Sometimes one WTF? is not nearly enough

WTF? WTF? WTF? !!!!1!!!!1!!!!

This is a very depressing example of a journalist being entirely taken in by an anti-vaccination crank, Dr. Mayer Eisenstein, spruiking his snake-oil at the U.S. Autism & Asperger Association’s regional conference on Saturday in Cherry Hill, Jersey.

Among the diseases that have virtually disappeared are measles, scarlet fever, tuberculosis and whooping cough and vaccines are not available to prevent any of them, Eisenstein said.

I say again, WTF? WTF? WTF?

Some Google results:
Measles vaccine
Tuberculosis vaccine
Whooping cough vaccine

The case of Scarlet Fever is a little more complicated – there was a vaccine in the early 20th century, but its use was discontinued once antibiotics were available to treat the infection, apparently that particular vaccine did have some nasty side-effects and the alternative of isolation and antibiotics was deemed more effective in containing infection as well as treating the condition. But I still found that out in just a few minutes of googling – why couldn’t Lavinia DeCastro do as much?

P.S. if you’re about to argue that autism is due to vaccines, please don’t. Go and do some reading instead.

Categories: medicine, skepticism

Tags: , ,

18 replies

  1. Wow, that is multiple wtf worthy! Sigh. I wish, as a parent of a child on the autistic spectrum that people would stop looking for the ‘evil’ to ‘blame’ for my son being a child made of awesome.

  2. The fact that the Dr claims there are no vaccines should have marked them as a quack right there and then. If it looks like a duck and talks like a quack… I think this is worthy of a FFS.
    @ FP – apparently your son doesn’t get enough sunlight. Just think, he could have been cured of his awesomeness years ago. For some reason it’s not working for my child. Must the the hat they make him wear at school. Or I don’t believe enough. Or I’m a bad mother, cause other mothers have found that this helps.

  3. Why does he think those diseases have virtually disappeared, then?

  4. No vaccines for those things huh? Wonder what I’m taking my daughter to be injected with on Wednesday then? (Actually, that could be chicken pox, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story.)
    Surely a statement so mindnumbingly stupid should strip that Dr right off the front of his name?
    Apparently (according my usually reliable GP) the incidence of scarlet fever has risen slightly as a result of people actually getting the “don’t use antibiotics unless you need to” message. The only problem this has presented is reminding GPs to consider it in their diagnosis.

  5. The John Marshall Law School is a non-accredited school in Atlanta. FWIW.
    Aside from being wrong about the vaccines above, I’ll note that he didn’t mention smallpox or polio.

  6. FP – Also as a parent of child with Autism I’d second your thoughts. He’s made ‘being different’ cool all over again.

  7. Whu?
    (I’m so speechless I can’t manage a full WTF?!)

  8. And clearly Eisenstein has no conflict of interest at all, no, none worth disclosing or anything. If you don’t want to click the link, here’s a screenshot:

  9. Oh dear god no – a REAL snake oil salesman!

  10. I was out last night so couldn’t have watched it anyway, but I missed that there was a TV debate about vaccinations on Ch.7 last night, moderated by Mike Munro, that is covered over at ScepticsBook. Did anyone here catch it?

  11. When I get my flu jab this week I’m going to dedicate it to him.

  12. @tigtog
    You can watch the debate here if you think you can stomach it.
    Although the head of the anti-vax lobby did get a smack down several times from Mike Munro, the fact that these people get air time at all, is damaging enough in my opinion. They have since been all over my blogs with the usual misinformation, including winning vaccine-injured court cases, the old autism/vaccines nut and the usual conspiracy theories BS.
    Plus they were audibly heard to say during the recording, within ear shot of Dave McCaffery, “it was only one baby”. I have since heard this from them again. Despicable.

  13. “It was only one baby”?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
    I do not get these people.
    (And plus: the bad stuff that can happen is not only when children die, but also when you get a lot of people getting very sick for extended periods – I mean, that’s not good, right?)
    I’m with you, Rachael – it’s a bit shocking that anti-vax people get airtime. It makes them look like they have a valid viewpoint.
    I think Ben Goldacre has made this point wrt climate science debates – that presenting a “balanced” view does not mean giving all sides equal time, because some sides are more objectively wrong than others.

  14. Chicken pox vaccine? don’t you just go on playdates and rub the kids together?

  15. @Helen
    Chicken pox is nearly always no big deal in little kids, but every now and then it is devastating (I read a Sydney’s child interview with a mother who lost an 8 year old to chicken pox) and it can reappear as shingles later in life, when it is hard to treat and very painful.
    It is more about removing its threat to susceptible people than preventing the routine disease.

  16. There is a notice up at my Drs saying that there is a whooping cough epidemic in NSW and anyone regularly caring for a child under 12 months, new parents and people planning on falling pregnant should be re-immunised. Strange how this epidemic doesn’t get the same coverage as swine flu though.

  17. Great program from the ABC Radio National Health Report on the latest research into Genes associated with autism. You can listen online, download the audio or read the transcript.
    Some interesting points about melatonin.

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