Setting the illnesses in context
Measles Mumps Rubella
Something curious has happened to the "official" perception of the childhood diseases which are the subject of the MMR or MR vaccines (Measles, Mumps, Rubella). They have all officially become more serious since vaccines were introduced.
It is instructive to put the three diseases into perspective. The following extracts and summaries are from two family health guides published 13 years apart:
the MacMillan Guide to Family Health,an authoritative health manual edited by Dr. Tony Smith the deputy editor of the British Medical Journal and published in 1982; and the British Medical Association Complete Family Health Encyclopaedia published in 1995 (first published 1990). This is also edited by Dr. Tony Smith.
We have chosen the first publication because it came out some years before MMR vaccines were introduced into this country. It has been observed by Dr. Viera Scheibner that diseases inexplicably appear to become more dangerous at about the time when new vaccines are introduced. Contrast the entries in the two publications:
MeaslesFrom the MacMillan Guide to Family Heath
"Measles is a highly contagious disease which chiefly affects the skin and respiratory tract. It is a notifiable disease. The incubation period is 10-14 days. The first symptoms are raised temperature, runny nose, red watering eyes, dry cough and sometimes diarrhoea. By the third day the temperature falls and tiny white spots like grains of salt appear inside the mouth. On the fourth and fifth days temperature rises again and the characteristic measles rash appears, starting on the forehead and behind the ears and gradually spreading to the rest of the body but not usually the limbs. By the sixth day the rash is fading and by the seventh day all the symptoms have gone.
"In the vast majority of children who catch measles the disease disappears within 10 days and the only after effect is lifelong immunity to another attack" [our emphasis]
In contrast 1995 -From the British Medical Association Complete Family Heath Encyclopaedia
The following are quotations from the book. Note the difference in emphasis and detail.
"A potentially dangerous viral illness that causes a characteristic rash and a fever.... Measles was once very common throughout the world occurring in epidemics. It is now less common in developed countries due to immunisation"
"Prevention of measles is important because it can have rare but serious complications.... It can also be serious, and sometimes fatal, in children with impaired immunity (such as those being treated for leukaemia and those infected with AIDS virus). In developing countries measles is still common, accounting for more than one million deaths every year, especially in malnourished children whose defences against infection are seriously impaired"
"The most common complications are ear and chest infections. Diarrhoea vomiting and abdominal pain also occur. Febrile convulsions are common with measles and are not usually serious. A serious complication, occurring in about one in a thousand cases is encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).... Seizures 'and coma may follow sometimes leading to mental retardation or even death. Very rarely (in about one in a million cases) a progressive brain disorder, known as SSPE, develops years after the acute illness. Measles during pregnancy results in death of the foetus in about one fifth of the cases"
"Immunisation against measles is usually offered at about 15 months of age and produces immunity in about 97% of the cases. Side effects of the measles vaccine are generally mild"
[no mention of any serious side effects of the vaccine]
Measles viewed in 1967
Another example of the apparent change in the nature of measles is this extract from a paper by Christine Miller BM B.Ch, of the National Institute for Medical Research London published in 1967 one year before the measles vaccine was introduced on a wide scale.
"MEASLES is now the commonest infectious disease of childhood in the United Kingdom. It occurs in biennial epidemics in which the total number of cases usually exceeds half a million, and between these peaks there is a continuous substantial incidence.
There is no doubt that most of these cases in England today are mild, last only for a short period, are not followed by complications and are rarely fatal, but this is not the whole picture and other factors have to be considered.
"OPPOSING VIEWS: Measles is always a social nuisance whenever it occurs and nearly always an unpleasant episode for the child and the family. Most children develop measles during preschool or early school life, and when more than one child is infected at the same time it is an exhausting and trying period for the mother, especially if she goes out to work. Outbreaks in schools and hospital wards also cause waste of time and inconvenience, and there have been severe outbreaks in the Armed Forces. To the doctor an epidemic of measles means an increase in work in the late winter and early spring when he is already especially busy. A recent survey in a number of areas in this country (unpublished) showed that the majority of measles cases are visited at least twice by the general practitioner, and in many cases more than twice. This is a heavy burden on the National Health Service, which also bears the cost of antibiotics with which most cases are treated.
"In spite of these factors, some physicians consider that measles is so mild a complaint that a major effort at prevention is not justified. On the other hand, others believe that, on the whole, the implications of an epidemic are serious and that the disease should be prevented if possible. These opposing views are of topical importance in measles vaccines"6.
Measles viewed in 1979
In the well respected publication The Theory and Practice of Public Health it is stated:
"While the infectivity of measles is still very high in all types of population and environment, the results of infection vary greatly. In Britain and many other developed countries today measles has lost much of its severity, but the disease can still sweep through virgin populations with great ferocity... On the other hand immunity is probably lifelong, and when measles has invaded an isolated community, older members have been protected by immunity acquired over sixty years earlier. In developing or underdeveloped countries measles may still cause serious complications and carry a fatality rate of up to 25 per cent.
In contrast 1994 -
From: MEASLES why every child in school needs to be protected from measles this autumn. 1994 [Health Education Authority/Department of Health Publication)
"Unfortunately, measles can be much more serious than most people think. School-age children who get it are likely to be very ill. These children will have a high temperature, a rash, a cough, a cold and sore eyes. Other symptoms are headaches and not liking bright light. Measles can cause pneumonia, blindness, deafness and even brain damage. Measles can also be fatal. In fact its the disease most likely to cause inflammation of the brain. This is known as 'encephalitis'. Worryingly, four out of ten children who get this kind of encephalitis will suffer long-term brain damage."
Our reason for emphasising this apparent change in the perception of the illnesses is to raise a question-mark over the rationale for MR or MMR vaccines.
Vaccination is an invasive procedure. Children, once vaccinated, are inevitably put on direct risk (however large or small that risk might be) of vaccination side effects. On the other hand, if nature is allowed to take its course, they may never catch all or any of the illnesses; and if they do, the evidence suggests that their immunity to further attacks will be far greater than is provided by any vaccine.
Furthermore, there is some evidence that catching measles actually protects children against some conditions, such as allergies. A recent trial in Guinea-Bissau found that 25.8% of participants who had the measles vaccine suffered from allergies, as opposed to 12.8% who had the wild measles.10
In the Immunisation Awareness Newsletter of December 1991, other advantages of catching measles are considered, as this passage shows:
"The advent of complications during these diseases essentially depends on the age and the health of the child, as. well as on treatment. We have lost the common sense and the wisdom that used to prevail in the approach to childhood diseases. Too often, instead of reinforcing the organism's defences, fever and symptoms are relentlessly suppressed. This is not always without consequences over the development of the disease. On the other hand, given the depth to which the child's organism is affected by the disease measles, for example, there can also be positive consequences. For the child's organism to defeat a disease by its own means, enables it to mature its immune system and develop increased resistance. The latter will be useful for the organism against other diseases during childhood, and likewise in adulthood. Over many generations, parents, doctors, and educators have noted that children may go through an important stage of their development thanks to a childhood disease. Conditions in which heredity is a factor, such as eczema, asthma, or recurring infections of the respiratory system, may be improved or even cured after measles.
"This 'cure potential' of childhood diseases can be demonstrated by an example. There is a serious childhood disease affecting the kidneys, the nephrotic syndrome, in which the kidneys lose their vital excretion function as a result of disturbed immunological processes. Up until the 1960s, at the Bale University Paediatrics Clinic, artificial infection with the measles was used to treat this syndrome; this brought about at least an improvement in most cases."11
The process of vaccination involves submission to a medical procedure. for the benefit of a community; not just for oneself or one's immediate family. Therefore, for a vaccination to be justified, there must be:
- a serious threat from the disease(s), and
---a significant benefit from the vaccine.
If the diseases are not as serious as they are now claimed to be (and we have found no indication that any of them has become more serious in the past 15-20 years - quite the reverse)12; and if the vaccines are more dangerous than they are admitted to be, then the risk/benefit ratio is altered. At the very least, parents should know about it. Behind the scenes, it is acknowledged that vaccines are indeed not as safe as they could be:
"The goals of immunization are to eradicate infectious diseases while minimizing morbidity caused by the vaccine, particularly to prevent neurological damage. The object of the study is to evaluate neurological complications associated with the immunization. Immunization is an important public health measure. Acute reactions warrant support for development of improved vaccines."13
If vaccines are so safe why do they need to be improved?
Chickenpox from 1894-2000
From the MacMillan Guide to Family Health 1982:
"Mumps is a common infectious disease caused by a virus. After an incubation period of 2-4 weeks the salivary glands swell, the parotid gland (just in front of the ear) is particularly infected. Swelllings are usually accompanied by a raised temperature and a general feeling of illness. It is probably the most common childhood infectious disease but not as contagious as measles.
"A fairly common risk of mumps is the swelling of testes in a boy or the ovaries in a girl. This is much more common in an adult. Invariably the swelling goes down after a few days leaving no ill effects. It is excessively rare for the swelling to cause sterility. A rare complication is acute pancreatitis which passes within a few days. "Mumps is generally a mild disease. The usual outcome is complete recovery within about 10 days"
In contrast 1995 --
From the British Medical Association Complete Family Health Encyclopaedia 1995:
"Mumps is an acute viral illness mainly of childhood.... Serious complications are uncommon. However, in teenage and adult males, mumps can be a highly uncomfortable illness in which one of both testes become inflamed and swollen.... Most infections are acquired at school or from infected family members. In the U.S., where many states required proof of mumps vaccination for school entry, the incidence has dropped markedly over the last 20 years. In the U.K. by contrast, before routine immunisation was introduced in 1988, mumps affected a large proportion of the population at sometime in their lives, usually between the ages of 5 and 10. An occasional complication of mumps is meningitis----- A less common complication of mumps is pancreatitis which causes abdominal pain and vomiting. In males after puberty, orchitis (inflammation of the testes) develops in about a quarter of the cases. Subsequently the affected testis may shrink to smaller than normal size. In rare cases, mumps orchitis affects both testes leading to infertility." (The book also contains strong warnings about the consequences of older people coming into contact with those infected with mumps.)
Rubella (German Measles)
From the MacMillan Guide to Family Health 1982
"This is a very mile infectious disease - in the majority of children who catch it, it causes no more inconvenience that a common cold. The incubation period is 14-21 days and the first symptoms are a slightly raised temperature, swollen glands behind the ears and a rash appearing on the first or second day first on the face and then spreading to the rest of the body. By the fourth or fifth day, all symptoms have faded away.
"It is slightly less common than measles and not as highly contagious so does not occur in epidemics in quite the same way.
"Like other childhood diseases, German measles carries the risk of encephalitis though this occurs in only one case in 6000. A more common complication, particularly in adults is stiff swollen joints (infectious arthritis).
"Because German measles is such a mild disease, little specific treatment is required but the disease is known to cause damage to babies developing in the uterus. It is therefore essential to contact any pregnant woman who has been exposed to German measles."
The British Medical Association Complete Family Health Encyclopaedia 1995: The book does not emphasise the seriousness of the illness as much as it does in respect of measles and mumps but does state that vaccines are long lasting in their effect.