New Internationalist

Curiosities

Issue 271

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Curiosities
Questions that have always intrigued you about the world will appear in this, your section,
and be answered by other readers. Please address your answers and questions to ‘Curiosities’.

What evidence is there that children vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella at
an early age will enjoy lasting immunity? What is the risk of their developing these
diseases in later life, when they can be more serious?

According to Dr Robert Mendelson: ‘The risks associated with measles vaccine are unacceptable, even if there were convincing evidence that the vaccine works. There is not. In 1900 there were 13.3 measles deaths per 100,000 population (US figures). By 1955 – before the first measles vaccination – the death rate had already declined by 97.7 per cent to only 0.03 deaths per 100,000 of population.’

A disturbing feature of measles, mumps and rubella vaccination is the shift to older age groups who are more susceptible to complications. Not only have measles cases frequently been higher in years following the introduction of vaccination, but also more adults are contracting measles (Journal of American Medicine, 1976). In the pre-vaccine era 90 per cent of all measles patients were aged five to nine years; after the vaccine was introduced 55-64 per cent were over ten.

One study found evidence of a relationship between lack of rash in measles and increased evidence of degenerative and auto-immune diseases (Lancet, 5 Jan 1995). There have been several reports of the link between arthritis and rubella vaccine in medical literature.

In ‘Third World’ countries, malnutrition-complicated measles kills around two million children a year. In the 1987 study (British Medical Journal No. 294) measles mortality in a Tanzanian hospital was halved by prescribing Vitamin A supplements.

Vaccination is another example of unproved but profitable technology foisted on an uninformed population. It avoids the real issues of injustice and malnutrition.

Further information is available from Vaccine Information, PO Box 43, Hull HU1 1AA, England (please include stamps or small donation).

Patrick Holdsworth
Hull, England

When visiting England last year I found the population debate was all about ‘enabling women in the Third World’ to have fewer children. I find England over-populated. What’s to be done about it?

The latest proposed strategies include:

  • Moving all people over retirement age to the greener and more spacious land of Aotearoa/ New Zealand.

  • Limiting the permitted number of children to 0.7 per couple (it is as yet unclear which 30 per cent of the child will not be permitted).

  • Levelling the Pennines to provide more land to stretch out in and raw material which can be used to fill in those awkward wriggly bits around the coastline.

D Phillips
Leeds, England

awaiting your answers

How would the introduction of a single European currency affect countries of the South?

Isabel Milner
London, England

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Cartoon by POLYP [image, unknown]
Cartoon by POLYP [image, unknown]

Given that the profit from slave labour in today’s terms is a staggering $187,500 million, is there any legal precedence for this money to be repaid as a legacy to the living descendants of such slaves?

Lloyd Jeffers
Worthing, England

Does anyone know what happened to the proposal by an African scientist (I’m afraid I do not recall his name) to provide refugee camps in Zaire with efficient small ovens that could be mass-produced from scrap metal in a nearby town, thus reducing the burning of wood by a huge percentage?

Daphne Morgan
Southampton, England

What are the benefits or disadvantages of adding fluoride to tap water?

CE Clarke
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Are there any cultures in the world where there is never any reason to exchange gifts?

James Phillips
Wigston, England

If you have any questions or answers please send them to Curiosities, New Internationalist, 55 Rectory Road, Oxford OX4 1BW, UK, or to your local NI office (see inside front cover for addresses).

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS SECTION ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE OF NI.

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©Copyright: New Internationalist 1995


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