Saturday, December 11, 2010

Measles - actual - not hypothetical

another Dr. Bob "gem", I am afraid.

A poster on Bob's forum asked:

dr. sears hypothetical question... by - posted on 12/10/2010

my kids are 3 and a half and 1- both boys. we live in ny, and they havent had any vaccines. i would like to eventually travel with them, normal family spots- carribean, europe.... would you vax if you were me, and if so, which would you do? thanks!

Dr. Bob relishes these opportunities - here is his answer:
DR. Bob Answers by Dr. Bob - posted on 12/10/2010

Hypothetically, if I was a doctor answering a forum question pretending to be the person asking the question, my answer would be that I wouldn't do any vaccines just for disease coverage for the type of vacation travel that you, I mean "I", would be doing.

The OP thinks that is a reason to "lol" - I think it is a reason to facepalm. Unvaccinated children travelling out of the US, for example to Europe, are the major source of importation of measles - last demonstrated by the San Diego outbreak.

The index patient was an unvaccinated boy aged 7 years who had visited Switzerland with his family, returning to the United States on January 13, 2008. He had fever and sore throat on January 21, followed by cough, coryza, and conjunctivitis.
During January 31--February 19, a total of 11 additional measles cases in unvaccinated infants and children aged 10 months--9 years were identified. These 11 cases included both of the index patient's siblings (rash onset: February 3), five children in his school (rash onset: January 31--February 17), and four additional children (rash onset: February 6--10) who had been in the pediatrician's office on January 25 at the same time as the index patient. Among these latter four patients, three were infants aged over 12 months. One of the three infants was hospitalized for 2 days for dehydration; another infant traveled by airplane to Hawaii on February 9 while infectious.

Great job, who ever had suggested to the parents of that index case that it was ok to travel to Switzerland (in the middle of an ongoing measles outbreak with more than 3400 cases, 8 encephalitis and a pediatric death) with unvaccinated children.
To suggest, even "hypothetically" that no vaccination was necessary to travel outside the US is highly irresponsible. Parents who leave their children unvaccinated when taking them into the middle of an outbreak potentially make their children murder weapons – we posted the story of the pre-teen who spread measles in a waiting room as a consequence of which two children are now dying a very slow and horrific death.


  1. He kills me! Shot = minor discomfort for child. Measles = POSSIBLE DEATH! have you read this:
    Game. Set. Match.

  2. @ Statgirl, Heh, I hadn't read that but that's by his father, Dr. William Sears. Her thoughts on that book is shared by many.

  3. Interesting - I had not read that essay, it makes some very good points, including

    Dr. Sears has eagerly adopted the natural mother in order to more effectively market the type of parenting that he's singled out as his favorite.

    That is precisely what Bob does with his "alternative" vaccine schedule. It is NOT well researched (in terms of biomedical benefits), it is just "different" for the purpose of selling it to mums who want to be given the feeling that they have done that extra amount of research.


    So the notion that all tribal peoples parent in the same "natural" way is untrue. It's also insulting. It suggests that "they," unlike "us," lack intelligence and initiative; that they act out of animal instinct and do not, as we do, create complex and unique cultures; that they are somehow closer to the apes than we are. As a scholar, I consider this kind of worshipful but patronizing attitude toward indigenous peoples a serious error in the interpretation and analysis of human culture.

    is also spot on. As a life scientist in an extended family of social scientists, this is a fallacy that I often observe and that has irked me since my late teens (reading the ethological work of some of Konrad Lorenz's academic offspring).

  4. Has anybody heard that the San Diego index patient had been seeing Dr. Bob?

  5. Anon - here is the info I have:

    San Diego meales outbreak by San Diego mommy - posted on 3/26/2009

    Someone told my that the child who started the San Diego measles outbreak last year was one of Dr Bob's unvaccinated patients. Is that true? That is so sad for the families affected by the outbreak, especially for the babies that were too young to be protected by the vaccine.

    Ya, she wanted the MMR, but I wouldn't give it to by Dr. Bob - posted on 3/27/2009

    So, it's totally my fault that the outbreak happened.

    No, seriously, I do know who the family is and have interacted with them. I'll leave it at that, since it doesn't actually matter if they were actually my patient or not.

    Sounds a bit like they were his patients, but he has left it vague enough (as usual) not to get nailed on this. I think the mother of the index case posted at ivillage during the outbreak, but ivillage has changed their board formats yet again and I don't know how to retrieve those posts.

  6. Except that the babies that were infected at the pediatrician's office sounded like they were from parents who world vaccinate (like the mother whose child ended up in the hospital, who tells her story in NPR's This American Life). I suspect he knows her socially, but not professionally.

  7. Patient Zero was Dr. Bob's patient. He admitted it to Seth Moonkin, who wrote about it in 'The Panic Virus.' Grab some popcorn.

  8. I wish one of the parents of the babies in the index patient infected would sue Bob. Anyone who so callously and smugly promotes disease should not practise medicine. Waiting for the Panic Virus to come out - I hope UK Amazon does not delay shipping like they did with Paul Offit's latest....

  9. Found it:

    As it turns out, the boy who spread measles is a patient of Dr. Bob Sears..

    Quick blog to follow...

  10. Chris, some of the infants infected were too young to be vaccinated; I'm working off of memory but I believe that was 6 infants.