The Lilac Pilgrim – Yet Another Blog

Archive for June 2008

As a sister of a girl with Asperger’s Syndrome, I’ve always been rather interested in the Autism debate, but I’m always so disappointed when those rallying to lose vaccines turn around and tell people that their beliefs are wrong; closing their eyes and ears in order to scream bloody murder louder than before.

I want to take a moment as an aspiring scientist, an immunologist and microbiologist, to remind people of why vaccines are so important, and to try and ease some of these disagreements.

First off, the all-important tetanus vaccine. Following are some arguments commonly used to “prove” that we no longer need this vaccine:
> We have better hygiene; we will never get this disease.
  ¬ We as a civilisation may well have better hygiene, but the dirt outside doesn’t. When you get cut and the wound is sustained outside, you have the chance of developing this disease. Remember, clostridium tetani, the pathogen causing the disease, grows well in dirt outside. Okay you could take your chances running back home to clean the wound, but if the organism has already made you its home, you could end up with this deadly disease.

> This vaccine puts some of the poison into you. That cannot be safe.
   ¬ Of course it puts some of the poison into you – think of it as desensitising. The body knows there’s an invading… something, and begins fighting for your life. Once it has built up a recognition of the “signatures” (proteins, toxins…), the response will be quick and efficient toprevent full-blown paralysing, gut-wrenching, spine tearing tetanus.

The influenza innoculations:
> I got this jab but still got the ‘flu! Now I know you’re lying!
   ¬Now, before you go calling your lawyers, you should know that there are several different ‘flu types, and the yearly immunisation is only for the most prevalent strains.
     Not only that, but the point of immunisation is to help your body recognise these dangerous diseases, so that if you ever come across them, the infection won’t be full blown and probably fatal.

The rabies vaccine:
> I’ll never come across a rabid animal; that’s what Animal Control/quarantine/euthanasia is for!
   ¬ You might think so, but (especially if you live in the Americas) there’s always a chance that you may come across a rabid animal. Rabies is not only transmitted through a bite, though – if a rabid animal gets fluid in your eye or in a wound (through licking, for example), you’re in danger of developing the disease.

> I’ll just wash the wound extra carefully.
   ¬ Believe it or not, people think that this will prevent infection. Remember Jeanna Giese? She did just that and almost died of non-classical rabies. She did miraculously pull through, but the method that saved her life hasn’t worked since. Rabies is almost 100% fatal without PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis).

And that’s just a few of the diseases!

At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to the individual, but if your child lives in an area which tetanus is prevalent (farm land areas are usually rife with clostridium tetani) or rabies is an everyday occurrence (remember that skunks harbour all kinds of diseases, including rabies), perhaps it would be in your best interest to get these immunisations.
Which would you rather? A physically healthy child who can still run around and play, or a child convulsing and thrashing in a hospital bed, unable to eat, sleep or breathe, wracked with pain from the paralysis?
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Since no man can possibly write about news AFTER his death (although, there was the rather dubious posthumous Alexander Litvinenko post in the papers not long after HIS death), I can only assume that Mr Nekrasov’s latest post on www.robertamsterdam.com means that the director is indeed alive and well.

In his post, Mr Nekrasov writes about Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case (which opened May 23rd in London… sadly I’m a Scottish student and was unable to attend) and of his beloved Russia.

I like reading Mr Nekrasov’s writing; it is obviously the writing of someone who dies a little inside as his country, his motherland, grows that bit more corrupt. Bear with me as I write this; it sounds like I’m being cruel.

But passionate people are those who make the world that little bit more bearable. Passionate people are those I can relate to and hold close to my heart. I am not passionate about my own country – I am proud of my heritage, of course. The reason I am not passionate about my own country or the United Kingdom in which it is situated is this; we are all corrupt. We have allowed ourselves to become increasingly American, not to mention greedy and ignorant. Religious holidays lose their meaning (of course, who doesn’t like a Christmas dinner where the meaning is “togetherness”?) and kids are more determined to destroy museums rather than appreciate them.

I am embarrassed to live in a country whose football fans cannot control themselves after a loss (you know who I’m talking about), even more so to live in a place in which the intelligent and passionate, the creative minds, are thought of as less than the sportsmen or the idiot with a gun.

I admit I look up to Mr Nekrasov. He deserves recognition for his outspokenness, a bravery which, ultimately, could spell his demise.

All of us who are outspoken could be killed for believing what we believe. From the extreme such as Alexander Litvinenko to the ordinary tragedy such as Sophie Lancaster, the Goth girl who was murdered for simply dressing differently.

The world we live in sucks, but people who stand up for what they believe in nonetheless make it better. (Of course, it tends to depends on what they believe in/are passionate about!)

Read Mr Nekrasov’s latest writing here: http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2008/05/andrei_nekrasov_a_letter_from.htm



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  • HoistTheColours: Dear author, I full-heartedly and absolutely agree with your above statements. I just thought I would let you know, since I don't quite understand w
  • richclark: I covered this in my blog too. Found your post on one of Wordpress' random (associated posts). Has Ask really made the impact it needed to from
  • The Lilac Pilgrim: I couldn't go anywhere without someone mentioning it. It was incredibly obvious and yet people were still arguing about it. Absolutely ridiculous.