Melanie’s Marvelous Measles

Melanie’s Marvelous Measles February 17, 2015

…is a piece of junk written by an anti-vax kook of the Survival of the Fittest mold. These are the nuts who urge that we all just go ahead and expose our kids the disease that used to kill children by the millions, cuz that will strengthen the breed.

I’m not linking to the thing because I have no desire to help promote dangerous quackery.  But I am noting that the book has inspired an epic display of a new genre of literature that I am coming to appreciate: the Amazon Review.

amazon comments

People write me to weep that I can’t change the mind of somebody like the dangerous fool who wrote this book by mockery.  Dude, you could not change the mind of the person who wrote this book with brain surgery.  I have no interest in attempting to change the minds of True Believers in the anti-vax movement.  As has been show, when you present such people with facts and reality, they dig in rather than listen.

So I appeal, not to them, but to people who are in danger of getting suckered by them.  Books like this, and their authors, should be made as socially radioactive as the KKK.  It’s one thing to be confused about the subject as a newbie and need to learn the information because you’ve been spooked by something you heard on the vast rumor mill of the Interwebz. For such people I have abundant empathy and I refer them to simple, easy to understand resources which explain why vaccines are an essential first line of defense against the return of diseases that were a scourge through the history of the human race. Similarly, for those troubled by fears about the morality of using unethically sourced vaccines,  I point to clear information about the morality and efficacy of vaccines and our moral responsibility to use them. For most people, that is sufficient.  But for some, the prideful urge to press on with deliberate lies like “vaccines did not wipe out polio” and even “FDR pretended to  have polio” crosses a line from sincere desire to know the truth into dangerous quackery.  There is such a thing as willed ignorance and dangerous kooks like this, who menace my grand-daughters with their folly, should be shamed into the same dark hole that white supremacists or or flat earthers live in.

Listen to Roald Dahl, who lost his daughter Olivia to measles in 1962.

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  • freddy

    Me, I’m just sick to death of you vax-tremists on both sides.
    .
    This book is stupid.
    .
    It’s just as stupid as saying that measles “used to kill children by the millions.” Even the CDC doesn’t make that claim.
    .
    A little common sense goes a long way, folks. Like saying that vaccines are a great idea but families with certain medical problems/histories should have their children wait.
    .
    I’ve been called “evil” and “dangerous” by both sides of what I’ve finally seen as the vaccine lunatic fringe. God help you both.

    • chezami

      There are a lot of other diseases preventable by vaccines than measles. And yes, they did kill children by the millions. Many Anti-vaxers oppose them all.

      • freddy

        Diphtheria, pertussis, rubella, mumps, chicken pox.
        .
        “Millions.” You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.
        .
        Me, I think the truth — tens of thousands — is effective enough.
        .
        You vax-tremists on both sides keep shooting yourselves in the foot with your stupid lies. Sorry, but the hyperbole doesn’t help. It’s what drove me from one camp into the other and what now makes me want to stay far away from both.

        • HornOrSilk

          http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

          During 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health.

          And while wiki, look to the chart: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Measles

          1980: over 4 million vs 55,000 in 2014. Thank you vaccines.

          • freddy

            You’re right of course. I (silly me) made some assumptions; namely, that Mark was talking about the United States since, you know, all the recent discussion has centered around local events. Mark often uses terms geared toward emotional manipulation, a common tactic of vaxtremists, and I sometimes find myself responding to that without thinking things through.

        • petey

          ” “Millions.” You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.”

          children by the millions have died from measels. by that i mean more than 1,999,999, over the world, over history.

          “In 2013, there were 145 700 measles deaths globally – about 400 deaths every day or 16 deaths every hour. ”

          http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

          at which rate it would take 14 years to reach millions.

          • kenofken

            Well, when you put it that way, it hardly seems worth all the fuss! I think we can all agree that anything less than 200K lost to any one preventable infectious disease is an acceptable burn rate…

          • Heather Blaesing-Price

            2013, when we’ve had the vaccine for 50 years. Give or take. I wonder how many more there would have been.

    • Dan Berger

      Nobody I know of is saying that people with medical problems that preclude vaccination should get vaccinated. What they are saying is that such people are protected by requiring that everyone else be vaccinated. As we’ve seen, you need high vaccination rates to protect those unable to be vaccinated — or those for whom vaccination doesn’t “take.”

      • freddy

        Dan, I’m really glad nobody you know of is saying that people with medical problems that preclude vaccination should get vaccinated.
        .
        Maybe the reason is that parents like me refused to roll over when our child suffered an adverse vaccine reaction. When doctors, nurses, teachers and others pretty much said “sucks to be you. But if you don’t keep up with vaccines, you’re a horrible person who will cause the Deaths of Millions!”
        .
        We, and other parents like us kept pushing for answers, for better reporting, for time, for safer vaccines. It’s disheartening that it’s become this big political thing with nuts on both sides. We’ve come such a long way and there’s so much promise!

        • Dan Berger

          See “you need high vaccination rates to protect those unable to be vaccinated, or for whom vaccination doesn’t take.”

          “Adverse reaction” covers a lot of territory, but some people do have really horrible reactions; usually (I gather) it’s an anaphylactic reaction to egg protein or some such, because vaccines are often cultivated in chicken eggs.

          Also, there’s no such thing as 100% safety.

          • freddy

            Not quite sure what your point is. I’ve known all of this for over 20 years. Things are better than they used to be regarding identifying children who might have problems and working out a vaccine schedule that fits their needs. I also learned that vaxtremism — on either side, is dead-end thinking.

            • Dan Berger

              Mostly I was agreeing with you; but I couldn’t tell from your answer what you meant by “adverse reaction” or “safer vaccines.”

            • petey

              “vaxtremism”

              you just made that up

        • T

          Read history or look at third world countries, it’s full of epidemics that kill millions because they can’t vaccinate like the west has.

          • freddy

            Yes, and millions more die because they don’t have clean water or adequate nutrition. All those problems need to be addressed. All I’m saying is that sanity and reason work better than emotionalism and name-calling.

    • So long as herd immunity persists, a certain number of people can not vaccinate without serious consequences for the general population. Every anti-vax nutter is occupying a slot that an immunocompromised senior, a newborn, or somebody with a serious and rare medical condition should be occupying. What’s worse is that many people who are occupying these slots don’t even know it as we don’t test among the vaccinated to verify that a vaccine worked. We have less safety margin than most of us think.

      Anti-vaxxers are playing russian roulette with us all but mostly they’re hitting the most vulnerable among us. That raises my particular ire. A bit of hyperbole on the pro-vax side is a venial sin by comparison and it is a false moral equivalence to say that they are problems on the same order of magnitude.

  • Julie Peitz Nickell

    My grandma had triplets. They all lived to be around 2(?) years old, I know they were all starting to talk, and then all died of the measles. This was the late 20s/early 30s. I can’t imagine having to go through such a horribly painful thing because of misguided anti-vaxxers who need to find something else to crusade about. Sometimes it seems the more advanced we get the stupider we get. People nowadays don’t have a clear picture of what people in the past had to go through.

  • kenofken

    Everywhere in the world, people labor under the burden of ignorance due to limited resources, inequality and outright oppression. Only the United States and the Middle East have sizable political and social constituencies which celebrate ignorance as a virtue and dedicate themselves to actively preserving and propagating it.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    The point isn’t whether more or less than 2 million have died through out history to measles.

    The real point is that with proper nutrition and basic, non vaccine related, medical care, the fatality rate of measles plummeted in the early 20th century.

    Anti vaxxers are dumb, stupid, ugly, smelly idiots. Every bit as dumb, stupid, ugly, smelly and idiotic as people shrieking about millions of deaths to measles!

  • Mark R

    Thanks to the State, the medical/pharm. establishment and the Public School monopoly my wife was made permanently handicapped by the polio vaccine.

    People did not even have to go to the doctor because of measles, just stay at home and recuperate.
    No one died of measles by the millions.

    Making ad hominem attacks just proves your argument is weak.

    People get sick and die because of the Fall. If you do not like it, you know Whom to blame but it would be better to repent and pray in stead.

    • Heather

      Well, no, of course no “one” died of measles by the millions. They died one by one, but millions of them died. Not in a single specific epidemic, but millions of people have died of the measles. Most cases are mild, you just stay at home and recover — you could say the same thing about the flu, and yet people have died of the flu by the millions too.

      I am sorry that your wife suffered an adverse reaction to the polio vaccine. As I understand it, there was a relatively high chance of side effects especially in earlier versions of the vaccine. But when you blame “the medical/pharm. establishment” as if it was all some money making scheme I have to scratch my head. If they were really in it for the money they would have wanted to keep the iron lung wards open. We don’t have iron lung wards anymore, and the reason for that is those mass vaccination campaigns.

      • Heather Blaesing-Price

        When you add that Salk refused to patent the polio vaccine and thus did not become rich off it–indeed, he prevented anyone from doing so–you blunt your argument.

  • Sue Korlan

    I had measles in 1961 so my Mom took my 4 younger brothers and sisters to the doctor’s office for measles shots. My brother had a mild case and the younger ones didn’t get any at all. So there was indeed a vaccine way back then. My brother was starting to show symptoms when he got the shot; the others weren’t. So your friend is wrong; there was a vaccine available before his daughter had the measles.

    • Heather Blaesing-Price

      Have you never heard of Roald Dahl, the author of such books as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Boy,” and “Matilda”? I believe he was British, and I don’t think Mark has ever met him in person.

      • Heather

        Also, according to Wikipedia, there was no vaccine licensed for widespread distribution until 1963, so whatever those shots were, they might have been still experimental.

        • Sue Korlan

          That is certainly possible, although one wonders how a doctor in the middle of nowhere in Kentucky got his hands on them if that was the case.

  • Elaine S.

    Here’s an article from a local paper called “Why historians vaccinate their kids”:

    http://illinoistimes.com/article-15093-why-historians-vaccinate-their-kids.html

    if you read letters, newspapers and other documents from the 19th century and earlier, you see what a world without vaccines looks like — and you know you would not want to live there. Babies and young children were constantly dying of diseases that today are easily preventable — whooping cough, diptheria, etc. Families who had lost several children to disease were the rule, not the exception. (The Lincolns had four sons and only one made it to adulthood.)

    As the author says: “Try to imagine if a quarter of the children you know would not live to see their fifth birthdays.That’s what the world without vaccines looked like. The fact that we can’t imagine such a world is an indicator of just how effective vaccines truly are.”

    • Sue Korlan

      In the year 1900, the biggest killer was diarrhea. Now you can get an IV that puts liquids back into your system so you don’t dehydrate to death. This has nothing to do with vaccinations and everything to do with medical improvements overall. Vaccines for smallpox were available in the days of Cotton Mather, so vaccinations are nothing new either.