Vaccine skeptics seemed to be condemned as an extravagant minority after centuries in which they stopped deadly epidemics, but the anti-vaccine movement reappeared when it was least expected, encouraged by the proliferation of hoaxes on social networks that some politicians believe and protect.
GENEVA. The significant increase in measles cases in the world this year, from 30% to 173,000 cases in 2018, according to the World Health Organization, gives a warning signal about the negative consequences of this movement, revived over the past 20 years, and that for WHO is a key factor in the appearance of this disease in Western countries, where it was considered a thing of the past, such as Germany or Italy.
In the first six months of this year alone, 41,000 cases were recorded in Europe, more than 24,000 reported in 2017, and 17 deaths from a disease that, despite its low mortality rate, can have chronic consequences for those suffering from him like blindness
The occurrence of these cases can not be associated only with the movement against vaccines, but coincides with this, and its influence on celebrities and people with the ability to influence, at an idyllic moment to spread rumors through social networks and the arrival of politicians who want to take advantage of it.
Arguments already disproved by anti-vaccines, because they cause autism or contain levels of mercury harmful to health, have led, for example, to the fact that in Romania the number of children vaccinated decreased from 90 to 80% in just five years, and that measles will lead to there are about thirty deaths in 2016 and 2017.
In Romania, the number of infections reported in 2015 exceeded 9,000 between 2016 and 2017. Similar situations can arise in neighboring countries, such as Italy, where Vice President Matteo Salvini is a recognized skeptic about vaccines, and the government is trying to curb laws that they want to instill in all minors.
Despite the alarming increase in measles cases in the transalpine country, government members are still reluctant to take legal action that would require the parents of each child to submit official vaccination certificates for their registration.
In Spain, where WHO believes that diseases such as measles, are now completely eliminated, with the exception of certain cases caused by outside fears, however, that 3% of children whose parents do not take them for vaccination for religious or ideological reasons which is equivalent to 80,000 and 150,000 minors.
In the United States, President Donald Trump said in his controversial election campaign of the alleged link between vaccines and autism, and the social networks in the country of many promoters of these ideas, “bots” (malicious code) Russians destabilizing, according to a report from the American Journal of Public Health.
Skepticism about vaccines began almost at the beginning of their use in the West in the eighteenth century, when vaccination campaigns initiated by the father of immunology, Edward Jenner, were not properly controlled, and those vaccinated were not properly isolated. which gave unfavorable results.
Improving vaccination methods, especially in the twentieth century, has made it possible to effectively eradicate or control once-infectious and sometimes deadly diseases, such as smallpox, tetanus, whooping cough, diphtheria, polio, rubella, or mumps that reduce the arguments against vaccines.
But the disappearance of these diseases in some developed countries led to the same rejection of vaccination campaigns with negative results, as happened in Sweden, where 60% of children suffered from whooping cough between 1979 and 1996, a period when the authorities decided to stop vaccinating children against it. .
And skepticism was revived in 1998 after the publication of an article by a British doctor Andrew Wakefield in The Lancet magazine, in which the link was established between autism and the MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella).
The same publication refuted this article, considering it fraudulent, but did not do it until 2011, and politicians and users from time to time saved the ideas of Wakefield, who left the UK to live in the United States, where their ideas received great support. social networks.
The figures provided by WHO, which speak of 40 million lives saved from smallpox, or 16 million people free from paralysis caused by polio, do not convince skeptics of all political signs from libertarians who believe in the right not to vaccinate left, who vaccines are considered to be just the big business of the pharmaceutical giants.