Global Health Press
MMR boycott has left two million children at risk of measles

MMR boycott has left two million children at risk of measles

Two million children risk catching measles as a result of the MMR scare, doctors warned yesterday.

They said the outbreak in Wales could spread to London, where nearly half of the capital’s children are not vaccinated.

The disease has already infected around 800 children in Swansea.

Dr Helen Bedford, of University College London’s Institute of Child Health, said: ‘There are about two million children who are susceptible because they haven’t been vaccinated. London is a particular case of point.’

Ten years ago, 45 per cent of five-year-olds in London failed to have the required two doses of vaccine. Last year the figure was 81 per cent.

Teenagers aged between 13 and 15 are more likely to be susceptible to measles because of the controversy over the since-discredited report about MMR jabs being linked to autism in the late 1990s.

Dr Bedford told a science conference in London: ‘There’s a simple message that parents need to be encouraged to find out if their children have been vaccinated and if not, go out and do it.’

The Government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Mark Walport, said it was ‘vital’ parents vaccinated their children against measles.

Referring to the scare over the safety of the triple MMR jab he said: ‘Frankly that was about a piece of extremely bad science.

‘It is an example of how people forget the danger of diseases such as measles, they become complacent when it appears to have disappeared.

‘But it’s just, I think, very clear evidence of the huge importance of vaccination. It was and has been one of the major interventions in public health and it’s absolutely vital that people vaccinate their children.’

Typical symptoms of measles include fever, cough, conjunctivitis and a rash.

Complications are quite common, even in healthy people, and about 20 per cent of reported measles sufferers experience them.

These can include ear infections, vomiting and diarrhoea, pneumonia, meningitis and serious eye disorders.

The MMR vaccine controversy was a case of scientific misconduct which triggered an unwarranted health scare.

It followed the publication in 1998 of a paper in the medical journal The Lancet which falsely presented apparent evidence that autism spectrum disorders could be caused by the triple vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella.

Source: Mail Online