Following a measles outbreak beginning in Disneyland, talk of vaccines and their alleged dangers has returned to the forefront of the national dialogue.
Perhaps the most outrageous of the anti-vaccine arguments is that they could be a cause of autism.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Mayo Clinic have both published statements denying a causal link between vaccination and autism.
The idea that such a link exists is erroneous, unscientific and dangerous.
The use of vaccines has helped fight back against some of the deadliest diseases facing humanity.
It seems that because the threat of these diseases is less prevalent, some are willing to treat the scientific truth of the matter as irrelevant.
Those, like comedian Jenny McCarthy, who use their celebrity status to advance inaccurate ideas about vaccines do the public and themselves a great disservice.
A little honest research would reveal the findings of the CDC, the Mayo Clinic and the Institute of Medicine.
For example, according to the Mayo Clinic, one of the complications of measles is encephalitis, which is “an inflammation of the brain that may cause vomiting, convulsions, and, rarely, coma or even death.”
Compare this deadly virus with the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder: difficulties with communication, resistance to change, clumsy behavior, and preoccupation with specific interests.
Promoting unscientific falsehoods endangers children more than the measles vaccine itself. People with autism can live long, happy lives.
The U.S. Census Bureau said that, as of 2011, about 87 percent of Americans 25 years old or older have completed high school. About 30 percent of Americans 25 years old or older have college degrees.
The sort of basic scientific illiteracy that allows for the widespread fear of vaccines is unacceptable in a nation with a populace this educated.
It is common sense to consult a medical professional when the situation involves the long-term health of both your child and others’ children.