Sadly, the real risk is a global recurrence of the disease as, one at a time, people begin to reject vaccinations because they are associated with controversy, not real medical findings.
US CDC Stand:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an informative fact sheet that demonstrates, very briefly the establishment of fear and states unequivocally that there is no known connection between MMR and autism and goes further to state that the 12 cases in the 1998 (12 child) study may have just by chance simultaneously began symptoms of the autism disorder, around the time they received the vaccinations. As the onset of autism usually does correspond with the age group of vaccinating children there is a major point of validity with this argument. The CDC also points out two other important facts, that no other studies have been able to link the two and that the tentative research has many limitation, including onset of autism and bowel conditions, which at first was though to be connected, and not the least of which was the size of the study group. The Wakefield research, with 13 original authors, all but 3 of whom have since denied the findings of the report, claims that autism neurological symptoms followed the onset of the bowel disorder, with the bowel disorder then being linked to the cause of the neurological symptoms, yet as the CDC fact sheet appropriately points out some of the small group actually did not exhibit the bowel symptoms until after the onset of neurological symptoms. Though the most important bit of information offered to concerned individuals by the CDC fact sheet is that the protocol for the MMR vaccination is still recommended and in effect. (CDC, October 18, 2007. "Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism Fact Sheet")
Groups of experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, agree that MMR vaccine is not responsible for recent increases in the number of children with autism. In 2004, a report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that there is no association between autism and MMR vaccine, or vaccines that contain thimerosal as a preservative. (CDC, October 18, 2007. "Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism Fact Sheet")
There is a very clear sense that the concern was unfounded and though the research set out to help explain a very disturbing disease, that clearly needs more research the wake of fear it caused far outweighed the validity of its tentative results. Responsible research has unequivocally shown that there is no connection between the MMR and autism and that those avoiding the vaccines are very likely doing much more harm than good, by doing so.
Fears are often based upon anecdotal evidence, of which there is a great deal on this issue. If one does a simple google search for this false connection there are a resounding number of sites that offer, fear filled anecdotes, with a relatively small valid base to support the fears. Yet, when it comes to our children controversy frequently creates extreme responses, because above all else we wish to protect our children from anything we think might hurt them. Sadly, in denying children the MMR vaccination millions of parents are contradicting the reality, as the vaccination has been proven without a doubt to create more positive benefits than negative possibilities. The more this movement grows, and even with scientific results to combat it the anti-vaccination movement continues to gain steam. Using the simple fact that there is an increased incidence of autism, internationally people are still claiming a connection and confusing parents in the process. (Gupta, September 14, 2004, NP) Though, conflicting evidence is not an unusual occurrence in any controversial issue the reality of this situation is alarming. Continuing to search for this link creates a sense that there is still a viable connection, and also redirects research resources that could be used to seek out other causes for the growth of autism spectrum disorders in the international community, not to mention increasing the risk of three potentially deadly diseases that were previously nearly eradicated by the MMR vaccination.
Autism Ruled out by Largest Study of MMR Vaccine Cases. (2001, January 13). The Birmingham Post (England), p. 6.
CDC, October 18, 2007. "Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) Vaccine and Autism Fact Sheet" Retrieved October, 22, 2007 at http://www.cdc.gov/od/science/iso/concerns/mmr_autism_factsheet.htm
Gupta, C. (September 14, 2004) MMR and AUTISM: The link really has been established Retrieved October 15, 2007 at http://www.newmediaexplorer.org/chris/2004/09/14/mmr_and_autism_the_link_really_has_been_established.htm
Izakson, O. (2003, May/June). Measuring Risk: Vaccines Save Lives, but Also Cause Health Problems. E, 14, 40.
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