Medical Update: UK Journal Retracts Flawed Vaccine Study

Stopping current outbreak of mumps is balanced, in the public mind, against fears of the vaccine. Dr. Rabin sets the record straight.
By Douglas S. Rabin, MD
First Publish: 2/7/2010, 5:37 PM / Last Update: 2/7/2010, 5:25 PM

The research paper that triggered claims linking autism to the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was formally retracted by the Lancet, the medical journal that published it more than a decade ago.

Following a ruling last week by the General Medical Council in England that Dr Andrew Wakefield had breached his professional duties, the Lancet said in a statement on its website that he had made false claims in his 1998 paper and concluded: “We fully retract this paper from the published record.” So we now have no real evidence that the Mumps Measles and Rubella vaccine is unsafe.

Mumps are important because we are seeing a continuing outbreak in the United States and in Israel. The latest reported
We now have no real evidence that the Mumps Measles and Rubella vaccine is unsafe.
data show 1521 cases in New York and New Jersey centered in the Orthodox communities of Lakewood, NJ, Monsey, NY, and Brooklyn NY of which 1136 are in men. The rate of reproductive involvement has been from 5 to 16% of men. At least 173 cases of mumps have been reported in Israel and 75% involve men.

Mumps is a contagious viral disease that often results in painful swelling of the parotid gland (at the jaw) making the cheeks look swollen and puffy. The virus is spread from individuals by direct contact, airborne droplets, saliva and possibly by urine. About 30%-40% of patients with mumps do not develop this swelling so it may know right away tat they have contracted the virus. Mumps in men and rarely in women (one case reported in US) also can affect one reproductive organ, called orchitis, in up to 70% of cases and both in up to 30% of cases. This usually occurs 1 to 9 days after an initial infection and can lead to impaired fertility in 7 to 13% of men. Sterility is rare BUT CAN OCCUR in cases of a single organ involved but is more common when both are involved. Occasionally swelling caused by fluid collection in Orchitis will need surgical drainage to relieve pressure.

The diagnosis of Mumps is made by testing blood for antibodies or by a virus culture. Acute antibody development (IgM) and a fourfold increase in long-term protective antibodies (IgG) are diagnostic for infection. If you do not know whether you have immunity it only takes a single blood test to find out and immunization can be done or repeated. This is critical in male children and young adults of reproductive age at risk for Orchitis.

There is no specific treatment for mumps other than supportive care, rest and fluids with proper anti-inflammatory medications. Immunization against mumps virus is effective, safe and the mainstay of preventing mumps and its consequences.

There is at least a 12% chance that two prior mumps vaccinations will wear off and leave a person unprotected to mumps infection even after two immunizations, i.e., a primary shot and a booster. After only single immunization the risk of mumps is at least 36%.

There are NO DATA to support claims that vaccinations are unsafe and should be avoided. Quite to the contrary, they SAFELY provide protection that is critical to school age children. Mumps, Measles and Rubella vaccines have repeatedly been demonstrated as safe and the risks of any side effects are far outweighed by the risk of mumps orchitis and rubella
After only single immunization the risk of mumps is at least 36%.
infection in pregnancy.

In my own clinical experience treating previously vaccinated Kallahs (brides), I see 3 to 4 % without immunity who are at risk for infection, and who need booster injections. I am seeing this both for mumps and for measles and also am now checking for Chicken pox where I also find lack of immunization. These data demonstrate the need to screen children who might be at risk for exposure and are critical proof that vaccination can make a difference in child and infant health.

(The writer has over 25 years experience in Women’s Health Care and general medicine, including clinical reproductive endocrinological, obstetrics and gynecology, research and consultation to the pharmaceutical and related industries. Currently consulting and managing IVF practice. He asked us to publish this article as a public service)