Facts, not Fantasy

Friday, September 24, 2010

Vaccine Central

I want to make something perfectly clear.  I will quite often repost things on this blog that come from a site called Vaccine Central.  That is a website that is run by Skepdude, and he does pretty much the same thing we do over here, except his site is only about vaccines.  But what he does is worthwhile, and needs to be publicized.  That is why I repost it here.  With that said, here are a few postings from there that I didn't get to over the past week:

Whooping cough still a big danger

PARENTS are reminded not to be complacent regarding the recent whooping cough outbreak which has claimed the lives of several infants in Australia.
After a five-week-old South Australian boy died from the illness earlier this month, state health authorities report a rise in the number of cases of the highly contagious disease.
He was the first infant to die from whooping cough in the state since 2001.
SA Chief Medical Officer Professor Paddy Phillips said “babies and young children are the most vulnerable to complications following infection, as tragically demonstrated in this case”.
“Vaccination provides the best protection against whooping cough,” he said. “It’s important that everyone makes sure their vaccination is up-to-date.”
Professor Phillips encouraged families to protect babies by ensuring everyone who has regular contact with them is vaccinated.
“Babies under six months of age are not able to complete the required series of vaccinations so they remain especially vulnerable,” he said.

Vaccine Preventable Deaths – 70 children in Zimbabwe

At least 70 children are being reported dead of measles in Zimbabwe in an outbreak that has gripped the Mashonaland Central province in the past two weeks. A national vaccination campaign has been in effect this year, however most of the deaths so far have occurred among members of the Apostolic church, who declined to take part in the massive immunization campaign, and also shun most other forms of western medicine in the belief that it diminishes their supernatural powers. In fact, it appears the anti-vaccination sentiment in members of the sect is so deep that a man reportedly beat his wife to death over her insistence that their two children be vaccinated against measles.
Jeremiah Makumbe (39) of Bhuka Farm in the Soti Source Resettlement Scheme allegedly murdered his wife, Beauty Mboneki (33), by kicking and hitting her with an iron bar after pressing ahead to have their children immunised at a local clinic. Makumbe has since appeared before Gutu resident magistrate Mr Amos Mbobo facing murder charges.
He was not asked to plead and Mr Mbobo remanded him in custody to next Wednesday for continuation of trial. Charges against Makumbe arose on September 16 this year at his homestead at Bhuka Farm when a dispute erupted between him and his wife after she told him that she was going to take their children for immunisation.
It is alleged that Makumbe was adamant that immunisation was out of the question as it was against their church doctrine. A heated argument ensued between the couple, both members of the apostolic sect.
Presenting the State case, prosecutor Mr Kumbirai Masasire said, in a fit of rage, Makumbe allegedly stood up and began kicking and punching his wife before striking her with an iron bar on the head inflicting serious head injuries.

Vaccine Preventable Suffering – Gaitley Batton

Gaitley’s Story
Gaitley, almost lost her life to a serious bacterial infection called meningococcal disease, when she was 4 years old. On New Year’s Eve 1997, Gaitley wasn’t feeling well so her mother, Heidi, took her to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, who diagnosed her with an ear infection and sent her home to rest. However, by the next day, Gaitley’s temperature rose to 106 degrees, and she began vomiting and became weak and delusional. When a purplish rash developed on her daughter’s body, Heidi realized her daughter might be suffering from something more serious and had Gaitley’s father rush their daughter to a local hospital.
Once at the hospital, an emergency-room doctor recognized the purplish rash as a classic symptom of meningococcal disease and decided to transport Gaitley to another hospital better equipped to handle her condition. Gaitley was taken to the hospital where Heidi worked. Shortly after arriving, her heart, kidneys, and pancreas began to fail and her lungs started to fill up with fluid. The infection in her blood also caused tissue damage in her extremities, resulting in the amputation of Gaitley’s toes on her left foot. In all, Gaitley was in the hospital for 40 days.
But her troubles didn’t end there; eight years later, at the age of 12, doctors had to amputate Gaitley’s left leg below the knee due to further complications resulting from meningococcal disease. This is what Gaitley’s mom said:
“There is a vaccination out there that prevents this from happening,” she said. “I’ve been talking about this for a while now… And it’s hard to get someone’s attention unless something happens… once that happened (the Clemson student died), it was like ‘Oh gosh! This is in our community.”
I am very sorry for all the pain Gaitley and her family have had to go through. On the other hand I am very happy to hear that they are out there advocating for, and educating the public about, the meningococcal vaccine, so that others can be spared the traumatic experience they had to endure. Thank you.
Independent Mail
National Meningitis Association

European Medicines Agency finds no link between swine flu vaccine and narcolepsy

The European Medicines Agency, a decentralised agency of the European Union, located in London, which is responsible for the scientific evaluation of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the European Union, reports through a press release dated 09/23/10, that after reviewing all the available data and reports on the supposed link between the swine flu vaccine, Pandemrix, and the sleeping disorder of narcolepsy, that “the available evidence was insufficient to determine whether there is any link between Pandemrix and reports of narcolepsy, and that further studies were necessary to fully understand this issue.
Pandemrix was used in Europe during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic, at which time up to 30 Millions Europeans received the vaccine. This year, up to September 17, 2010, 81 reports suggestive of a connection between the vaccine and narcolepsy were collected. The Committee maintains that so far the risk-benefit of the vaccine is still positive and no restrictions in use are necessary.
It is important to keep in mind however, that the EMA Committee is not saying that there is no connection between Pandemrix and narcolepsy, but only that the current evidence is insufficient to establish a causal relationship between the two.  They caution that more research is needed to reach solid conclusions. In fact, they are continuing the analysis and review of the reports received.
The ongoing review is complex and will take some three to six months to complete. The Agency is working with experts from across the European Union to carefully scrutinise all available reports. Owing to a potential overlap of narcolepsy symptoms with several other neurological and psychiatric disorders, diagnosis is very often not confirmed until several years after symptom onset.
The number of reports of narcolepsy that occurred in children in some countries seems to be higher than expected in comparison with data from previous years. However, there are many uncertainties in the available information that need to be clarified. These include a possibility that earlier diagnoses of narcolepsy have contributed to this apparent increase. Also, the influenza pandemic itself may have contributed to a change in the rates of narcolepsy. These factors need to be assessed before firm conclusions can be drawn.
The ongoing review will require new observational (epidemiological) research in order to reach any firm conclusions on whether there is a link between Pandemrix and narcolepsy.

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