Vaccine skeptics looked like an extravagant minority after centuries with deadly epidemics, but the anti-vaccine movement increased again, when expected, encouraged by the spread of fraud in social networks that some politicians believe and champions.
GENEVA The huge increase in this year in cases of measles in the world, from 30% to 173,000 cases in 2018 according to the World Health Organization, gives a warning signal about the negative effects of this movement, reborn in the past 20 years, and that the WHO is key to the re-emergence occurrence of the disease in the countries of the West, where it was considered a thing of the past, such as Germany or Italy.
Only in the first six months of this year there were 41,000 cases in Europe, more than 24,000 registered in 2017 and 17 deaths from illness which, despite the low mortality rate, can cause chronic consequences for those who suffer from it, as blindness .
The rise of these cases can not be attributed only to the anti-vaccination movement, but coincides with the time with that and its impact on celebrities and people with the ability to influence, in an idyllic moment for the spread of rumors through social networks and the arrival of politicians who they want to use it.
The arguments that have already been rejected by anti-vaccines because they produce autism or contain levels of mercury harmful to health, for example have produced that the number of vaccinated children in Romania has decreased from 90 to 80% in just five years and that measles will cause about thirty deaths in 2016 and 2017.
In Romania, out of 15 infections declared in 2015 to more than 9,000 in 2015 between 2016 and 2017, similar situations could reach surrounding countries such as Italy, where Vice President Matteo Salvini is recognized as a vaccine skeptic and the government is trying to curb laws that want force for inoculation of all minors.
Despite the alarming increase in cases of measles in the Transylvania country, government members remain unwilling to implement a legal initiative that will require parents to present each child's official confirmation of their vaccination in order to enroll them.
In Spain, where the WHO thinks that measles diseases are completely eradicated now – except in isolated cases of external concerns, however, that 3% of children whose parents do not take them for vaccination for religious or ideological reasons, equivalent to 80,000 and 150,000 minors.
In the United States, President Donald Trump in his controversial election campaign mentioned the alleged relationship between vaccines and autism, and in the social networks in the country many promoters of these ideas are "bots" (malicious codes) Russian for destabilization, he defended a report from the American Journal of Public Health.
Skepticism towards vaccines was born almost at the beginning of the application of these to the West in the 18th century, when inoculation campaigns initiated by the father of immunology, Edward Jener, were not properly controlled, nor vaccinated were properly isolated. which resulted in negative results.
Improvements in vaccination techniques, especially in the twentieth century, effectively corroded or controlled ever-inflexible, and sometimes deadly diseases such as measles, tetanus, cough, diphtheria, polio, rubella or mumps, reducing the arguments of anti-vaccines .
But the disappearance of these diseases in some developed countries caused the same abandonment of vaccination campaigns with negative results, as happened in Sweden, where 60% of children had a cough between 1979 and 1996, a period in which the authorities decided to interrupted children inoculate against her.
Skepticism was revived in 1998 after an article by British doctor Andrew Wakefield published in the Lancet magazine, which established a link between autism and MMR vaccine (measles-mumps-rubella).
The same publication rejected the article to be considered false, but did not do it until 2011, and Wakefield's ideas – that left the United Kingdom to live in the United States, where their ideas had more support – are sometimes saved by politicians and users of social networks.
The figures provided by the WHO that talk about 40 million lives saved by measles, or 16 million people free of paralysis created by polio, do not convince skeptics of all political signs, from freedomists who believe in the right not to be vaccinated by leftists who believe that inoculations are just a big business of pharmaceutical giants.