Anti-Vaxxers Autism Rhetoric Leads To Minnesota’s Largest Measles Outbreak In 30 Years [VIDEO]

Anti-Vaxxers Autism Rhetoric Leads To Minnesota’s Largest Measles Outbreak In 30 Years [VIDEO]

Anti-Vaxxers Autism Rhetoric Leads To Minnesota’s Largest Measles Outbreak In 30 Years [VIDEO]

The other day I wrote about the measles outbreak in Minnesota. It’s a situation that is causing major problems across the spectrum. Well, it’s gotten worse. Last week there were 30 cases. By Thursday there were 41 cases.

As of today, there are now 44 children suffering from measles in Minnesota. It’s the worst outbreak in 30 years. Unfortunately it’s not just those children and their families that are affected. Measles is incredibly dangerous to those with any type of autoimmune disease, cancer, or to the elderly who have weakened immune systems. Thus the hospitals have had to either cancel major procedures for cancer patients or sent them elsewhere to hospitals that aren’t currently treating measles patients.

Let me repeat that. The risk that measles is posing to others has led to doctors and hospitals postponing or moving care of their other patients to another location in order to keep them safe. That is, as long as the measles doesn’t follow the patients to other counties.

What is one of the major causes of the Somali community NOT vaccinating their children? Cue up the discredited “scientist/doctor/charletan” Andrew Wakefield.

Wakefield, a British activist who now lives in Texas, visited Minneapolis at least three times in 2010 and 2011 to meet privately with Somali parents of autistic children, according to local anti-vaccine advocates. Wakefield’s prominence stems from a 1998 study he authored, which claimed to show a link between the vaccine and autism. The study was later identified as fraudulent and was retracted by the medical journal that published it, and his medical license was revoked.

Wakefield and his fellow anti-vaxxers have and continue to play on the fears of the unknown. This is particularly heinous when you consider the community affected. A community of immigrants coming from a country that knows very little about the benefits of vaccinations and good healthcare. Wakefield and his minions played on the Somali’s fears far too well.

The comments from families affected is both heartbreaking and infuriating. This from Suuado Salah:

“I thought: ‘I’m in America. I thought I’m in a safe place and my kids will never get sick in that disease,’ ”

Unfortunately her children did.

Suaado Salah comforts her 3-year-old son at their apartment in suburban Minneapolis. Luqman and his 18-month-old sister got measles during Minnesota’s current outbreak. (Courtney Perry for The Washington Post)

When meetings have been held in recent days to discuss the outbreak and urge the communities to vaccinate, they don’t go well. The anti-vaxxer crowd has done far too good of a job playing on the fears that vaccines cause autism.

It doesn’t matter that multiple science studies are now finding out that autism has genetic risk factors, may develop prior to birth, and starts manifesting itself at birth, many Somali parents still feel that measles, which can cause brain damage or death, is less risky than autism so they choose not to vaccinate. Yes, I too had to pick my jaw up off the floor after reading that bit of “logic.”

However, before all the anti-vaxxers get their shorts in a knot, they might want to read the following:

All but two cases happened in people who were not vaccinated, and nearly all were in the immigrant community in Hennepin County, a densely populated county that is home to Minneapolis and its suburbs.

“The outbreak started among Somali Minnesotans who have a low vaccination rate for M.M.R.,” he said, referring to the shot for measles, mumps, rubella. [Emphasis Added]

Did y’all get that? Out of the 44 cases thus far, 42 of them were not vaccinated. The other two were, but one’s immune system had been compromised prior to contracting the measles.

The elderly, infants, children, cancer patients, and others battling a host of different autoimmune diseases along with entire counties in Minnesota are at risk because of this outbreak and it will be months before it subsides. MONTHS.

The anti-vaxxers led by charlatan snake oil salesman Andrew Wakefield played upon the fears and superstitions of the Somali community. They did their job all too well and this measles outbreak is the result.

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3 Comments
  • Wfjag says:

    No need to blame Wakefield or RFK, Jr. A number of Islamic scholars argue that because Moslems can take in only products that meet the standards for halal, vaccination is prohibited by Islam. See, e.g., Muslims shouldn’t be vaccinated? Respectful Insolence blog (Jan. 30, 2007). When your world view is stuck in the Seventh Century (i.e., that period of history popularly known as The Dark Ages – an accurate description), modern medical practices can be seen as threatening. So, it is better to have sick and crippled children (and women) than allow heresy to infect the minds of followers.

    • Nina says:

      Hi! Accurate points for sure. The thing is, Wakefield and his merry band of anti-vaxxers capitalized upon those beliefs in order to further their own decidedly unscientific narrative.

      With the end result of putting children, families, and communities at risk.

      thanks! 😉

  • Wfjag says:

    Wakefield never indicated any awareness of the teaching of any Islamist scholars. However, he had patented a Measles vaccine different than the one used in the MMR, and, then “discovered” the (now completely discredited) “link” between the vaccine in use and autism. IMO, it was purely an attempt to use scientific fraud to cause a panic, and then convince government regulators to use their power to suppress the competition. He’s not the first to try that and several have been successful. Fortunately, he was exposed.

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