and other antivaccine groups and will continue to do so whenever I deem it appropriate. But Jenny isn’t the only one who deserves our “thanks” (no, I’m not going to thank Andrew Wakefield again). Let’s not forget all those religions who, either because they think vaccines are messing with God’s will or because of some interpretation of a holy book written in prescientific times, religions like this one in Canada:

With the number of confirmed and suspected mumps cases in the Fraser Health region closing in on 200, public health officials are worrying it will spread into the Vancouver Coastal region and looking for ways to avoid such a daunting scenario.

Since the outbreak began in Chilliwack in February, cases having been spreading like wildfire through the Fraser Valley, fuelled by a high rate of transmission among vaccine objectors from unnamed Christian fundamentalist groups that are against vaccines of all kinds.

About half the 190 confirmed and suspected cases are individuals who have never been immunized, either on religious or philosophical grounds, said Dr. Elizabeth Brodkin. She said another 25 per cent of cases involve people who are only partially immunized.

Public health officials have declined to disclose the church affiliations, saying that would violate confidentiality, but said the denominations’ interpretation of the Bible dictates their aversion to vaccines.

This is stupidity itself. Why on earth would officials not reveal the churches spreading vaccine rejectionism, churches directly responsible for this outbreak of mumps? There are nearly 200 cases; no individuals will be identified, just the church(es) responsible for this outbreak, which is something the public needs to know. After all, it’s causing a serious problem for the health authorities in Fraser:

“This outbreak is really taxing us, and we think a provincial consensus is needed to determine whether we should just resign ourselves to large numbers of cases, or [determine] what to do to mitigate the spread through some sort of immunization campaign,” Brodkin said in an interview.

“After all, this is not a trivial disease. We’ve had many cases resulting in hospitalizations and complications like deafness, meningitis and testicular involvement, which can cause sterility,” she added.

But, antivaccinationists tell us, mumps is not serious. Oh, no, they tell us, it’s just a benign childhood disease. Rubbish.

Worse, as is often the case, concentrations of unvaccinated individuals are putting everyone else at risk:

Because of the mobility of individuals, she said “there’s no guarantee it won’t spread to the Vancouver region.”

“At the moment, there is some evidence that it is moving out of the faith-based communities and into the broader communities,” she said, noting that there are now cases as far west as Burnaby.

I’m not Canadian; so I can’t express my “thanks” to the religious fundamentalists responsible for letting mumps run wild in Western Canada, but I’m sure there are Canadians reading who can.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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