By Erin K. Costello
In a new Facebook post by Kate Teitje, aka Modern Alternative Mama (MAM), Kate reveals she is starting a new series which aims to dispel fears and myths surrounding many vaccine preventable diseases (VPD). The first of this series appears to be mumps. Keeping with usual Kate fashion, she gets much of it wrong or omits important facts in attempts to support her narrative rather than the facts. We briefly cover this below.
Kate goes to say,
"Up to 30% of cases were asymptomatic"
Here are the facts!
There were about 186,000 cases reported a year before the vaccine in 1967.
Pre-vaccination rates show about 15% to 27% were asymptomatic.
(About 27,900 to 50,220 of the REPORTED 186,000).
Kate then discusses the complications from mumps:
"...swelling would occur in the parotid gland in up to 70% of people......Bilateral deafness was almost unheard of...unilateral deafness occurred in 1 of 20,000 cases.....Swelling of the testes or ovaries does occur in children......aseptic meningitis is also rare....."
Here are the facts!
* 31% to 65% experienced classic parotitis (inflammation of the parotid gland).
(About 57,660 to 120,900 of the REPORTED cases).
* Before the vaccine orchitis (testicular inflammation) occurred in about 12% to 66% of postpubertal males infected with mumps.
* In the prevaccine era, mumps accounted for approximately 10% of cases of symptomatic aseptic meningitis (inflammatory cells in cerebrospinal fluid resulting in headache or stiff neck). Men were afflicted three times as often as women. Aseptic meningitis resolves without sequelae in 3 to 10 days. Mumps encephalitis accounted for 36% of all reported encephalitis cases in the United States in 1967.
* About 3.5% of reported mumps cases before the vaccine experienced pancreatitis.
(About 6,510 of the REPORTED cases.)
* In the pre-vaccine era, mumps caused transient deafness in 4.1% of infected adult males in a military population. Permanent unilateral deafness caused by mumps occurred in 1 of 20,000 infected persons; bilateral, severe hearing loss was very rare.
Kate then points out that the vaccine protection appears to wane after about 27 years. This may be true, however, in the post vaccine era, among all persons infected with mumps, reported rates of meningitis, encephalitis, pancreatitis, and deafness have all been less than 1%. These rates suggest that even with waning vaccination effects, being vaccinated will at least decrease the risks of severe complications due to mumps.
Lastly, Kate discusses side effects from the MMR by stating,
"This does not cover the side effects of the MMR, which are very poorly documented or studied. We do know that there is DNA contamination in the vaccine, and we do not know the true long-term risks of introducing foreign DNA."
Here are the facts!
For the sake of argument let's say there is foreign DNA contamination with the MMR vaccine (there isn't.) Certain vaccinations (like the MMR) have been cultured in human cells since the cell lines were first developed. One such line is known as WI-38. WI-38 was developed in the 1960s using lung cells from an aborted fetus, a fetus that was terminated due to complications that occurred when the pregnant mother was infected with Rubella. Over 90% of Americans have received the MMR vaccination(s) since 1971, when the 3 in 1 vaccine first became available. That means since 1971 over 90% of Americans have been injected with “foreign DNA.” I think we know by now that this ridiculous talking point MAM tries to push is without substance since we are all results that this alleged “foreign DNA” has zero effect on us. 1971 to 2019 is 48 years. How much more “long term” proof does MAM need?
As for other MMR risks, MMR vaccine has been linked with a very small risk of febrile seizures (seizures or jerking caused by fever). Febrile seizures following MMR are rare and are not associated with any long-term effects. Because the risk of febrile seizures increases as infants get older, it is recommended that they get vaccinated as soon as recommended.
Some people may experience swelling in the cheeks or neck. MMR vaccine rarely causes a temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder that usually goes away without treatment and is not life threatening.
Extremely rarely, a person may have a serious allergic reaction to MMR vaccine. Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of MMR vaccine, should not get the vaccine.
It is important to point out that the source MAM provides to support her foreign DNA argument was authored by religious extremists. You can read about the authors, Deisher TA, Doan NV, Koyama K, and Bwabye S, from Respectful Insolence and Liz Ditz.
Kate's other pubmed sources cover India, Korea, and one college outbreak in the US. All three of them conclude that vaccination is the best prevention method available and is still recommended. In the instance of the college outbreak where waning appears to have occurred, it was recommended to receive a booster vaccination, after which new cases of mumps dropped by 75%.
As usual, I hope anyone who reads this blog post, and especially Kate's Facebook post, does not use either post to help them determine whether they should choose to vaccinate themselves or a loved one. Internet and social media posts should help you realize one thing, and that is you should always discuss any health care decision with your physician. Your physician busted their ass in school for about 15 years to earn the right to be qualified to advise you on such matters. Why would you sell yourself or your child short by settling for someone like MAM, who can't even sacrifice a few hours to earn a certificate in herbs, to advise you on important health and medicine matters? You and your loved ones are worthy of the expert. Don't refuse the educated counsel in favor of ramblings by the village idiot. You deserve the very best, not the very incompetent.
What's The Harm?