Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dangerous delusions . . .

SOMETIMES, IT'S NOT WHAT YOU DON'T KNOW THAT'S DANGEROUS, it's what you believe true that isn't so.

This is a failing in all of us, but it seems to be most pernicious with the socially and politically conservative in societies, wherever they may be.
— HIV —
AlterNet is a fine site, with a thoughtful article by Cliff Weathers, “How Denial Caused One Major Health Catastrophe, and How It May Trigger More Crises”, which describes the costs of this mind-set with the HIV crisis in South Africa — and more important, perhaps, if you live in North America, the increasing vulnerability of all of us on this continent because of cutbacks to vaccination and other public health programs in states with GOP governments.
So, instead of administering the cocktail of HIV medications known to be effective, Mbeki had his health minister contrive alternative remedies for AIDS, including beetroot and garlic.
The results were devastating for South Africa. More than 330,000 people died prematurely from the disease between 2000 and 2005 due to Mbeki’s AIDS denialism, and at least 35,000 babies were born with HIV, infections that could have been prevented using conventional medicine, according to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health.
— Whooping Cough —
In the US, the challenge is a whole host of critters:
While there is no direct institutional denialism of conventional medicine here in the U.S., the denialist movement is active and spreading nonetheless. Vaccine denialism—especially in states with lax public-health laws—has already shown to have a negative effect on public health in some regional pockets, and it’s leaving those communities open to outbreaks of diseases that had been all but eradicated, including measles, polio, whooping cough (pertussis), and even smallpox.
In 2013, researchers confirmed that a 2010 whooping cough outbreak in California—the worst in the U.S. in more than 50 years—was spread primarily by the children of parents who received non-medical exemptions for school vaccinations from the state. The study showed that the outbreak was found exclusively in clusters where children were not vaccinated. There were more than 9,000 cases of the disease in California in 2010 and 10 deaths. In San Diego County, where there were about 5,000 immunization exemptions, there were 980 cases of whooping cough.
Meanwhile, some states were slashing programs for children's vaccinations. In 2011, the year after the whooping cough outbreak in California, Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott cut a state program that provided whooping cough vaccines for poor mothers of babies too young to get their first whooping cough vaccines. There has since been a whooping cough outbreak in Florida with a six-week-old boy dying from the disease. 
These whooping cough outbreaks have been followed by a measles outbreak that began in Texas this year, which is now spreading throughout the U.S.
Smallpox? Yikes!! They just don't get it, so now we're going to get it . . . and thanks to Stevie and his orcs and their anti-science attitudes, voting CON could be really, really dangerous to your health.

1 comment:

e.a.f. said...

People just don't get it. Part of it maybe they lack critical thinking skills. They'd rather believe some blonde t.v. personality than a bunch of scientists and doctors.

part of it may simply be an attempt to avoid the real world. If you don't get your kid vaccinated, they ought not to be in school. If parents are relying on other people having their kids vaccinated, so they don't have to, the tipping point has been reached.

Even if you counted deaths caused by reactions to vaccinations, they would pale in comparison to the number of deaths caused by the disease they are meant to counter. At some point society at large has to be protected from the anti science crowd.

governments need to educate the public about the dangers of not having adequate vaccinations. if that costs money, so be it. better that than dead children.