The young mother started getting advice early on from friends in the close-knit Somali immigrant community here. Don't let your children get the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella -- it causes autism, they said.Suaado Salah listened. And this spring, her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles in Minnesota's largest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease in nearly three decades. Her daughter, who had a rash, high fever and a cough, was hospitalized for four nights and needed intravenous fluids and oxygen. ...Last month, with immunization rates having plummeted, the first cases of measles appeared. In just weeks, there was a full-blown outbreak, one of the starkest consequences of an intensifying anti-vaccine movement in the United States and around the world that has gained traction in part by targeting specific communities.
her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles
"I don't feel responsible at all." - Andrew Wakefield
In 2008, there was a news article -- based on people's perception and observation -- that a disproportionate number of Somali children were taking advantage of special education services in the Minneapolis public school system. Once that news piece was done, word got out that there appeared to be a disproportionate number of Somalis with autism [which is not true]. And that was the opening point.Right from the very first meeting that the Department of Health and some community members coordinated, the anti-vaccine folks were there [through public lectures and outreach]. They have been actively working in the community. Andrew Wakefield, the discredited British doctor [who falsified data suggesting vaccines cause autism], has met with the community on at least two occasions.