Thursday, April 10, 2008

My Mumps, My Mumps, Those Lovely Pharma Lumps

As if healthcare didn't have enough woes, now it seems an old enemy has resurfaced - and I fear the pharmaceutical companies are part of the problem. Reuters reports Mumps are making a comeback. Says the article: "Mumps made an alarming comeback in the United States in 2006 and may take years to completely eradicate. The outbreak of the viral disease came despite the widespread use of a second dose of a mumps vaccine, produced by Merck, beginning in 1990."

It goes on to say there were no deaths from the virus, which can be as mild as a fever and swollen glands, or severe enough to cause deafness, testicular inflammation and encephalitis. But there were 6,584 cases nationwide and 85 hospitalizations, most concentrated in eight midwestern states and on college campuses.

Here's what's alarming to me: Besides the fact that a terribly awful affliction that we thought was on its way out is flaring up, there's the problem of the ineffective vaccine. According to the article, 84% of the people between the ages of 18 and 24 who became ill in the outbreak had received the second recommended dose - and the CDC says we may need to produce a new vaccine. In light of law suits and widespread speculation that similar vaccines are causing Autism and other defects/disorders in children (sorry I don't have time to research sources, though I heard it mentioned most recently in the HBO doc film Autism The Musical), I think the government might want to pay a little more attention to these pharmaceutical companies' effectiveness and not their bottom lines. I don't mean to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but something's rotten when drug companies continue to profit while people continue to get sick...with Mumps, no less!!! Mumps????!!!

1 comment:

Lauren OT said...

I wonder how the fear of autism has impacted those who might have gotten immunizations for their children (it is thought that vaccinations given too early to weak infant immune systems may be a link), and how this could be contributing to the rise in childhood conditions such as this again. I know I for one will be waiting longer than usual to get my children vaccinated, but you have to wonder about the cost, in several ways.