Ten measles cases since the start of 2012 has hit St. Helens, a town in the northwest English county of Merseyside, making it the most widespread measles outbreak in the area since the 1980s. There have been 301 confirmed cases, along with 148 probable cases, of measles in Merseyside since the beginning of 2012.
This has been the largest outbreak of measles in the North West since the introduction of MMR vaccine 24 years ago and it has demonstrated just why this vaccine is so important in protecting the public health. Parents of young children clearly value the protection, security and peace of mind that the MMR vaccine affords, but there remains a pool of older children, teenagers and young adults who are not vaccinated and remain vulnerable to measles, mumps and German measles. Our message to older teenagers and young adults is that if you were not vaccinated as children, it’s not too late. You should speak to your family doctor about the MMR vaccine because, without its protection, you will remain vulnerable to three potentially very serious diseases.
As reported earlier, Merseyside, a city in northwest England, is experiencing a significant measles out break. The number of confirmed cases in Merseyside has exceeded 300, making it the largest measles outbreak in the that part of England since 1988.
The United States has been a battleground this year in several states as right wing fundamentalists try to push antievolution legislation that would force children to be taught that evolution is controversial, or that creationism is scientifically equivalent to evolution. In most cases (except for Tennessee) these laws were pushed back, even in some fairly conservative states. The problem with education in the USA is that there are 50 states (plus DC) and 16000 school districts, each with full control over the science curriculum. Thus, children in northeastern and Pacific coast states have strong science educations, while other states, especially in the south and midwest, have a nascent antievolution movement. There are some minimal standards across the US for science education, but when you find school boards that think that creationism is a science, or that evolution is a scientific controversy, it’s hard to make certain that children get an well-rounded education in the biological sciences. Continue reading “England wants children to study evolution”
The UK’s Health Protection Agency is reporting an increase in reports of whooping cough (Bordetella pertussis) over what was observed in 2011. There have been 655 cases of whooping cough in England so far in 2012, while there were 1,040 cases in 2011. The cases are all across England, but with clusters in schools and universities.
Again, whooping cough is a serious disease for children with complications that include death. Although it can be treated with antibiotics, it can be easily prevented with a vaccine.