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Voting closed: 24/02/2010 00:26:45
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The GMC ruled that Wakefield "failed in his duties as a responsible consultant", acted against the interests of his patients, and "dishonestly and irresponsibly" in his controversial research.
In 1998 there were 56 confirmed cases of measles in the UK; in 2006 there were 449 in the first five months of the year, with the first death since 1992. Cases occurred in inadequately vaccinated children. The age group affected was too old to have received the routine MMR immunizations around the time the paper by Wakefield et al. was published, and too young to have contracted the natural disease as a child, and thus to achieve a herd immunity effect. With the decline in infection that followed the introduction of the MMR vaccine, these individuals had not been exposed to the disease, but still had no immunity, either natural or vaccine induced. Therefore, as immunization rates declined following the controversy and the disease re-emerged, they were susceptible to infection. Measles cases continued in 2006, at incidence rates 13 times greater than 1998 levels. Two children were severely and permanently injured by measles encephalitis despite undergoing kidney transplantation in London.Disease outbreaks also caused casualties in nearby countries. 1,500 cases and three deaths were reported in the Irish outbreak of 2000, which occurred as a direct result of decreased vaccination rates following the MMR scare.In 2008, for the first time in 14 years, measles was declared endemic in the UK, meaning that the disease was sustained within the population. This was caused by the preceding decade's low MMR vaccination rates, which created a population of susceptible children who could spread the disease. In May 2008, a British 17-year-old with an underlying immunodeficiency died of measles.