Internet Myths Bring Back Disease Once Eradicated

Editor's note: If you appreciate posts like this and want ANC to continue publishing similar content, become a paid subscriber for as little as $1.35 a month.

A recent episode of “Madam Secretary” takes us through an exercise of how the “anti-vaxx” movement might play out. Two children are infected with measles following a trip. Both fall gravely ill, but eventually recover, however one has complications that will follow her for the rest of her life.

While both mothers are distraught, the mother of the unvaccinated child is wracked with guilt for the pain inflicted on her child as well as what has happened to her friend’s child. “I thought I was doing the right thing and protecting my child from autism”, she laments.

Sadly she had fallen victim to the scourge of the internet: the spreading of misinformation and conspiracy theories. This trend of fear mongering, “alternative facts” and science denial has damaged so many parts of our society. The current measles outbreaks are evidence of this type of damage.

Dr. Jack Kimple, retired family physician, recounts an incident many years ago where he and colleagues (including Dr. Cazeneuve) could not diagnose a child who was feverish, listless and had a rash. Finally an older colleague happened by and immediately diagnosed measles. The diagnosing problem was caused by the fact that vaccines had reduced the incidence so dramatically, that it just wasn’t seen anymore. Younger family physicians are telling me that they now need to refresh their knowledge as well.

Personally, I remember measles quite well. Some of my 6 siblings suffered more than others when they contracted the disease. In fact, from 1958 to 1962, the U.S. averaged 503,282 reported cases and 432 death associated with measles each year. Successful vaccination campaigns had all but eliminated the disease by early 1990’s.

Redding area schools ARV (All required Vaccines) vaccination rates for 2017 are shown at the website It shows two charter schools in the “red” category with less than 80% of the kindergarten level students fully vaccinated: Chrysalis & Redding School of the Arts. Three are rated “more vulnerable” with 80-89% and 10 are moderate with 80-89%, 3 did not report. Only 9 schools met the “safest” category of 95-100%, which meets the standard for “herd immunity”.

Shasta Community Health Center has recently begun offering Saturday well child clinics in hopes of increasing their population’s relatively low vaccination rates.

Margaret R. Beck
Margaret Beck  CLU, ChFC, CEBS started her insurance practice in Redding in 1978. As an insurance broker/consultant,  she represents businesses and individuals as their advocate.  She assists in choosing proper products, compliance with complex benefit laws and claims issues once coverage is placed. All information in her column is provided to the best of her knowledge, subject to final regulation by the respective agencies. Questions to be answered in this column can be submitted to Beck's column is also published in the Redding Record Searchlight.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

3 Responses

  1. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    The website showing rates of vaccinations in local schools came up a few days ago, posted by a Facebook friend. He asked the question, “What’s up with Palo Cedro compared with Cottonwood?”

    My response: “I know the answer to this, but I’m not going to say it right out loud.”

    I still don’t want to say it right out loud, but it’s kind of like this: Some people, more than others, have plenty of free time on their hands. They spend a great amount of time on social media, and engaged in various forms of self-care (e.g., yoga classes), maybe meet in the afternoon once a week for a Bible study class, or at soccer games on Saturdays. They have plenty of time to exchange factoids with one another. Many are college educated, but managed to graduate without having to acquire much in the way of critical thinking skills.

    It’s not just vaccines. It extends to: GM foods are 100% horrible. Chemtrails are proof of geoengineerimg. Luke Bryan is country music at its finest.

    There are local variants reflecting local politics: My kids will be safer if their teachers and administrators have guns. (Analogous to the easily falsified: My family will be safer if we have guns in our house.) Our homeless are bussed here by the big liberal cities. Global warming isn’t real because it snowed.

    What about Cottonwood? Most moms from Cottonwood don’t have time for such nonsense.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      There’s a non-foregone phenomenon in any prosperous nation
      When primal fears all disappear the brain then gets a sensation
      The medical name we gave this pain is affluenflammation…

    • Avatar Bruce Vojtecky says:

      GM foods are the only solution to feeding an overpopulating world.
      Geo engineering in the skies of western Wyoming, seeding clouds with chemicals, was reported to increase rain/snow by 15%.
      Marty Robbins was and is country music at it’s finest.
      Working in schools I can state that if teachers and administrators, any school district, have guns those guns will be in the hands of the students by the end of the day. Proof. When Enterprise first installed security cameras the students stole them by the end of the day.