Chat with GP, get the jabDoctors dismiss claims over program and disease

By NADINE FISHER

DISCUSS vaccination with your local general practitioner, is the message from Tweed Valley Division of General Practice immunisation program manager Doug Warne.

Speaking in response to an ABC Four Corners program screened on Monday regarding measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine, Dr Warne said there was no scientific evidence to support a link between vaccination and autism or in- flammatory bowel disease.

"The possible link between MMR and autism was first raised in a study by Dr Andrew Wakefield that was published in the medical journal The Lancet in 1988," Dr Warne said.

"The journal has since issued a statement stating they regretted publishing the study due to scientific flaws."

Dr Warne said there had been dozens of studies done since then in many different countries that had not found any link between MMR vaccine and autism.

"Autism is a spectrum of disorders where children lack social engagement, have trouble with language and lack imagination. It is very distressing that autism has been on the rise in recent years, but this increase has not coincided with the introduction of the MMR vaccine and many factors could be responsible for this increase."

Dr Warne said it was particularly concerning that parents may not vaccinate their children with the belief that measles, mumps and rubella were mild childhood diseases.

"Worldwide, measles is still a major cause of death, in 1988 there were a staggering 888,000 deaths to measles," he said.

"Rubella infection is particularly dangerous to pregnant women and can have devastating effects on unborn babies. Unvaccinated children can easily spread the infection in the community.

"Mumps can be a particularly nasty problem in men - one in every five infections results in an inflammation of the testes which can lead to infertility. Mumps in children is also a problem, with one in every 200 cases contracting encephalitis, a serious brain disorder."



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