Search This Blog

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Islands Of Plague

There is a news item today saying four Whidby Island Little League teams are having to forfeit their seasons because of an outbreak of Whooping Cough (pertussis). Pertussis? You may well say. Isn't that a nineteenth century disease that was virtually wiped out by vaccines? While Whidby is a large Island in the Sound, it is still and island and suffers from problems and advantages of island living. Island cultures are by nature are insular and somewhat isolated. The anti-vaccinationism movement has taken strong root on the islands of The Puget Sound with their unsupportable linking of vaccines with autism. Panic is an ugly thing, and it doesn't get much uglier than brainwashing parents into withholding proven disease preventatives  with fear of retardation. Human animals used to die out in great numbers due to contagious disease, and with the coming of prophylactic vaccination these diseases became very rare in the developed world. Without the threat of imminent death, and the existence of worrying, untreatable conditions like autism, some peddlers of woo have come to link vaccines with the condition. The woo became a movement, and took root in suburban white neighborhoods. Islands are their own echo chambers and amplify both the good and bad. 

Both Whidby and Vashon Islands have a large anti vaccinationism contingent among the (mostly female) parents of pre-school children. Vaccinations rates have plummeted and predictable diseases have come back to kill. Perhaps as islands they will serve as cautionary tales of disaster in quarantined anti-vaccinationist enclave. It's too damn bad children have to suffer so their parents' appetite for woo can be met.

No comments: