False Government Mumps Scare Stories - (Reply to Jennifer Best) 26 May 2005
Clifford G. Miller,
Lawyer, graduate physicist, former university examining lecturer in law

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Re: False Government Mumps Scare Stories - (Reply to Jennifer Best)


Dear Sir,


The sort of paper [1] that has provoked this and other exchanges is precisely what Government jumps on to run false mumps scare stories in the press.

I am obliged to Jennifer Best for her response [2] which assists to make some of the main points I set out earlier [3].

Ms Best says she has no intention to scare. However, her response omits matter that will give a misleading impression of risk and could result in scares. The omitted matter is contained in the HPA leaflet I quoted verbatim in my earlier response [3]. The HPA state (and Ms Best does not) that:-
  • mumps is rarely fatal
  • cases resulting in meningitis have no other complications
Ms Best also fails to observe that the HPA figures are global for adults and not just for children, yet the HPA aims them at parents in the context of vaccinating children.

Further, as Ms Best confirms was the practice with rubella, we do not have to vaccinate everyone. We could leave it to people to decide as they reach adulthood if they have not developed natural immunity by contracting the disease naturally in the wild. Accordingly, we could leave nature to take its course. Those who want natural immunity can have it and those who do not or have not achieved it by adulthood can choose vaccination.

Ms Best also refers to 1200 hospital admissions each year which shows two things:-
  • her figures cannot be right if the HPA's own leaflet [3] confirms mumps goes in three yearly cycles so it is impossible to have 1200 admissions annually
  • the concern is with hospital admissions (a cost indicator) rather than outcomes (a health indicator for the individual), which makes the point that the purpose is not individual health but NHS wealth
Ms Best also makes no comment on the fact that adverse vaccine reactions are not being diagnosed or recorded so we have no proper idea of the acute and chronic short and long term harm caused by vaccines. Hence, my use of the terminology 'Child Harm lobby'. The practice of prophylactic mass vaccination for the vast majority who are at no risk from the disease has to be questioned in the absence of data on risk of vaccination.

Unlike my prior response [3] Ms Best makes no effort either to put what she says into a risk context others can understand, nor does she comment on the fact that the risks are nowhere as bad as a one-sided set of statistics with no balance or context might lead others to believe exists. She further does not comment on the relative risk contexts my prior response provides.

[1] Mumps and the UK epidemic 2005 BMJ 2005;330:1132-1135 (14 May)

[2] Re: Mumps and Rubella 25 May 2005

[3] False Government Mumps Scare Stories 24 May 2005


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Competing interests: None declared

False Government Mumps Scare Stories 24 May 2005
Clifford G. Miller,
Lawyer, graduate physicist, former university examining lecturer in law

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Re: False Government Mumps Scare Stories

Dear Sir,


The information at the end of this response is from a UK Health Protection Agency leaflet on the alleged risks of mumps. The leaflet is sent repeatedly to parents (one example, by letter 4 times in six months) by some UK general medical practitioners with a letter offering the MMR booster vaccination and asking for written confirmation if the booster is not wanted for their child. This seems to be done so the GPs can hit their vaccination targets and get the money offered by the British government as an inducement for doing so. Its effect is to pressurise and frighten parents into vaccinating their children when there is no need. Some practices strike off their patient roster parents who refuse vaccination for their children (an illegal practice).

The HPA figures are grossly misleading. Whilst sent to warn of the risks of mumps, they make no distinction between the risks for a child (minimal, as mumps is a relatively benign illness in children) and the risks for adults (higher). Despite the fact that the higher adult risk figures are provided, the worst statistic is profound deafness in one ear occurring in 1 in 15,000 people. The true figure for children is likely to be much lower but that will not prevent the HPA from sending information like this out to be used as a scare tool. Similarly, the risk of death from encephalitis is so low it equates to one person dying every ten years or so and it is so rare the adult figures provided have a 50% error margin. The risk is between 1 in 400,000 to 1 in 600,000 cases. What is more, it is not simply a matter of chance. People do not die simply as a lottery but because they are already ill, have some pre-existing disposition or a weakness in their immune system, so not the normally healthy person.

This also shows that the HPA information is misleading. It further shows some GPs have no qualms about sending out misleading information and putting their patients unnecessarily at risk. It further ensures HPA information cannot be relied on by the public as accurate or impartial medical information.

Additionally, to put the 1 in 15,000 figure for profound deafness in adults in context Accordingly, in the deafness stakes, mumps is so low down the scale as to be irrelevant. To put it further into context, six times more people each year are struck by lightning in the UK (a pretty rare event) as died in the major measles outbreaks in 1988, the year it was decided to introduce MMR. And despite being such a rare event, that is roughly thirty-six times more than will achieve profound deafness as a result of natural mumps. Further, these figures overstate the position by a further factor of at least three times because lightning strikes every year, but mumps and measles come and go. There were approaching 80,000 measles cases in 1988 and 47,000 in 1987 and there will be less between major outbreaks as natural herd immunity is gained and then wanes.

To put this further into context,
These figures reveal the purpose of mass childhood vaccination programmes. These are not to protect the child from harm but the UK National Health Service from the cost of treating mumps cases. These figures are insufficient to justify a mass vaccination campaign for mumps amongst children. Mumps, like rubella, is testimony to cost being the predominant factor for vaccination. The justification for mass mumps and rubella vaccination of children is paper thin. In children mumps and rubella are mostly benign childhood diseases. The risk from rubella is to the developing foetus. To deal with this, we used to vaccinate pre-pubescent girls who tested negative to rubella antibodies.

Further, contrary to legal and ethical obligations, when the HPA information is sent out, no information on adverse effects is provided. Even if figures were provided on adverse vaccine reactions and even if they were not subject to exaggeration, there are no proper figures that can be provided that are reliable because no proper figures are collected on short and long term adverse vaccine reactions . This enables the pro-child harm lobby to promote vaccines unencumbered by the true scale of harm they cause.

Add into this mix the habit of government to exaggerate figures when it suits and downplay similarly, parents are wise to hold back from vaccinations for mumps and avoid the risks of adverse reactions. These are real risks as the Honda/Rutter et al paper on Japanese incidence of autism demonstrates when corrected. There was a 150-200% increase in vaccinations in Japan in 1993 simultaneously with the substantial rise in autism reported by Honda/Rutter from then on. Notably, the vaccinations were particularly for measles and rubella.

Well nourished western economy children with clean drinking water rarely die from measles. Those that do are likely immunocompromised.


To the question 'How many people in the UK each year die or suffer long term adverse effects of vaccines' the answer is 'Don't know. Who's counting'.

Most adverse vaccine reactions are neither recognised or diagnosed. Fewer are reported. There is no also long term monitoring of vaccine safety. It could indicate if modern medicine causes increases in well known conditions (cancer, diabetes) or has created new ones (MS, ME, life threatening food allergies, food intolerances etc.).

Then the risk to the adult population of contracting childhood diseases needs to be taken into account. This exists because vaccination does not confer lifelong immunity, it does not confer absolute immunity but might reduce morbidity and reduces the beneficial effect to adults of naturally boosting immunity by exposure to the wild viruses.

And be wary of medical professionals who say new illnesses have solely genetic causes. Genetic change in a single generation in multiple individuals (eg. food allergies) is impossible.

UK Department of Health Information Inherently Unreliable

The UK DoH has potential legal liability for costs and damages for death or injury but also wants to achieve the short-term 'savings' of vaccination programmes so will have a tendency not to release voluntarily full information on vaccination risks.

Mumps is an acute viral illness spread by saliva or droplets from the saliva of an infected person.

Symptoms begin with a headache and fever for a day or two and then swelling of the parotid glands which may be unilateral (one side) or bilateral (both sides). The parotid glands produce saliva, and are located in front of the ear, At least 30% of cases in children have no symptoms.

The incubation period is 14-21 days and mumps can be spread from several days before the parotid swelling to several days after it appears.

Although rarely fatal, complications of mumps can include:

There is no specific treatment for mumps. Treatment is based on alleviating symptoms.

Mumps vaccine is one of the components of MMR vaccine. The introduction of MMR vaccine in 1988 effectively halted the three yearly cycles of mumps epidemics.

There is no single antigen mumps vaccine licensed in the UK, and single mumps vaccine has never been used as part of the national immunisation schedule.

Since 1998 MMR has been given to children between 12-15 months and since 1996 it is also given at 4 years of age. There is no upper age limit and where required, two doses can be given, separated by a three monthly interval.


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