The Island of Sears

The Island of Sears

The Island of Sears Over at Respectful Insolence, my favorite box of blinking lights discusses Dr Bob Sears and his response to the increase in measles.

There is not much to add to the discussion, but I will toss in my two cents worth.

The first penn is the observation that most anti-vaccine proponets minimize the suffering of others unless it is a pandemic. Usually it is the use of the word 'only' , as in there are only x number of cases of measles a year in the US and they only caused x number of deaths. Dr. Sears is not different:

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Why is it that every time there are a few cases of measles, everyone panics? I just don’t get it. So, here’s the situation in the O.C., where I live and practice. Seven cases. Seven. That’s 7. Not 700, not a million. Seven.

I am always amazed how little those who oppose vaccination don't seen to care about the suffering of others. John Donne is not their role model:

No Man Is An Island No man is an island, Entire of itself, Every man is a piece of the continent, A part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less. As well as if a promontory were. As well as if a manor of thy friend's Or of thine own were: Any man's death diminishes me, Because I am involved in mankind, And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

Not to mention the cost over and above the morbidity and mortality of measles. 

For the second penny,  Dr. Sears notes

Measles will never go away – it’s always going to be a very small risk.

Yes. In part thanks to people like Dr. Sears. We were, maybe, close to eradicating polio when the program was sabotaged in Africa/Mideast and it came storming back.

And measles? It could be eradicated if we had the resources, the will and we didn't have people like Dr. Sears.

You may not be aware, but several years ago rinderpest was eradicated from the face of the earth. Rinderpest is the measles

of cattle, buffaloes, large antelopes and deer, pigs and warthogs, even giraffes and wildebeests.

Or it may be more accurate to say measles is the rhinderpest of humans, at it may have jumped from to cattle to humans:

Measles, caused by measles virus (MeV), is a common infection in children. MeV is a member of the genus Morbillivirus and is most closely related to rinderpest virus (RPV), which is a pathogen of cattle. MeV is thought to have evolved in an environment where cattle and humans lived in close proximity... MeV may have originated from virus of non-human species and caused emerging infectious diseases around the 11th to 12th centuries.

If we can rid the earth of rhinderpest, we could, in theory, rid the world of measles. But probably not while there are the Dr. Sear's in the world.

Points of Interest: 3.21.2014
Points of Interest: 3.20.2014