The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy
November 25, 2013•17 min
In 1998 Andrew Wakefield, a British gastroenterologist with a history of self-promotion, published a paper with a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine might cause autism. The media seized hold of the story and, in the process, helped to launch one of the most devastating health scares ever. Yet despite the numerous studies that failed to find any link between childhood vaccines and autism, it has since been popularized by media personalities, and declining vaccination rates have led to outbreaks of deadly illnesses like Hib, measles, and whooping cough. In The Panic Virus: The True Story Behind the Vaccine-Autism Controversy, author Seth Mnookin draws on interviews with parents, public-health advocates, scientists, and anti-vaccine activists to tackle a fundamental question: How do we decide what the truth is?