The Seattle Times reports upon a recent measles outbreak in Minneapolis traced local Somalis fearful of a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Andrew Wakefield himself has arrived on the scene. His 1998 study linking the MMR to a new syndrome dubbed “autistic enterocolitis” has since been retracted by the Lancet amid allegations of fraud, and his medical license has been revoked.
As CNN reports, Wakefield expected to earn as much as $43 million/year in revenue from “litigation driven testing” for autistic enterocolitis, a test for which he holds a potentially lucrative patent, and received more than $674,000 “from lawyers trying to build a case against vaccine manufacturers.”
From the Seattle Times article:
Health officials struggling to contain a measles outbreak that’s hit hard in Minneapolis’ large Somali community are running into resistance from parents who fear the vaccine could give their children autism.
Fourteen confirmed measles cases have been reported in Minnesota since February. Half have been in Somali children, six of whom were not vaccinated and one who was not old enough for shots. State officials have linked all but one case to an unvaccinated Somali infant who returned from a trip to Kenya in February.
The state had reported zero or one case of measles a year for most of the past decade.
Amid the outbreak, a now-discredited British researcher who claimed there was a link between vaccines and autism has been meeting with local Somalis. Some worry Andrew Wakefield is stoking fears, but organizers say the meetings were merely a chance for parents to ask him questions.
“Unfortunately a lot of the media thinks he’s saying ‘Don’t get vaccinated.’ That’s far from the truth. He’s basically encouraging people to get vaccinated but do your homework and know the risks,” said Wayne Rohde, a co-founder of the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota, which says parents should have other options for immunizing their children.
Measles has been all but eradicated in the United States but accounts for about 200,000 annual deaths worldwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. None of those infected in Minnesota have died, though eight have required hospitalization.
[Full Article at The Seattle Times]
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