So today I was driving and listening to KGO radio, to a host I hadn't heard before, a fellow named Ethan Bearman. He had some interesting stuff to say, but I only heard part of the show.
When I got home, one of my pro-vax pals had posted this on Facebook:
Just had to turn off the radio. Some idiot Ethan berman was going on about how 150 something cases of measles was no big deal. And he used the anti vax phrase natural immunity. And he blamed doctors because 11 cases were caught at their offices (like it wasn't the parents who brought it with their kids' fault). Some lady called in and said it can cause serious issues other than just a brief illness and he poo poo ed that and said all diseases can do that in rare instances. shameful
Liz Ditz @lizditz: Say @ethanbearman is it true that on @kgoradio today you said measles is “no big deal” and “natural immunity" is better?
Ethan Bearman @EthanBearman: @lizditz @kgoradio Measles less dangerous and regularly confused with smallpox. Yes, measles is significantly less dangerous than smallpox.
That didn't answer the question, now did it? So I tried again.
Liz Ditz @lizditz: No @EthanBearman @kgoradio measles hasn’t been confused w/ smallpox since smallpox eradicated in 1980. No doctor today would confuse the 2.
Ethan Bearman @EthanBearman: @lizditz How many killed from measles in US past twenty years? How about since 2003 (that would be zero)...
Liz Ditz @lizditz:News flash, @EthanBearman: measles outbreaks are a big, expensive deal to public health & affected families http://1.usa.gov/1rCfGGs
The link goes to:
Sugerman DE et al., Measles outbreak in a highly vaccinated population, San Diego, 2008: role of the intentionally undervaccinated.Pediatrics. 2010 Apr;125(4):747-55. doi: 10.1542/peds.2009-1653. Epub 2010 Mar 22, which reads in part (emphasis added):
The importation resulted in 839 exposed persons, 11 additional cases (all in unvaccinated children), and the hospitalization of an infant too young to be vaccinated. Two-dose vaccination coverage of 95%, absence of vaccine failure, and a vigorous outbreak response halted spread beyond the third generation, at a net public-sector cost of $10 376 per case. Although 75% of the cases were of persons who were intentionally unvaccinated, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average family cost of $775 per child.
Liz Ditz @lizditz: People thought radio personality @EthanBearman was promoting the anti-vaccine message today on @kgoradio. Shameful & irresponsible
Liz Ditz @lizditz: More anti-vaccine markers from @ethanbearman, ignoring morbidity & saying measles is safe because low mortality http://bit.ly/QNbO8C
Bearman replied with:
Ethan Bearman @EthanBearman: @lizditz Please argue natural immunity with experts who DO say it is better like @mercola http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/11/12/measles-vaccine.aspx
Oh, well that did it! The millionaire fear profiteer Joe Mercola as an expert on immunology! Here's Mercola's entry at the Encyclopedia of American Loons. Science-Based Medicine calls Mercola.com "....a horrible chimera of tabloid journalism, late-night infomercials, and amateur pre-scientific medicine".
Oh it gets worse (or better). The article Bearman cited was a propaganda piece from Barbara Loe Fisher (who also has an Encyclopedia of American Loons entry). Loe Fisher founded the National Vaccine (mis)Information Center, the largest and most effective anti-vaccine propaganda dissemination organization. Her ideas about vaccines haven't changed in 30 years. If that's where Bearman is getting his health information, no wonder he's dismissive of vaccine safety and efficacy.
Liz Ditz @lizditz: Oh man, @ethanbearman confirmed his anti-vaccine status, citing @mercola as a reliable source http://bit.ly/QNby9v
Liz Ditz @lizditz: I’d like @ethanbearman to be schooled by real immunology experts like @PedsGeekMD or @peds_id_doc on risk of measles infection not @mercola
Why I take measles seriously and get irritated with those who dismiss it as "a mild disease". From: Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases The Pink Book: Course Textbook - 12th Edition Second Printing (May 2012)
Approximately 30% of reported measles cases have one or more complications. Complications of measles are more common among children younger than 5 years of age and adults 20 years of age and older.
From 1985 through 1992, diarrhea was reported in 8% of measles cases, making this the most commonly reported complication of measles. Otitis media was reported in 7% of cases and occurs almost exclusively in children. Pneumonia (in 6% of reported cases) may be viral or superimposed bacterial, and is the most common cause of death.
Acute encephalitis occurs in approximately 0.1% of reported cases. Onset generally occurs 6 days after rash onset (range 1–15 days) and is characterized by fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, meningeal irritation, drowsiness, convulsions, and coma. Cerebrospinal fluid shows pleocytosis and elevated protein. The case-fatality rate is approximately 15%. Some form of residual neurologic damage occurs in as many as 25% of cases. Seizures (with or without fever) are reported in 0.6%–0.7% of cases.
Death from measles was reported in approximately 0.2% of the cases in the United States from 1985 through 1992. As with other complications of measles, the risk of death is higher among young children and adults. Pneumonia accounts for about 60% of deaths. The most common causes of death are pneumonia in children and acute encephalitis in adults. Since 1995, an average of 1 measles-related death per year has been reported.
Subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) is a rare degenerative central nervous system disease believed to be due to persistent measles virus infection of the brain. Onset occurs an average of 7 years after measles (range 1 month–27 years), and occurs in five to ten cases per million reported measles cases. The onset is insidious, with progressive deterioration of behavior and intellect, followed by ataxia (awkwardness), myoclonic seizures, and eventually death. SSPE has been extremely rare since the early 1980s.
- Diarrhea - 8% reported
- Otitis media - 7% reported
- Pneumonia - 6% reported
- Encephalitis - 0.1% reported
- Seizures - 0.6-0.7% reported
- Death - 0.2% reported
Mr. Bearman is correct that I did not hear the whole broadcast, from 10 am today to 1 pm. Fortunately, it appears as a podcast, later. You and I can listen to it when it goes up, at http://podcast.ethanbearman.com/