MMR deaths

SUNDAY EXPRESS 18 June 2006
 
Two babies die days after the MMR jab
 
By Lucy Johnston
HEALTH EDITOR

Two babies have died following the controversial measles, mumps and rubella
jab it emerged last night.

The infants died around 10 days after the inoculation - when the measles
component of the MMR vaccine is at its peak.

The cases follow the withdrawal of the vaccine in Vietnam after the death
of a child. Five others were taken to hospital.  The World Health
Organisation has launched an inquiry into the incidents.

Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, who has taken up one of
the cases has written to health minister Patricia Hewitt and the vaccine
manufacturers to find out whether others have reacted badly to that batch
of the jab.
"Clearly questions need to be asked about whether families are routinely
given notice of all possible side-effects of the jab," he said.
 
"In the rush to reassure the public that MMR is completely safe it is being
overlooked that in some rare cases MMR can be a dangerous thing to
administer."
 
Dr Andrew Wakefield, the controversial gut expert who linked MMR,
inflammatory bowel disease and autism, said,: "Children of this age just
don't die out of the blue.
 
"Given the clinical features and the timing it's entirely plausible that
MMR may be responsible. These cases must be thoroughly investigated."
 
Dr Wakefield has been charged with scientific misconduct by the General
Medical Council in connection with claims, although there has been no
complaint from any parent.
 
Sarah Fisher, a 40-year-old former hairdresser, found her 18-month son
George dead in his cot last January. He had been inoculated 10 days earlier
and had developed a high temperature, spots, and lost his appetite. Sarah,
a mother of four from Cheltenham, said George had had an unexplained
convulsion in her doctor's surgery just four months earlier.
 
The vaccine makers warned doctors and the Government in trial data that a
convulsion could indicate a risk of serious adverse reaction, but Sarah
says she was not warned. "He'd had a fit in the doctor's surgery so it
wasn't as if they didn't know. We are angry that we didn't know." said Sarah.
 
She added: "We are convinced the jab was implicated in the death of George
and we won't rest until it is properly investigated."
 
John Duncan's 17-month old daughter Anna died last month nine days after
she was given the jab. She had been fit and well until then, said the
father of two, an IT consultant
from Cardrona, near Edinburgh.
 
Anna suffered similar symptoms to George. "Six days after the jab she came
out in spots. She lost her appetite, ran a high temperature and lost her
energy." he said.

Her mother, Veronica, a 40-year-old intensive care nurse, had slept next to
her cot and was horrified to discover her dead next morning.
 
Mr Duncan has taken up his case with a member of the Scottish parliament
and has asked those examining Anna to look for evidence of measles virus in
her brain.
 
Medical literature supports the view that MMR can occasionally kill. Four
years ago this paper revealed that at least 26 families had claimed their
children died following the triple vaccine. In some cases the Government
has awarded parents up to 100,000 under its 1979 Vaccine Damage Payment Act.