Sunday, September 1, 2013

Doctrinaire Religious Zealots are Harmful to Children

Imposing Illness and Disease on Others in the Name of Religious Advocacy/Scientific Hokum

Measles used to be the scourge of childhood diseases.  It was serious and it could be deadly.  It can also be eradicated, and in the United States it has.

Associated Press
Twenty-one children and adults affiliated with Eagle Mountain International Church, north of Fort Worth, have contracted measles.

Measles is one of the most preventable of all diseases, with an effective vaccine that has been used in the U.S. since the 1960s. It is now commonly given with mumps and rubella vaccines in a combined "MMR" vaccine.

The U.S. eliminated measles in 2000, meaning homegrown cases of the disease are no longer circulating within the country's borders, and vaccination rates across the country are generally high.

But that’s not good enough for some folks, at least where their children are concerned, and so parents who were unwilling to provide full protection for their children at a church in Texas have caused some of those children to get measles.

Over the past two weeks, 21 children and adults affiliated with Eagle Mountain International Church, 30 miles north of Fort Worth, have contracted the highly contagious disease, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

How come, if the disease no longer is native to the United States?  Oh, this way.

The outbreak was sparked by a visitor to the church who had recently traveled to Asia, where the disease is more prevalent because of low vaccination rates, according to Tarrant County Health Department spokesman Al Roy. The first of the cases were documented the second week in August and linked to the church several days later.

None of the 11 children who got sick had been vaccinated, according to the health department. Like all states, Texas requires children attending school to be vaccinated for measles. Most of the children were home-schooled or in the church's day care, the health department said.

The church's senior pastor, Terri Pearsons, previously had expressed concern to her congregants over what she believed to be a link between autism and the measles vaccination, according to the pastor's statement on the church website.

Now no one should have any concern if adults want to catch measles.  But to inflict this disease upon their children, a disease whose description is this,

Measles is a respiratory disease causing fever, cough and rash. Most people who catch it recover fully. But it can lead to deafness and pneumonia, and, in about one in 1,000 cases, death.

can be called a lot of things.  Religious is not one of them.  Nor are the adjectives decent, caring and concerned in there either.

It should be noted the pastor has since recanted.

At the urging of the county epidemiologist, the church held two vaccination clinics and encouraged its congregants to get vaccinated.

In a message on the church's website, Ms. Pearsons said she wasn't against vaccinations. "I believe it is wrong to be against vaccinations," she wrote. 

and everyone hopes all of the children fully recover.  As for Ms. Pearson, well, if she got measles and was incapacitated in her role as a religious leader, (but otherwise ok, we wish no ill health even to these people who have wantonly exposed their children to a terrible disease) well no one would feel too badly.

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