Vaccine skeptics seemed doomed to be an extravagant minority after centuries in which they stopped lethal epidemics, but the anti-vaccine movement resumed at least expected, encouraged by the spread of rumors in the networks social that some politicians believe and flag.
GENEVA The large increase this year of measles cases in the world, 30% up to 173,000 cases in 2018 according to the World Health Organization, gives an alert signal about the negative effects of this movement Renewed in the last 20 years and WHO is a key factor in the reoccurrence of disease in western countries where it was considered a thing of the past, such as Germany or Italy.
Only in the first six months of this year there were 41,000 cases in Europe, more than the 24,000 registered in all 2017, and 17 died due to a disease that, despite its low mortality rate, can cause chronic seizures to those who suffer it, like blindness.
These cases can not be attributed only to the anti-vain movement, but it coincides with the time with it, and with its impact on celebrities and people with the capacity to influence, in an idyllic moment For the expansion of rumors through social networks and the arrival of politicians who want to take advantage of this.
Arguments already refuted of anti-vapors, as these produce autism or contain mercury levels harmful to health, have produced, for example, that in Romania the number of children inoculated has dropped from 90 to 80% in only one breath, and that measles caused there in 2016 and 2017 some thirty deaths.
Romania went from 15 infections declared in 2015 to more than 9,000 between 2016 and 2017, and similar situations could reach nearby countries such as Italy, where Vice President Matteo Salvini is a skeptic recognized as a vaccine and the Government tries to curb laws that They want to force inoculate all minors.
Despite the alarming increase in measles cases in the Trans-Alpine country, members of the Government continue to be reluctant to pursue a legal initiative that would require the parents of each child to submit official certificates of their vaccination to be able to school.
In Spain, where the WHO considers that diseases such as measles are completely eradicated by now – except for occasional cases from abroad – is concerned but 3% of children whose parents do not take them to vaccinate for religious or ideological reasons, which is equivalent to between 80,000 and 150,000 minors.
In the United States, President Donald Trump mentioned in his controversial electoral campaign the alleged relationship between vaccines and autism, and in the social networks of the country many promoters of these ideas are Russian "spam" (malicious codes) # Aim to destabilize, according to a report from the American Journal of Public Health.
Skepticism towards vaccines was born almost at the beginning of the application in the West in the eighteenth century, when the inoculation campaigns initiated by the father of immunology, Edward Jenner, were not adequately controlled nor the vaccinated ones were properly isolated, which produced adverse results.
The improvement of vaccination techniques, especially in the 20th century, allowed the eradication or effective control of entire diseases in areas that were already highly contagious and sometimes fatal, such as smallpox, tetanus, pertussis, diphtheria, polio, rubella or The mumps, reducing the arguments of the antivacume.
But the disappearance of these diseases in some developed countries produced the same abandonment of vaccination campaigns with negative results, as happened in Sweden, where 60% of children had pertussis between 1979 and 1996, a period in the which authorities decided to stop injuring minors against it.
And skepticism was reborn in 1998 following the publication of an article by the British doctor Andrew Wakefield in The Lancet magazine that established a relationship between autism and the triple viral vaccine (measles- rubella).
The same publication refuted the article as fraudulent, but did not do it until 2011, and Wakefield's ideas – which left the United Kingdom to live in the U.S., where his ideas had more support – are rescued from time to time for politicians and users of social networks.
Numbers contributed by the WHO that talk about 40 million lives saved from smallpox, or 16 million people free from the paralysis created by polio, do not convince skeptics of any political sign, from libertarians who believe in law Not to be vaccinated to leftists who consider that inoculations are just a big business of pharmaceutical giants.