Science Denying Anti Vaxxers Spreading Misinformation About Measles Again

As outbreaks of measles spread throughout the world, anti-vaccine activists aren’t just urging people not to get vaccinated — they’re taking a page from a well-worn playbook, falsely downplaying the dangers from the highly contagious respiratory disease. 

“The truth is, measles is not a super severe serious illness when you’re a child,” Mary Holland, president of the country’s best-funded anti-vaccine organization, Children’s Health Defense, said last week on the group’s online morning show. Children’s Health Defense was founded by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who took a leave from the organization in April to run for president. 

Holland, a lawyer, called government responses to recent outbreaks “fearmongering” and “crying wolf.” 

“It’s a couple days of spots and then you move on,” she said.

Measles — a disease so contagious it acts as a bellwether for threats from other infectious diseases — is marked by fever, flu-like symptoms and an itchy rash, and sometimes comes with dire complications including pneumonia, seizures and brain damage. For every 1,000 cases of  measles, about 200 children may be hospitalized, 50 may get pneumonia, one child may develop brain swelling along with deafness or disability, and between one and three may die. 

But national health agencies warn the fear of measles is well-founded. 

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