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Infectious Disease Promoted at Channel 8

Vaccines? Who needs ‘em?

Apparently not children, not according to KLAS Channel 8. In a video piece stunning for its complete lack of scientific accuracy and objectivity, the local CBS affiliate rolled up the last century of medical progress and hitched its wagon to the thoroughly discredited anti-vaxxer campaigns Wednesday morning.

The headline for the long video piece: “Doctors Debate Need for Child Vaccinations.” There was, in fact, one doctor, a pediatrician, Dr. Blair Duddy, who noted he has seen four cases of whooping cough here in the last two months.

That’s consistent with the rise of pertussis, the medical term for the bacteria* causing whooping cough, that has seen epidemic outbreaks in California and an overall increase in cases throughout the developed world. Duddy noted that vaccinations may be the most important medical advance seen in the last 50 years. 

But Channel 8 had another “doctor” to dispute the pediatrician (thus, the “debate”). This one, reporter Diane Tuazon claimed, was a “holistic doctor.” Dr. Steven Rudack, unlike Duddy, does not work in a hospital and is not a board-certified pediatrician. In fact, despite the claim in Tauzon’s piece, Rudack is not a medical doctor at all.

He’s a Las Vegas chiropractor.

Despite his lack of professional accreditation to diagnose or treat viral diseases, Rudack is undeterred. Channel 8 tells that “holistic doctors say” parents can fight off deadly infectious disease with a good diet. Really? A good diet will fight off polio, diphtheria and pertussis? If only we had known this during the 1950s, we needn’t have bothered with “medicine” at all.

While sound nutrition is obviously important for anyone’s all-around health, we can’t find any peer-reviewed science to suggest that diet stops infections such as pertussis. There are thousands, however, that prove the fact that vaccines save lives.

"Peer review"? Who needs it? Thank God we have chiropractors (and reporters) brave enough to set the record straight and substitute their hunches for decades of scientific research.

Whooping cough is highly transmittable and extremely dangerous for children. The disease is especially notorious for the characteristic loud wheezing sounds made by children as they desperately try to get air into their infected lungs. The “whooping” and coughing usually last for about six weeks but the disease typically lasts for more than three months in an infected child, and can do irreparable damage to children.

And the disease is almost completely preventable with vaccines that doctors -- real doctors, who have to treat the children horribly sickened by the irresponsible promotion of fake medicine -- provide. The claims that autism and brain damage are caused by vaccines were put to rest years ago by serious, sustained and careful scientific analyses. Even the “study” and the researcher that instigated those claims in 1998 have been thoroughly discredited.

But the threat from preventable disease is very, very real and tragic. In Washington state, Wisconsin and California, all states where anti-vaxxer conspiracy theorists have managed to make inroads into public policy, there have been horrific pertussis epidemics among children.

This isn’t the first time that the anti-vaxxers have gotten equal time with real medical practitioners, but it’s extraordinary that at this late stage in the “debate,” which is not a medical or scientific debate at all, a respected and respectable news station would give them such a platform.

Update, Aug. 5: A pediatrician tried to post a comment to the Channel 8 story, but the station decided to delete the comment. Unfortunately for the station, the prominent doctor has his own Twitter feed and blog with 15,000 followers. Now Forbes has picked up the controversy:

*The story was corrected ro reflect that pertussis is a bacterial disease.