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In case you need a reminder:

September 21, 2010

The Huffington Post has long given a platform to anti-vaccination advocates to spread their lies about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Now, the fruits of that labor are becoming painfully obvious, as Huffington Post is reporting:

LOS ANGELES — State health officials reported Thursday that California is on track to break a 55-year record for whooping cough infections in an epidemic that has already claimed the lives of nine infants.

There’s an incredibly effective vaccine that prevents Pertussis, which is the causative agent of whooping cough. It’s the reason California hasn’t seen any serious outbreaks in the last half-century. So why is it on the rise now?

Many parents forgo vaccines for their children because of concerns about autism, typically fueled by misinformation on the Internet, said Dr. Mark Sawyer, a University of California-San Diego professor and fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Misinformation spread where? Well, since you asked.

The death of 9 children to a completely preventable disease in as rich a country as ours is a tragedy and a travesty. These children were too young to have received the vaccine. They should have been protected by herd immunity, but due to the ignorant actions of a number of parents, the disease was able to break through.

If you’re interested in learning more, and are in the Boston area, the fist lecture in the Science in the News fall lecture series is on precisely this topic. It’s free to the public – please feel free to stop by.

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