May. 28th, 2009

crankynick: (Default)
There's an awesome post over at Orac looking the impact of not vaccinating kids in a discrete population in the US.

The shorter version? Failing to vaccinate doesn't just risk your own kids from exposure to disease, but it helps disease (whooping cough, in this case) rates go up even in the vaccinated population.

virtually all the risk of pertussis [whooping cough] in the vaccine refusers came from being unvaccinated, and 11% of the pertussis cases in the total population can be attributed to vaccine refusal. One can only predict that that 11% figure will increase if vaccine refusal increases, thanks to the misguided and profoundly harmful campaign being waged by Generation Rescue, Jenny McCarthy, and other antivaccine activists...

That last figure is the important one - the 11% in the general population. Vaccine protection isn't perfect, and it fades over time. To the point where a health nurse early in the piece describes whooping couch as an "endemic" problem in Boulder.

Great post on a fascinating and important study.

And followed up by a similarly excellent post talking about science and health education - particularly as it applies to assessing comparative risk, which people are notoriously awful at doing.
crankynick: (Default)
From Hebraic Literature; Translations from the Talmud, Midrashim and Kabbala (Tudor Publishing Co. New York 1943 @ Gutenberg).

Once a Gentile came to Shamai, and said, "Proselytize me, but on condition that thou teach me the whole law, even the whole of it, while I stand upon one leg."

Shamai drove him off with the builder's rod which he held in his hand.

When he came to Hillel with the same challenge, Hillel converted him by answering him on the spot "That which is hateful to thyself, do not do to thy neighbor. This is the whole law, and the rest is its commentary."

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