Measles makes a comeback in the liberal and anti-vaccine northwest


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The coming dark age: An outbreak of measles has infected forty people in the Portland region, known for its strong anti-vaccine movement.

In Clark County, 27 of the confirmed cases have been among children 10 or younger, while just one patient was over 18. At least 34 patients were unvaccinated, while local health officials had not verified the immunization status of four patients.

Measles can linger in the air for up to two hours after an infected person has left the area, and the virus is so contagious that nearly everyone who isn’t immunized and is exposed to it will get sick.

The Portland area is known as an anti-vaccination hot spot, and state data show only about 77 percent of Clark County kindergarteners had completed their vaccinations for the 2017-2018 school year, far below the roughly 95 percent of people that health experts say should be vaccinated to create “herd immunity” against a contagious disease like measles.

“It’s pretty simple: You prevent measles outbreak by getting the measles vaccine,” Washington Secretary of Health John Wiesman said in a call with reporters Wednesday. The outbreak could last “weeks to months,” Wiesman said, and health officials expect to see more cases as measles continues to spread to other counties.

I must point out that, in general, the anti-vaccine movement is mainly linked to the liberal and leftist side of the political spectrum, and to my mind is only another indication of the left’s willingness to ignore facts in its loyalty to utopian fantasies. Because of the measles vaccine, measles vanished as a threat to children in the 1960s. It has now returned, and only because of a desire of some to ignore the facts. While there is always a very very tiny risk in taking the vaccine, the benefits so completely outweigh that risk that it makes no sense to refuse vaccination. Yet many in the liberal community do, and the result is that their children are now getting sick, and are posing a risk to others.

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10 comments

  • Phill O

    There are in the population, those of adult age who will have the worse side effects from the disease. Since they are the ones who do not like vaccines, where is the problem? Kids get over it. Mumps side effects on adults are worse. Let the leftist anti-vacciners get them.

    Seriously though, there is a real problem accentuated by those who are on anti-rejection drugs and those whose immune systems have been compromised. There is the possibility of the production of supper bugs!

  • Lee S

    From my point of view, as a pinko commie leftist living in communist Sweden, and also as a lifelong skeptic, I find the anti vaccine nutters tend to be more right than left… Scared of big government and full of conspiracy theories…
    I understand we are polar opposites when it comes to politics Bob, but as I have said many times before, by painting the crazies as “the left” with the same brush as used with anyone left of your right wing political position, you are doing an injustice to millions of people in your country.
    Left does not equal fascist anywhere other than your head and blog.
    Also, there is as much crazy anti vaccines crap amongst hard right wingers in your country…. Dig in a little and look at the figures…
    You are twisting what should be a bi-partisan issue into a political issue….
    I’m only shouting out from almost 100% vaccinated Sweden because I hate seeing children die… As I know you do… But let’s place the blame where it lies… Ignorence and lack of / miss education.
    This applies to right and left.

  • Tom Billings

    Phill O said:

    “There are in the population, those of adult age who will have the worse side effects from the disease. Since they are the ones who do not like vaccines, where is the problem? Kids get over it.”

    I live in Vancouver Washington, the epicenter of the outbreak. I had measles here in Vancouver, in early 1959. It was awful. There was no vaccine. I nearly died of it, being, at one point, found unconscious on the floor barely breathing.

    “Mumps side effects on adults are worse. Let the leftist anti-vacciners get them.”

    The resistance in the Pacific NorthWest comes almost entirely from parents of children who are terrified of raising an autistic child. Part of that is financial. Part is anything but that. In talking to them, I find a near-total lack of willingness to contemplate the established fact that autism is a genetic disorder. As much as anything else, you can see in their eyes as they talk about it that they are terrified of “the taint” of passing on a genetic disorder to their children, and admitting it to their families. It is no oddity that most vaccine resisters are mothers.

    The majority of genetic-linked autistic traits (there are, at last glance, around 25 of them) are “X-linked recessive” traits, that are traced through the mother’s genes. When you get down to basics, they are terrified of “being the cause of their own child’s illness”, especially in front of their child’s grandparents. They find it impossible to admit “fault”, and so look for something else, …anything else.

    Wakefield dangled something else in front of their eyes 20 years ago, with his credentialed authority. Given their own academic certifications, they cling to him as a martyr to “the horrible vaccine companies that persecute him”. That these are private companies, makes it seem even more likely, given academicized class bigotry, for “the vaccine companies” to be the cause of what they fear, and reason to keep their children away from them.

    In addition, …I was born on the autistic spectrum, and started getting flak from my family over autistic traits over a year *before* I ever got the measles. Autism has nothing to do with vaccination. It has everything to do with fear of any woman carrying a genetic trait that may result in lack of the social nimbleness that is so highly valued in a society that uses academic hierarchies to confer highly certificated status. Without that social nimbleness, status is consistently at risk. Thus, the desire to assuage fear turns mothers away from vaccinations that can save their children’s lives.

  • Tom Billings

    Lee S said:

    “But let’s place the blame where it lies… Ignorence and lack of / miss education.
    This applies to right and left.”

    No.

    As I stated above, the Pacific North West anti-vaccine movement consists massively of highly certificated mothers who are terrified of raising an autistic child. They are massively more leftist than anything else, politically, because of their time inside academia. They are not miss-educated, but *mal-educated*.

  • wodun

    Yeah, there was a recent survey that showed anti-vaxxers tend to be college educated wealthy people.

    It has been my experience that these people skew heavily to the left and there is a lot of cross over with people who believe in chem trails and other nonsense like astrology.

    People on the right in the USA, are not “afraid” of government. They believe in a limited government. They want the powers of the government restricted as laid out in our constitution. Its the left that thinks cops run assassination squads against minorities, that AIDS and crack were created to kill black people, and that the world is going to end in 12 years.

    Also, fascism is just another branch of marxism along with communism, socialism, and social democrats. It was started by marxists who proudly proclaimed their marxist affiliation. In true marxist fashion, they fought with other marxist groups for power.

    Also also, Sweden isn’t communist.

  • wayne

    Tom–
    interesting stuff.
    We’re you actually diagnosed with something at the time, or is this an “in hindsight” thing?

    Tangentially– back when ADD, ADHD (and variants) were classified as “Minimal Brain Dysfunction,” very few parent’s wanted that diagnosis. They went out of their way to avoid that tag. Now—everyone marches into their General Practitioner and wants an RX for time-released mixed amphetamine salts…. [Adderall]
    {In reality, maybe 20% max (on a good day) of children/adolescents on amphetamines actually benefit, the rest are just wasted on speed and irretrievably turning into future 24/7/365 mental health clients.}

    Personally– I’m highly dubious of the whole “autism-spectrum” Industry. Don’t forget–these folks (primarily parent’s & caregivers of such) wield disproportionate political-power to the actual impact of the “disease.” They are well organized, well funded, and they want you to pay for it all.

    Ref vaccines:
    In almost all instances, the deleterious effects of vaccines are dwarfed by the negative effects of the disease for which they are indicated.
    What we often only hear about are the tail end’s of the distribution. There are legitimate horror stories on vaccines, but that goes for aspirin as well. All “side-effects” are primary-effects, if your the one experiencing them.

    What we want is heard-immunity. Enough people need to use vaccines to keep these diseases in check. What we have now are illegal aliens and super-educated know-it-alls who are endangering us all. They are free-riding on us all, and I didn’t sign up for that deal.

    (I would say it’s unfair to lump all the various “conspiracy” stuff together, and attribute it all to one particular political view. Plenty of people on all sides, believe stuff that just isn’t true.)

    The trade-off with vaccines is not perfection vs. vaccination. With Polio for example, the trade off is “get polio 80%” or reduce your chances of getting Polio by 95%.

    (sorry for the scattered nature of this post– composing on the keyboard in a hasty manner.)

  • Tom Billings

    Wayne asked:

    “Were you actually diagnosed with something at the time, or is this an “in hindsight” thing?”

    As to measles, I was diagnosed by a school nurse, and confined to home, in the middle of a local epidemic at my school.

    As to Autism, I was not formally diagnosed until 2002. I was, however, bright enough to know I was having trouble because I was different, and I started medical and periodical literature searches after my school class had a 1960 library field trip where I learned the necessities for that. It was amazing, even then, even to a 9 year old Aspie, how much hard data was being ignored in the attempt to assign autistic spectrum disorders to causation of autism through “Refrigerator Mothers” between 1945 and 1990. 1990 was when that theory’s proponent, Bettleheim finally died, and stopped getting people fired for their “racism” when they spoke openly of genetic causation of a human behavior pattern. The clean match with my symptoms was with a term I read of in 1960. It was “A whiff of Autism” in one paper from a clinician at the University of Washington.

    By the time I got to High School I was regularly telling each of my instructors about my lack of social nimbleness *before* they ran into it in class, using that “Whiff of Autism” term. I ran into a German teacher, fresh off the boat from Germany, whose eyes got bigger and bigger as I spoke, and then he blurted out, “You have what my cousin has! You have Asperger Syndrome!” Unfortunately, he realized that he, fresh off the boat, with a green card so new it would have squeaked, had just diagnosed me like a Herr Doktor! He clammed up, hard!

    I spent the next 3 decades gathering data, occasionally searching for Asperger’s work, that had only been published in Germany, in German. Through the work of some excellent British Psychs, Asperger’s work was translated into English, throughout the 1980s. After Bettleheim died, it became possible to talk about it here in the US without losing your position, and by 1995 Asperger Syndrome was in the DSM. 50 years of treatment development had been lost because of the politics of psychiatry professionals. In 2002, I was finally able to get someone to pay the $1,250.00+ to get a full examination done, and was diagnosed, formally.

  • wayne

    Tom–
    That is an extremely interesting story! Thank you for sharing! (You have a huge amount of insight and you’re obviously very bright.)

    I was originally trained in Behavior Analysis (late 70’s/early 80’s) although I’ve become way more Cognitive in my thinking over the years. Spent a huge amount time initially working with DD/MR and Autistic young-adults, and it wasn’t until the 90’s when I started to encounter honest to god Asperger’s in otherwise “normal” adults.

    Fascinating Topic!
    (If I was younger, we’d be writing a paper on your experiences.)

    Tangentially— you might get something out of the video below. (It’s pretty basic but I like to think that Michigan is one of the leader’s in treatment.)

    Western Michigan University:
    Autism Center of Excellence
    Dr. Alan Poling Director Behavioral Pharmacology Lab
    2015
    http://wmuace.com/videos/pharmacology-autism

    (Dr. Poling was one of the first investigator’s (mid 70’s) to actually study the behavioral effects of stimulants in children & young adult’s. I don’t want to co-mingle ADD & ADHD with Autism or Asperger’s, but there is a connection I’ve noticed, at least in some people.)

    (take care!)

  • BSJ

    The only hardcore anti-vaxxers I know are Conservative Catholics deep in the Bible belt of southern Illinois. Yeah, they plan to home school too, to protect their children from all that “Liberal influence” of public schools in rurual Illinois.

    Ignorance is not confined to geographical locations, nor political ideology.

    Painting all anti-vaxxers as left wing fascists is just silly.

  • Orion314

    Vaccines are , above all, about one thing , first & foremost…

    TRUST

    Do you trust what’s in it ? Do you trust what “THEY” say, it will do?
    Trust is getting harder to come by…

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