I only saw this story a few days ago, but it is a good reminder that misinformation and bad beliefs do have real-world consequences.
Canadian health officials are warning that with more than 250 people in Quebec infected by measles, the outbreak could start spreading to the rest of the country too.
There have been 208 cases of measles reported in Quebec since May 1 and a total of 254 since the beginning of the year. That's a huge number, considering that there are typically only 11 cases a year in all of Canada, says the Public Health Agency of Canada.
This is now the largest measles outbreak in Canada since measles was essentially eradicated from Canada in the mid-1990s.
The U.S. is having one of its worst years yet for measles, as well. Health officials there say 118 cases have been reported so far this year -- the highest number this early in the year since 1996. The U.S. normally sees about 50 cases of measles in a year
According to the CBC, the Quebec outbreak has now reached 750 cases in a province that normally only gets one or two a year. It also notes that part of the problem is that a proportion of the population has never been vaccinated for the disease, which is resulting in the possibility that the disease will return as major health issue in the Americas. But it is the original story that notes one of the reasons for that part of the population not getting vaccinated in the first place.
. . . many haven't had the vaccine, in part because of a bogus study that linked the MMR vaccine to autism. While that study has since been debunked and the doctor behind it discredited, the worries raised by that study eroded public confidence in vaccines, leading to drops in vaccination rates in some areas.
I admit that, being old enough to have had the measles as a kid and that it wasn�t entirely unusual at the time, I was quite surprised to discover the disease had been all but eradicated from North America over a decade ago. To watch it make a comeback due to a deliberate fabrication of a unscrupulous hack combined with the ignorant boosting of said hack by certain celebrities all preying on the fears of parents drives my rage up a few pegs.
The damage those idiots have caused and are continuing to cause will be significant, and I can only hope that they will one day be held accountable for it.