Thursday, 12 March 2009

Sensible medical reporting from surprising sources.

I am quite surprised to find myself mildly impressed by the Courier Mail.

Not an improved standard of journalism or decreased tabloidship - we're not that lucky.

They do, however, throw themselves behind awareness-raising and fund-raising for young carers, and now we have measles.

Over the past few years, the anti-vaccination madness which has seen the UK spiralling into an epidemic, and the USA lose its near-eradicated status as US-resident adults and children are hospitalised, has reached Australia. There have always been conscientious objectors, of course, but they haven't really been a problem because with so few of them, there's a herd-immunity effect - they're not likely to meet someone with measles, or rubella, or what have you, so they're not likely to become infected. So they won't get sick.

So they won't realise just what they're missing.

They're learning, however.

There have been recent outbreaks of diseases such as whooping cough and measles in small pockets around Australia, frequently in traditionally "alternative" (read: hippy) communities in otherwise attractive places like the hinterlands of both the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, on either side of Brisbane.

So they're learning what these diseases can do.

Some people, however, already know exactly what having measles means. Laine Bradley contracted measles before the immunisations started, at age 10 months, and was blind and unable to walk until she died at the age of 12.

Her mother, a nurse, spoke to the Courier Mail, who printed the story and who spoke to the Australian Medical Association and who ran a neat, reasonably tightly written piece with decidedly below-par levels of sensationlism.

This is more than I usually expect from that outlet, and I congratulate them.

Link to the Courier Mail article "Laine Bradley's mum joins measles outbreak debate"

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