Trump World Grab-Bag--A Collection

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Science is Awesome and Measles is Bad

It seems really disturbing to me that there are people in this day and age who have caught the terrifying bug that is liable to cause thousands of deaths--called anti-vaccination hysteria. It's appalling, and stupid, that enough people are so flagrantly scientifically illiterate that a disease that was declared virtually eliminated in the US as of 2000, has come roaring back due to people who have swallowed some kind of nonsense "purity of our precious bodily fluids" codswallop. 

For a little bit of a primer on what vaccinations are--your body has a splendid disease-fighting mechanism called "anti-bodies". You make them if you've been infected with a disease and survive it. A vaccine provokes your body to have the antibodies that fight certain diseases to keep you safe from that particular infection. People have known how this basic principle of immunization works for over two centuries. That's a really long time in medical science-terms. We're getting good at it by now, and the MMR vaccine that prevents measles, mumps and rubella is incredibly effective. And is in no way proven to be associated with autism.

Measles, on the other hand, is a pretty awful disease, which is why science developed vaccination against it in the first place. Measles is associated with blindness, secondary pneumonia, encephalitis, and there have been cases of peripheral gangrene. Yes, that means really sick patients can lose limbs. Skin doesn't necessarily get just a nice, neat little rash and you pour on the calamine and so on, like with chickenpox, which everyone my age got. It's a dense rash and skin can split, like with the poor little guy in the picture above.

And measles spreads quite a lot because it's very infectious, and spreads more when people are stupid. Unvaccinated Americans, or under-vaccinated Americans, travelling outside of the country, are very likely to bring this disease here from travelling abroad. And when they come into contact with even more unvaccinated people, why--we have an epidemic on our hands!

In this day and age--this is so very stupid. Seriously--anti-vaxxers need to read better books and start vaccinating their kids. And people need to check their own immunization history and seek a booster shot if that's required for them--it isn't just about your own, personal choices regarding your own likelihood to get a disease. It's about not being a jerk who compromises your whole community's health.

EDIT: Mumps is coming back, too. That can make your kids sterile. As in ixnay on the andbabiesgray. Can we just all be a little more smart?


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mikey said...

It's both more and less than scientific illiteracy. Even the most rabid anti-vaxxer can't deny the efficacy of vaccines. It's just that the relentlessly choose to believe additional 'information' spread by charlatans and lunatics that makes them believe that their child is somehow better off unvaccinated, even if it's harmful to the tribe.

Mostly, it demonstrates the overarching hubris of conspiracy theory believers. They are so convinced that they are privy to knowledge that others don't have - and can additionally see through the lies and doublespeak of the corporate and government agencies - that they act in selfish, destructive ways. It's one thing to say commandos blew up the towers in NY that summer morning, and it's something completely different to put your entire community at risk because you believe a few self-styled 'truthers' on the internet...

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

One major factor in anti-vax idiocy is that these diseases have been "tamed" in popular culture because they had almost been eradicated. Ask anyone born in the 60s and afterward about measles, and they'll probably say, "Oh, that sickness that makes dots break out on your skin?"

There's no real conception of how serious these diseases really are.

The New York Crank said...

People who are otherwise perfectly rational can go off the deep end when you find a magic button and press it. One of the people pressing those buttons is a bizarre-o guy named Dr. Len Horowitz (if he has any kind of healthcare degree, it's probably one in dentistry).

Among Horowitz's remarkable findings: Henry Kissinger bears the mark of the devil, and is part of the conspiracy to wipe all of us out with vaccinations.

You can't make this stuff up! But Horowitz can.

Yours very crankily.
The New York Crank