The Internet makes people stupid. I know it sounds strange coming from someone who works primarily on the web but facts are facts. The Internet amplifies everyones voice and extends the reach of their ideas while creating a culture in which people think that simply reading a few online articles (or worse Wikipedia entries) makes them an expert. This is why there are 9/11 “truthers” who still claim fire can’t melt steel girders even though fire was used to melt the steel to form the girders in the first place. It’s why people think jet contrails are “chemtrails” sprayed on them by “the Illuminati” who, if the Internet is to be believed, are a secret organization who murders everyone who learns of their existence except bloggers and Alex Jones – who are just too damn tough to be killed by the invisible empire that controls the entire Earth.
And it’s why people get their medical advice from drug addled celebrities like Jenny McCarthy.
I do believe that we are over vaccinated as a society and that there are dangers in vaccination. However I also know that not vaccinating against things like polio and whooping cough leads to resurgences of those diseases. Anti-vaxers on the web believe that the recent outbreak of whooping cough is a conspiracy against them by drug companies. They also explain away the effectiveness of vaccination programs for these diseases by claiming the diseases aren’t real. So what are these evil drug companies infecting babies with? Any answers?
No, because people who believe this are stupid. Unfortunately their stupidity is fatal:
(Reuters) – Whooping cough took the life of a 9-week-old girl from Idaho this week, the first death from an outbreak of the highly contagious respiratory disease that has hit Idaho, Washington state and Montana, health officials said on Friday.
Few details were available about the infant, who was treated for whooping cough at a hospital in Pocatello, Idaho, before being flown on Wednesday to a medical center in Salt Lake City, where she later died, hospital and state health officials said.
Washington state has seen 1,132 confirmed cases so far this year, up from 961 for all of 2011. Montana has also seen an alarming rise, with 99 cases so far this year, or about double the number recorded during the same period last year.
In Idaho, 31 cases have been reported since January. The state, where the per-capita occurrence has usually risen higher than the national average since 1987, recorded its last infant death from whooping cough in 2009.
The disease, also known as pertussis, causes severe coughing attacks and is especially dangerous for infants who are younger than a year old and have yet to complete the full cycle of vaccinations against the ailment.
Worldwide, it infects 30 million to 50 million people a year and kills about 300,000 – mostly children in the developing world.
Idaho and Washington are among 20 states that grant so-called philosophical exemptions to vaccination.
In Ravalli County in western Montana, the number of school-age children who have gained exemptions on religious or medical grounds from vaccinations caused health officials there to request 115 students stay home for three weeks – a period slated to end May 13 – to avoid contracting whooping cough.
From Mother Earth News:
Washington state is gearing up for one of the worst epidemics of pertussis in nearly 70 years. Pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious bacterial infection that causes a nasty cough. It is particularly dangerous for young infants.
Public health officials have confirmed more than 1,100 cases of whooping cough so far this year in the state. Thankfully, no deaths have been reported this year, but 20 infants have been hospitalized with the illness.
Washington’s Gov. Christine Gregoire announced May 3 that state emergency funds would be available to provide free vaccinations and help spread awareness about the disease and the importance of getting vaccinated.
Both stories via The Extinction Protocol, which is one of my favorite blogs but please check out the comments on these two stories to see the kind of circular logic and conspiratorial thinking I’m complaining about.
Look, you and noted genius Jenny McCarthy think vaccines cause autism? OK. But don’t avoid vaccines and then complain when we see resurgences of diseases people vaccinate against. That’s just stupid. You’re rolling the dice and when you do that someone’s coming up snake eyes. Like a 9-week-old infant.