The English Sun tabloid has a short piece on the rise of measles cases in the UK, which is a masterpiece in media accuracy, or rather, lack thereof.
It starts with the picture used:
which is indeed a "spotty" child, however, this child clearly has chicken pox, not the measles.
The teaser is more of a political statement than a summary (also reflected in the link text http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/woman/health/health/Well, no, actually, the measles numbers reported here by the Health Protection Agency are for the period of January to end of June 2012. The Olympic Games didn't start until the 27th of July and visitors have nothing to do with the rise in measles cases. The Sun goes on:
The number of measles cases here in Britain has almost doubled after a surge of visitors arriving for the Olympics and Paralympics.
Tourists from other countries, including the United States, have been warned to have a vaccination before arriving in the country to avoid creating an epidemic in other parts of the world.
Yes, spot on - the UK might export the measles, and has not imported them through Olympic athletes or spectators. Why didn't you write that in the teaser or link?
The subsequent image is titled "Failure... parents have neglected to vaccinate their kids"
Holy cow - if the MMR came in such a huge syringe with such a big fat needle, I would have hesitated too. In fact, only about 1/6th of what is shown in that image (0.5ml instead of the visible 3ml) are injected. That is about 1/10th of a teaspoon full of fluid.
The Sun is reasonably good about describing the symptoms of measles, however they are, unfortunately, wrong about this:
The last UK death was a two-year-old child in 1992.
The last UK death was a 13 year old boy in 2006.
The Sun is also overly optimistic when it comes to treatment options for the measles. While
will be true for the milder cases, this:Children may be treated at home with pain and fever-reducing syrups such as paracetamol and they need plenty of fluids.
Hospital treatments, with antiviral drugs, may be needed in more serious cases.
is actually not possible. A recent publication on measles control states very unambiguously:
Currently, no therapeutics for the treatment of measles are available.
so that hospital treatment for serious cases means ventilation for respiratory distress, antibiotics against opportunistic bacterial infections and general life support in the case of encephalitis/coma.
At least they get the last bit right:
It is a bit disappointing to see perfectly correct recommendations follow a piece riddled with errors. Hopefully, the inaccurate ideas about imported measles and treatment options for complications won't stick, while immunisation recommendations will.What can I do prevent it? UK kids are offered vaccination against measles as part of the MMR vaccine, which is given to them between 12 and 15 months of age.They then have a booster before they start school, between the ages of three and five.Is the vaccine safe? Yes. The original paper suggesting a link between MMR and autism was discredited and its author had his licence to practise as a doctor removed.Since his flawed publication, there has been lots of scientific evidence to prove that MMR does not cause autism.