One man, a media circus and an epidemic
With the Welsh measles epidemic only now beginning to slow I thought now would be a good time to repost Daryl Cunningham‘s fantastic explainer (below) on how we came to be in this mess.
Interestingly, a report by Margaret McCartney published in the British Medical Journal has stated that it seems that based on research published in Journal of Epidemiology and Community Healththat prolonged and extremely biased local news coverage bears even more responsibility for the Welsh outbreak than the furore in the British national press – something that should stand as a reminder of the importance of good reporting right down to the local level. Unfortunately, Andrew Wakefield the man who launched the campaign against the MMR vaccine has begun making a show on American reality TV which is likely to be championed by America’s growing resident anti-vaxxer brigade. Let’s hope awareness of what happened in the UK crosses the pond so we don’t see yet more epidemics helped along by anti-vaccine hysteria.
Cunningham is a rare breed of cartoonist focusing on science and psychiatry, check out his awesome comic books: Science Tales and Psychiatric Tales on Amazon.
References and links
McCartney M (2013). MMR, measles, and the South Wales Evening Post. BMJ, 346 PMID: 23610382
Mason, B. (2000). Impact of a local newspaper campaign on the uptake of the measles mumps and rubella vaccine Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, 54 (6), 473-474 DOI: 10.1136/jech.54.6.473
Ben Goldacre. The media’s MMR hoax.
The MMR-autism fraud. An investigation by Brian Deer.
David Gorski. The Fall of Andrew Wakefield.
Andrew Wakefield. From Wikipedia.
Profile: BBC on Dr Andrew Wakefield.
Brian Deer Dateline documentary.
Image Credit: Cover image by Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images. ;The Diagnosis of Smallpox”, Ricketts,T. F, Casell and Company, 1908Plate XCIII
Cartoon Copyright: Daryl Cunningham