The Panic Virus

The Panic Virus

A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear

eBook - 2011
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A searing account of how vaccine opponents have used the media to spread their message of panic, despite no scientific evidence to support them.
In this searching exposé, the recent hysteria over childhood vaccinations and their alleged link to autism becomes a cautionary tale of bad science amplified by media sensationalism.
Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2011.
ISBN: 9781439165676
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Contents: The spotted pimple of death
Milkmaid envy and a fear of modernity
The polio vaccine : from medical miracle to public health catastrophe
Fluoride scares and swine flu scandals
"Vaccine roulette"
Autism's evolving identities
Help! there are fibers growing out of my eyeballs!
Enter Andrew Wakefield
The Lancet paper
Thimerosal and the mystery of Minamata's dancing cats
The mercury moms
The Simpsonwood Conference and the speed of light : a brief history of science
The media and its messages
Mark Geier, witness for hire
The case of Michelle Cedillo
Cognitive biases and availability cascades
How to turn a lack of evidence into evidence of harm
A conspiracy of dunces
Autism speaks
Katie Wright's accidental manifesto
Jenny McCarthy's mommy instinct
Medical NIMBYism and faith-based metaphysics
Baby Brie
Casualties of a war built on lies.
Summary: A searing account of how vaccine opponents have used the media to spread their message of panic, despite no scientific evidence to support them.


From the critics

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May 06, 2019

If you read this, it probably means that you already know that everybody should get all their vaccines. Still, the level of stupidity that is shown by anti-vaxxers never ceases to amaze and enrage me. Children die because of them. It's as simple as that.

Hillsboro_RobP Apr 29, 2019

Humans have a hard time making decisions based on data, and once someone finds a little data that seems to make sense and shed some light on a terrifying situation, you can't put that genie back in the bottle. A great accounting of how vaccines became an unlikely boogeyman.

Jun 30, 2015

I firmly believe in vaccines and vaccinations, but - - a prestigious French research institute did find a correlation between the AMOUNT of vaccines received by very young children prior to the age of 3, and the onset of autism. The NUMBER of vaccines administered to children and its connection autism has never been addressed by America's scientific establishment and to date they still refuse to address this point!

Jul 28, 2014

If you are thinking of NOT immunizing your children, please read this book. Well-written explanation of how poorly the Wakefield "study" really was done, how its false message spread around the internet and was swallowed whole by otherwise intelligent people, and what the risks actually are. Disclosure: I am the parent of 1 autistic child and 3 neurotypical ones, and they all got vaccinated.

Oct 24, 2013


debwalker Feb 21, 2011

Vanity Fair contributor Mnookin explores a "long, disturbing and deadly scandal" that started when a Canadian-trained researcher suggested a link between childhood vaccination and autism. The research was a hoax - the proposed link did not exist then and doesn't now - but parents made life-changing decisions based on it. The resulting drop in vaccination rates has led to the return of diseases like whooping cough, measles and mumps - and childhood suffering and death. Horrifying.
Oakland Ross
Toronto Star Jan 23, 2011

Feb 09, 2011

An excellent book on the supposed controversy on childhood vaccination and autism. I say supposed controversy since numerous credible researchers that Mnookin cites have shown time and time again no connection between vaccination and autism.
Mnookin covers all the angles in this book. How autism advocacy groups were hijacked by the shrill and uninformed with an anti-science agenda. No nothing politicians jumping on the anti-vaccine bandwagon for political gain (50 years ago they would have been attacking fluoridation as a communist plot).
Particularly infuriating are the vaccuous media celebrities that used their fame to propagandize even though they should have sought out the actual science of vaccine and public health. Oprah and Jenny McCarthy have demonstrated how dangerous the spread of misinformation truly is.
He also shows how Dr. Wakefield's MMR "research" was driven by pure financial interest. A point many of his supporters willfully ignored.
The book is a cautionary tale on how lies, half truths and ignorance can spread. (Many of the anti-vaccination zealots quite openly state that they used "feeling" instead of using evidence in this issue). Then they can spread their affect far and wide causing harm throughout society.


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