Thursday, April 17, 2008


This blog can not possibly serve to dish out all the information that exists about measles, or any other disease for that matter. But here are a few sources I have found helpful regarding the first "M" of MMR:

You can read the MedLine information on measles here.

The CDC handout from the doctor's office (PDF downloadable from reveals the following risks with the vaccine:

Moderate Problems
• Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about
1 out of 3,000 doses)
• Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly
in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
• Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a
bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)

Severe Problems (Very Rare)
• Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million
• Several other severe problems have been known to
occur after a child gets MMR vaccine. But this
happens so rarely,
experts cannot be sure whether
they are caused by the vaccine or not
. These include:
- Deafness
- Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered
- Permanent brain damage

(Kinda sounds like autism to me....) Here, the CDC's own literature says that they do not know if permanent brain damage, coma, seizures, or lowered consciousness are actually caused by the vaccine. My question is, if I can't rely on them to be sure, why should I rely on the statement that reactions are rare? (Not to mention, shouldn't they be sure??? Have they become that lackadaisical about public health?) The FDA and CDC know that the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) is flawed. Doctors are not required to report. And anyone whose child has had a reaction to a vaccine knows that it takes a lot of arm-twisting and hospital tests before a doctor will even consider that it was the vaccine.

Here is a quote from the meeting minutes taken from the Advisory Commission on Childhood Vaccines Conference Call in March of last year (2007). I got this right off the HHS Web site:

"VAERS also has its weaknesses. VAERS is often missing data or has inaccurate data. There is underreporting to VAERS. Accuracy rates are not known. VAERS is better at detecting events that occur in close time proximity with vaccination, than events with long latency periods. There is a lack of an accurate denominator or number of people that are vaccinated. There is also a lack of a control group. All of these weaknesses result in the near inability to assess causality."
-- Dr. Ann McMahon, Food and Drug Administration (italics mine)

(Aside: It was estimated in a Journal of the American Medical Association study that reporting of adverse events may be as low as 1% to 10%. There were 128,035 adverse events reported in a less-than-five-year time span (around the middle of 1999-beginning of 2004). So does that mean that there were possibly 1.28 million to 12.8 million adverse events in those 5 years?)

The manufacturer of the MMR vaccine warns that it "has not been evaluated for carcinogenic or mutagenic potential." (Source: Physician's Desk Reference, 55th edition, as quoted by Neil Miller) ... Not been tested for the possibility to cause cancer?

"Severe afflictions affecting nearly every body system -- blood, lymphatic, digestive, cardiovascular, immune, nervous, respiratory and sensory -- have been linked to this 'preventative' inoculation." -- Neil Miller, Vaccines, Autism and Childhood Disorders

Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, a pediatrician for almost 30 years, wrote in his 1984 book How To Raise a Healthy Child...In Spite of Your Doctor that the measles vaccine side effects included "even a relationship with Hodgkin's disease and cancer." He describes the reluctance of some doctors to even vaccinate their own children during a Los Angeles measles epidemic: "Unlike their patients, who weren't told, they realized that 'slow viruses' found in all live vaccines, and particularly in the measles vaccine, can hide in human tissue for years. They may emerge later in the form of encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, and as potential seeds for the development and growth of cancer."

Dr. Mendelsohn also noted that "in a 1978 survey of 30 states, more than half of the children who contracted measles had been adequately vaccinated." The World Health Organization has said that the chances of catching measles are about 15 times greater for those who are vaccinated than those who are not. Similar data on the inefficacy of measles vaccines is recorded by Neil Miller, whose sources are the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and several editions of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Here's why I do not think this particular disease is worth the risk of the associated vaccine for my child. (Again, this is just me; this is not medical advice.)

In 1920, 1.6% of measles cases ended in death.
In 1955, it was only 3 in 10 million.
Vaccination began in 1963.
(Source: MMWR 4/2/1999 - thank you, Dr. Tenpenny)
So the disease was already on its way out before vaccination began.

Much of what I have read indicates that measles is a pretty innocuous disease that rarely leaves behind any complications in healthy, well-nourished children. Treatment consists of bed rest, drinking fluids, and administering calamine or other lotions to relieve itching. Vitamin A has also been shown to be an important part of helping the body to fight the disease. Doctors will bring up the risk of measles encephalitis (brain infection), but I question the likelihood of this occurring in a healthy child. This is just one parent, assessing the risk for my child. (Well, and my husband makes two parents, deciding together!)

Entire books and Web sites are dedicated to the CDC/FDA/HHS/AAP/AMA-denied link between autism and the MMR. But it didn't take me much reading to be haunted forever by those three little letters. Once you start reading testimonies from parents just like you, who love their kids like you love your kids, you just can't look back. I will never look at public health policy in this country the same way.

I leave you with an excerpt from one of the Congressional Government Reform Committee meetings, that took place on April 6, 2000. The words of Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana):

"Liz Burt was one of the hundreds of parents who contacted us. Her five-year-old son, Matthew, has been classified autistic. He was developing normally. At age 15 months, following his MMR vaccine, he began to regress. Since the time of his vaccination, he’s had chronic diarrhea. This is very prevalent in autistic children. He also didn’t sleep on a regular basis for over three years. Liz took her son to numerous gastroenterologists in prominent medical facilities in the United States. with no resolution. Finally, this past November, Liz took her son to London, to the Royal Free Hospital. A team of medical experts there examined Matthew. They felt that he had a bowel obstruction. To the family, this seemed impossible since he had constant diarrhea. An x-ray indicated that Matthew had a fecal mass in his colon the size of a small cantaloupe. After the obstruction was cleared with laxatives, Matthew underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy. The lesions in Matthew’s bowel tested positive for the measles virus."

You do the math.

[EDITED 5/2/2008 TO ADD: OK, now I see who Liz "Burt" was - her name is actually spelled "Birt," and she was a champion for autistic families. I found a bunch of information on her after her tragic death in 2005 on Adventures in Autism.]

1 comment:

Alicia said...

The quote from Sen. Burton is particularly startling. Wow.