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Posted by margaret on June 18, 2000 at 04:23:17:

Child Vaccine Cluster in Scotland Fear

[Experts call for new research over linked Scot autism cases. By Emma
Nugent in the Scottish Daily Mail, Wednesday, June 14, 2000, No URL address
available.]

Fresh evidence of a possible link between the MMR vaccination and
autism emerged yesterday after children from villages within two miles of
each other were diagnosed with the condition after inoculation.
The three children from different families in Ayrshire were given the
jab at the same health centre within the space of four months.
The close proximity of the cases prompted renewed concern among
leading medical experts about the vaccine's potential link with the brain
syndrome.
Child neuro-psychologist Dr. Ken Aitken, who was one of the Medical
Research Council's 'wise men' on the issue, said the cluster of cases in
Ayrshire proved urgent research was needed before the mumps, measles and
rubella vaccine could be declared safe beyond doubt.
'More children are being diagnosed with autism and clusters like these
are deeply worrying,' he said last night. 'There is strong circumstantial
evidence to point to the MMR jab as the reason, but there has to be much
more coordinated research to look into this issue in detail.
'Research so far hasn't been adequate to address the questions that
are being raised about the possible links and there have been a lot of
queries about the validity of the conclusions which were drawn.' The parents
of Daniel Docherty, Stuart Robertson and Lee McPhail, all three years old,
believe that the MMR vaccination administered when the children were 14
months old at the Kilbirnie Health Centre led to their autism. The families,
who live within two miles of each other in Kilbirnie and Glengarnock,
Ayrshire, took their children for the jab in 1998. Mandy Robertson, Stuart's
mother said yesterday, 'I cannot accept that these three children who all
live so closely have developed this syndrome by chance.'
'I am demanding that answers be found. The Government cannot go on
giving children this injection without looking at what certainly seems to be
side effects. This is no coincidence, it can not be brushed off as such a
thing.' In the 1980s, one in 2500 children in Britain and America were
diagnosed as autistic. Latest figures compiled by researchers revealed a
dramatic leap to one in 146.
Earlier this year powerful new evidence which pointed strongly to a
link between the MMR vaccine and autism was revealed by leading scientists.
Professor John O'Leary, Director of Pathology at the Coombe Women's
Hospital in Dublin and a world authority in the detection of viruses, told a
US Congress in April this year that he had produced compelling evidence of
an association between the two. Professor O'Leary said he had found the
measles virus in the guts of 24 out of 25 children who had developed the
condition after an apparently healthy infancy. His research backed up the
claims of Dr. Andrew Wakefield, who works at the Royal Free Hospital in
London and 2 years ago first suggested a link between MMR and autism.
Dr. Wakefield has since produced research which he says identifies a
new disease, autistic enterocolitis which is characterised by an
inflammation of the gut in 150 children who became autistic. Doctors believe
the cocktail of vaccines in the same inoculation causes the gut damage and
the consequent autism.
Dr. Aitken, a world expert on autism based at Edinburgh Universisty,
said, 'The substantial increase in cases in the US began about three years
after MMR vaccine was introduced and the same thing happened three years
after MMR was introduced in Britain.'
'There has been a national increase throughout Britain and I find it
very surprising that the change is so tightly linked in time with when
triple vaccine was introduced.'
Edinburgh private GP, Dr. Peter Copp, who is now offering single
vaccinations due to the growing concerns being voiced about MMR, said the
number of parents wanting to avoid the combined vaccines had risen
dramatically.
Dr. Copp said, 'The evidence to back their worries is growing all the
time. I share parental concerns and believe there should be government
funded research into the possible link. I am offering parents an alternative
to the all or nothing approach they are being given by the NHS.' He added,
'Britain is the only country in the world which only offers MMR and no
alternative. Here it has to be triple or nothing.'
The child victims, once healthy and normal, developed learning
difficulties. Each family noticed a regression in their sons' temperments
and behaviour in the weeks and months that followed the jab and now want
answers.
Despite concerns raised by the medical establishment and the boys'
families, the Scottish Executive last night reinforced its commitment to the
MMR programme.
'No scientific evidence would advocate the advantage of giving single
vaccines, in fact the contrary,' said a spokesman. 'There are adverse
consequences, three separate injections are more traumatic for the child and
the combined vaccine means they can be inoculated against the three diseases
at the same time.'
'No country recommends giving MMR as separate jabs.'
A spokesman for the Department of Health in London, said 'There is no
evidence that the MMR vaccination is linked to autism.'
But Dr. Aitken, part of the 37 member MRC Committee which looked at
the possible link, strongly disagreed.
'I believe the parameters of a new study by the MRC needs to be made
public so we can ensure they are looking at the areas of concern.' More than
2000 British families are considering legal action against 5 manufacturers
of the vaccine.


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* * *

At Least 300 Dead From Measles

[In Central African Republic. From the Associated Press.]
http://www.nandotimes.com/healthscience/story/0,1080,500217491-500309017-501
719764-0,00.html

Bangui, Central African Republic - Measles has killed at least 300
people, mostly children, in this impoverished country in the last month, the
Health Ministry said Saturday.
More than 2,000 people have been infected, and the disease was
spreading, ministry official Gerard Grezengue said.
In one of the worst-affected areas, at least 90 people have died in
the northern village of Oudda-Djalle, whose population numbers just 2,000.
Health officials blamed a lack of resources in Central African
Republic, one of the world's poorest countries, saying there had been no
systematic vaccination for the disease since 1992.
The government planned a new vaccination campaign next month with the
help of the World Health Organization.
Measles, which can cause deadly pneumonia and swelling of the brain,
is especially dangerous in infants and young children. Pregnant women are
also at risk from the disease, which can induce early labor or miscarriage.
* * *


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