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Vaccine Roundup

September 16, 2011

Misinformation about vaccine safety may be contributing to a surge in measles infections.



Measles makes a comeback. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.


Even though measles is easily prevented by an inexpensive vaccine, it’s the fourth biggest killer of children worldwide. And according to a report in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the disease is making a comeback: this year, cases in the United States have already reached a fifteen-year high. One reason is fears that the measles vaccine causes autism, based on a 1998 study later found to be fraudulent. Still, the fears persist and the Mayo Clinic report states that more efforts are needed to end the threat of this dangerous disease.


In other vaccine news, rotavirus infection causes severe diarrhea in infants. A new study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases reports that vaccinating the youngest against the disease also reduces hospitalizations among older children and adults, possibly because keeping the youngest children disease-free protects the siblings, parents and childcare providers who otherwise would have gotten sick. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.