A number of professional hockey players have come down with the mumps. Can you believe that? I thought mumps was a disease kids got. In the 1960s. That much is true. Before the introduction of the MMR vaccine, there were 34000 cases a year in Canada. After, that dropped to as few as 80 a year.
Mumps is unpleasant but can have more serious results for some people. Sterility, deafness, death — yup, the mumps can deliver all that.
There are a number of reasons why these guys may have got the mumps — quite apart from sharing water bottles and other purely hygienic reasons. They could have had the bad luck to be among that group of people for whom the vaccine isn’t effective. Vaccines don’t make everyone immune but increase the herd immunity so that the risk of exposure drops tremendously.
However, it is just as likely that they were not vaccinated or that they came into contact with someone who wasn’t. The ground zero of the current outbreak is believed to be Anaheim California, so it is possible that there were sufficient anti-vaxers in that part of the country.
Ah, the anti-vaxers led by Jenny McCarthy — not a doctor, hell, barely even an actor — who is convinced based on a fraudulent and debunked English study — done by a doctor to make money not protect patients — that vaccines cause autism. Simply not true. Not in the least. We don’t know exactly what does — though increasing evidence suggests genetic roots — but it isn’t vaccines.
The anti-vaccine movement is to the liberal side of the spectrum what climate change denial is to the right. Anti-science to say the least but also rooted deeply in the anti-rational view that if it feels right it must be right (and, for god sake’s, I can’t be to blame). Along with anti-GMO, another non-fact based movement — and several other fads propagated by the anti-progressive left, it forms the heart of the Coffee Party movement in America.
It’s hard to say why these views are so hard to eradicate — it would be easier to eradicate polio than dumb thinking about polio — but I guess it is another by-product of a brain, capable of much but still constrained by evolutionary constructs designed to keep us safe from the tiger in the bushes.
Maybe we should use the law to get them to change their views. For example, maybe we need to examine the licenses of those homeopathic practitioners in Toronto and BC who were caught warning patients about the risk of vaccinating their kids. Defrock them or whatever it is you do with those types of licensed quacks.
Or maybe those hockey players should sue their parents or the parents of the kids who infected them. They have lots of money to spend on lawyers. And if the parents wind up living in cardboard boxes eating dog food… well, it will give Robert Kennedy Jr. (who, by the way, is no Jack Kennedy) a new cause to spend his breath on.
But that’s ten minutes.