Sunday, April 05, 2009

California schools' risks rise as vaccinations drop

A Times analysis finds hundreds of campuses, which tend to be in more affluent areas, at risk for childhood disease outbreaks. Parents seem to fear shots more than mumps or measles.

A rising number of California parents are choosing to send their children to kindergarten without routine vaccinations, putting hundreds of elementary schools in the state at risk for outbreaks of childhood diseases eradicated in the U.S. years ago.

Exemptions from vaccines -- which allow children to enroll in public and private schools without state-mandated shots -- have more than doubled since 1997, according to a Times analysis of state data obtained last week.

The rise in unvaccinated children appears to be driven by affluent parents choosing not to immunize. Many do so because they fear the shots could trigger autism, a concern widely discredited in medical research.

But with autism rates rising, some parents find that fear more worrisome than the chance that their child could contract diseases that, while now very rare in this country, can still be deadly.

Full article here.

Crap like this makes me fear for the planet. Pseudocelebrities spewing pseudoscience given more credibility than science, causing a truly dangerous situation. Isn't it possible that autism rates are climbing because there's now a "diagnosis", a category, for that kid who just didn't fit in? Statistics generated for the sake of statistics. Rant off.

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