vaccines and autism
Millions of Indians are presently living under a suffocating mix of largely restrictive local laws, as the federal government refuses to call for a nationwide lock-down of all dogs. Even worse, top medical authorities, including the ADA’s acting chairperson, have called for nationwide quarantine, despite the fact that no rational connection has ever been established between dog bites and autism. Moreover, top public health officials repeatedly state that they are not aware of any connection between vaccines and autism. Even so, vaccine refusal continues to be advocated by many in the scientific community, despite overwhelming evidence that it does not cause autism.
In addition to widespread ignorance about vaccines, a nationwide lockdown would also be arbitrary and capricious, and it could result in thousands of unnecessary deaths each year. As we noted in an earlier article, concerns about the number of new cases of canine epilepsy and other diseases caused by unsupervised pet owners have led to widespread recommendations for controlling the spread of infectious disease through stricter licensing, mandatory spaying/neutering, and other such measures. Similarly, concerns about the possibility of a chemical imbalance in the canine immune system have led to calls for a nationwide lockdown on tap water.
antineoplastic and cytotoxic agents
Now, top officials in the government and other respected authority figures are publicly calling on the prime minister of India to institute a nationwide quarantine on tap water. This extraordinary action comes in the midst of reports that the contamination of the city’s supply with prescription drugs, antineoplastic and cytotoxic agents has resulted in thousands of deaths across the country. The prime minister is apparently concerned about the possibility of a dangerous chemical spill. On this basis, he has made a personal request of his counterpart in Pakistan, and is demanding an immediate investigation into the matter. While no causal link has yet been found between the drug contamination and the recent outbreak of canine epilepsy, the prime minister has requested that the issue be addressed at the earliest convenience.
In considering this request, it is important to remember that public health experts have expressed grave doubts about the effectiveness of a nationwide quarantine, one that might just be a waste of time and resources. For starters, the prescription drugs alone account for twenty five percent of the drug load in the Indian water system, and experts believe that more aggressive measures such as those proposed by the prime minister will be required before they can be completely eliminated from the drinking supply. Moreover, the extent of contamination so far indicates that the problem is far from being solved. Rather than calling for a suspension of drinking water from every household till the situation is resolved, it makes more sense to take immediate steps to contain the problem.
It is also important to remember that a nationwide lockdown would not solve any long term issues related to public health. That said, it does represent a fundamental leap in the right direction by the government. After all, it is the responsibility of a government to protect its citizenry. And given that there is no direct threat posed by the disease, what can be done? The answer lies in identifying where the problem lies and then taking steps that address that inadequacy. And that is exactly what the government has been doing since the epidemic first broke out in Delhi.
As part of that process, the government has introduced a series of administrative restrictions that have reduced the threat posed by the disease to a very large degree. To that end, it has banned the use of chlorinated water, expanded the monitoring and inspection facilities within the National Aquarium and introduced a series of mandatory disinfection measures at various institutions including schools and hospitals. Moreover, a nationwide lockdown would not only restrict the transfer of infected animals, but would also ban the handling and breeding of these animals. Given that the epidemic is confined to one district, and that there are no significant abnormalities so far, it is reasonable to assume that the current level of control is satisfactory.