Deniers of Science: The Anti-Vaccination and Anti-Abortion Movements

January 23, 2015 4:39 PM

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In December 2014, the "Happiest Place on Earth" was linked to preventable sadness. One non-immunized visitor to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park infected at least 26 others with measles; the epidemic spread to Washington, Utah, and Colorado. The common risk factor for those infected was lack of immunization. Measles is highly contagious, and complications in children include ear infection, pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. A disease declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000 has now returned. Why? Science denial, celebrity endorsements, and apathy. The anti-vaccination movement Before 1963, when the measles vaccine was first licensed, an estimated 3-4 million cases and 500 deaths occurred annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In the first 11 months of 2014, 610 measles cases were reported to the CDC. As in the California outbreak, most of those infected had not been vaccinated. As the number of non-immunized persons rises, the risk of widespread measles grows. Parents who fail to immunize their children threaten their children's health. This is not just a theoretical problem: measles killed an estimated 122,000 persons worldwide in 2012. Using CDC data, the Anti-Vaccine Body Count web site has tallied more than 6,200 vaccine-preventable deaths in the U.S. since 2007.

In December 2014, the "Happiest Place on Earth" was linked to preventable sadness. One non-immunized visitor to Disneyland or Disney California Adventure Park infected at least 26 others with measles; the epidemic spread to Washington, Utah, and Colorado. The common risk factor for those infected wa...

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