Getting The Facts Straight on Rubella

“Lots of people used to die from rubella!”

I have heard this statement from many very learned people- people who have earned bachelor or advanced degrees. These people sincerely consider themselves very educated about vaccination. The irony is that, frankly, they don’t know what they are talking about.

To quote Medscape: ” Rubella is generally a benign communicable exanthematous disease. It is caused by rubella virus, which is a member of the Rubivirus genus of the family Togaviridae. Nearly one half of individuals infected with this virus are asymptomatic. ” In other words, rubella is a very mild illness and in half of all cases people who have been infected won’t even display any symptoms. Going on, the article states that in children and infants the disease generally manifests with a rash and mild cold/flu symptoms when any symptoms are present. Adults and teens may develop arthritis and more advanced infections. And while cases of rubella encephalitis were not unheard of, they were rare. Risk of death from rubella is extraordinarily low especially if you or your chid are otherwise healthy and not immunocompromised in any way. (Medscape’s chart shows the number of rubella deaths at a total of 29 in 1969- the year the vaccine was introduced.)

So why the vaccination campaign for rubella (a.k.a. German measles)?

From the Merck Manual, Professional Version: Women who are in their first trimester of pregnancy who develop a rubella infection can pass the virus on to their own unborn child causing birth defects like deafness, blindness, intellectual impairments, seizures, microcephaly (excessively small head) and motor impairments. Congenital rubella syndrome (CRS) can also cause a stillbirth or miscarriage. Or it there may be no effect on the baby at all.

The mother may have some upper respiratory symptoms from the rubella infection, or she may have no symptoms at all. Pregnancies of less than 16 weeks gestation are most susceptible to CRS, though 8-10 weeks is the time when the baby is most vulnerable. (Actress Gene Tierney contracted rubella during a WWII USO tour while she was pregnant with her first child. Her daughter was born with intellectual impairments. Reportedly, her friend eccentric millionaire Howard Hughes helped with the medical expenses related to the girl’s care.)

So there is a real reason to be concerned about rubella in pregnancy. And the vaccine is credited with eliminating rubella in the United States. The CDC declared endemic transmission of rubella to have been eliminated in the United States in 2004. This assessment was based on a review of data by an international panel of experts who agreed that rubella had been eliminated.

There are, however, a few issues still left with rubella:

1) The declaration that rubella has been eliminated was based not any widespread and ongoing testing for rubella immunity, but rather on a review of data- which probably means records of doses of the vaccine that were distributed and maybe upon some data regarding actual numbers of rubella vaccines that were administered. So elimination may be more theoretical than practical in nature.

2) If a substantial portion of rubella cases are asymptomatic it would be extremely difficult to detect cases of both vaccine failure and rubella infection without massive and ongoing testing.

3) Why does the United States persist in vaccinating people who are not at risk for CRS like infants, kindergartners and men? Well the idea here was to prevent these people from transmitting the disease to pregnant women, and to achieve “elimination” of the disease. However, going to back to point number 2 above, there are significant number of asymptomatic cases which would make it extremely difficult to detect vaccine failure and therefore truly say that anyone is immune without a massive and constant testing campaign. Anyway, a far more efficient method for vaccination is simply to perform a blood titers test on adolescent girls or women planning to become pregnant and vaccinate only those who lack immunity.

 

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The Prostitute and Vaccines

Roxanne
You don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over
You don’t have to sell your body to the night

Roxanne
You don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money
You don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right

-Sting and The Police

Have you ever known someone who considers themselves devoutly pro-life but viciously condemns anyone who refuses vaccination? (Despite the fact that most vaccines are cultured in the tissue of electively aborted fetuses?)

Have you ever heard someone condemn people who eat meat or people who wear leather as abusing animals but then go out and get a full round of vaccines cultured in animal tissues?

Or how about those PSA’s about the dangers of chemicals in cigarette smoke? Yet, they neglect to warn you that vaccines contain many similar chemicals. Apparently formaldehyde, ammonia and insecticides are harmful when smoked, but formaldehyde, ammonia compounds and insecticides injected into the bloodstream are harmless.

What is it that makes people embrace vaccination when it presents challenges to their ethical or moral beliefs? Well, most of the time they will say that the good done by vaccines in saving lives far outweighs the moral implications of abortion, animal testing, and the usage of harmful chemicals. Of course, they conveniently discount or ignore data that shows that vaccines are much less effective than anticipated. And herein lies the prostitute archetype at work.

The prostitute archetype is about selling parts of ourselves- physically, mentally, spiritually, socially, artistically etc. in exchange for some kind of survival. When we feel that we can not survive something and that our only choice is to “sell out”, the prostitute archetype starts emerging. ( BTW, this post is on the prostitute archetype and vaccination, not the sex trade. If you want tor read about my thoughts on why fighting the sex trade is more helpful than humanitarian vaccination programs, read here.)

Most people are terrified of two things: 1) contracting a deadly disease and 2) that vaccines may not actually protect them from deadly diseases. Infectious diseases seem mysterious and scary. The average person doesn’t understand how he or she could possibly survive something like pertussis or tetanus or measles.

But vaccines promise that you’ll never have to worry about it. Of course, the price is that you inject yourself and your children with aborted fetal and animal cell cultures and toxic chemicals that can cause encephalitis and frequently don’t prevent disease. But you tell yourself that it’s OK, because at lease you will be alive. The fear that you won’t survive a “vaccine preventable” disease becomes so overwhelming that you fail to take a step back and acknowledge the weaknesses of vaccination, even when they are right in front of you. You also fail to acknowledge an abundance of evidence that sanitation, hygiene and a diet rich in nutrients will help your body to fight off many diseases and serious complications.

And most people have a very skewed view of the true risk of “vaccine preventable” diseases. Despite the fact that 400-500 people died from measles annually in the decade before the vaccine was introduced compared to 1,250 children expected to die from cancer in 2015, or 50,310 colon cancer deaths in 2014, or 40,290 breast cancer deaths in America by the end of 2015, or 610,000 deaths from heart disease in the US every year, and 23,000 deaths from antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria annually, the public is going to pieces over measles while consuming massive amounts of artery and colon clogging junk food and eagerly taking antibiotics. The fantasy of vaccines is so alluring that most will cling to it at all costs- even sacrificing their health and the health of their children to keep buying into the dream.

But here’s the good news: when understood, our prostitute archetype can be a guardian of faith. Faith that we don’t need to sell ourselves for survival. Faith that evolutionary biology and God have equipped us with the tools for survival as long as we take care of our bodies. Faith that other options are available beyond animal and fetal cell cultures and toxic chemicals. Our inner prostitute can alert us to situations where we are in danger of being bought or sold. So listen to your inner prostitute when it tells you that you don’t need aborted fetal and animal cell cultures and toxic chemicals to be healthy. If you believe that abortion, animal testing or toxic chemicals are bad things, you should be interested in other alternatives for disease prevention. Truly, you don’t have to sell your body to the night.

 

Pinning On My Scarlet “A”- Let’s Talk Autism

Mentioning any kind of association between autism and vaccines is the equivalent of an intellectual scarlet letter- you will be forever branded as an unscientific conspiracy theorist who seeks to obliterate public health for some kind of monetary or status gain. This is why I have avoided even mentioning the “A” word on this blog in the past. However, I had a request for a post on autism and I know it’s a subject people are curious about so, here goes.

From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders:

What is autism?

“Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.”

What are the signs of autism?

“The hallmark feature of ASD is impaired social interaction.  As early as infancy, a baby with ASD may be unresponsive to people or focus intently on one item to the exclusion of others for long periods of time.  A child with ASD may appear to develop normally and then withdraw and become indifferent to social engagement.

“Children with an ASD may fail to respond to their names and often avoid eye contact with other people.  They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they can’t understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and don’t watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.  They may lack empathy.

“Many children with an ASD engage in repetitive movements such as rocking and twirling, or in self-abusive behavior such as biting or head-banging.  They also tend to start speaking later than other children and may refer to themselves by name instead of “I” or “me.”  Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children.  Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.

“Very early indicators that require evaluation by an expert include:

  • no babbling or pointing by age 1
  • no single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age 2
  • no response to name
  • loss of language or social skills
  • poor eye contact
  • excessive lining up of toys or objects
  • no smiling or social responsiveness.

Later indicators include:

  • impaired ability to make friends with peers
  • impaired ability to initiate or sustain a conversation with others
  • absence or impairment of imaginative and social play
  • stereotyped, repetitive, or unusual use of language
  • restricted patterns of interest that are abnormal in intensity or focus
  • preoccupation with certain objects or subjects
  • inflexible adherence to specific routines or rituals.”

What causes autism?

“Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role.  Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder.”

OK, so that’s autism in a nutshell. And the information about causes of autism is pretty vague. But remember thimerosal and mercury? How about we take a look at that.

Mercury poisoning?

There has been a lot of discussion about mercury/ thimerosal and autism. Some have posed the idea that autism is the result of mercury poisoning from vaccines, especially MMR. Mercury poisoning does have symptoms like psychiatric disturbances, mental deterioration and memory loss. These could look very similar to autism. However, thimerosal has been removed from MMR and yet autism rates have continued to climb. So let’s consider another possible explanation…

Encephalitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, live virus vaccines are known to cause encephalitis, though they say this is very rare. Of course, MMR is a live virus vaccine so that risk is there. How rare is rare? Well a fascinating report from 1980 written by the Office of Technology Assessment for the House Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee on the subject of a vaccine injury compensation program describes several vaccines as causing severe mental regression.

The authors of the report assure us that vaccine injuries like these are extremely rare, but also admit that an accurate picture of how many severe reactions take place and the chances of them happening is very difficult to quantify. They point out that their numbers are based on the number of doses of vaccines that are distributed, not the ones that are actually administered. Many vaccine doses may go unused and it is extremely difficult to track how many are actually administered, which means the ratios from the CDC are already inaccurate.

The other problem with these numbers is that they are based on reports of vaccine injury, not actual occurrence. A great many vaccine injuries probably do go unreported because physicians and parents are unaware of the effects of encephalitis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome and other vaccine associated conditions. Some parents may not know that they have an option of reporting an injury or see the point in doing so since merely reporting won’t make the individual reaction they are dealing with any better.

Encephalitis can have a wide range of effects from no symptoms to coma and death. In moderate to severe cases encephalitis can result in the following conditions, which may become permanent:

  • Persistent fatigue
  • Weakness or lack of muscle coordination
  • Personality changes
  • Memory problems
  • Paralysis
  • Hearing or vision defects
  • Speech impairments

From the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: “In more serious cases, [meningitis and encephalitis] can cause hearing and/or speech loss, blindness, permanent brain and nerve damage, behavioral changes, cognitive disabilities, lack of muscle control, seizures, and memory loss. These patients may need long-term therapy, medication, and supportive care. ”

Now speech impairments, personality changes and cognitive issues are all associated with autism. It is entirely possible that someone could be vaccinated with a live vaccine, develop a severe case of encephalitis and then be diagnosed with autism, and then nothing is ever reported to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System.

So while there may be a number of studies and research which state that autism is in no way connected to vaccines, encephalitis is known to be caused by live virus vaccines and can cause symptoms such as personality changes, mental regression, and speech loss seen in autism.

What are the rates of autism in unvaccinated populations? There is a 1 in 10,000 statistic that has circulated, supposedly coming from Dr. Max Wiznitzer. I have found a lot of people saying he said it, but I haven’t found any concrete proof that he did. For those who are interested, this is Dan Olmsted’s piece on his research into low autism rates among the Amish where he talks about the 1 in 10,000 stat. While there are some interesting ideas in it, it lacks the kind of proof I prefer to have before I recommend it to others. But a 1999 article from the LA Times stated that studies showed the worldwide incidence of autism was 4 in 10,000 during 1975-1985. Between 1985 and 1995, the numbers tripled to 12 in 10,000.