Top UK Doctor Ties 170 Cases Of
Autism To MMR Baby Vaccine
By Lorraine Fraser - Medical Correspondent

The consultant who first raised concerns about MMR vaccinations has disclosed to The Telegraph that he has identified nearly 170 cases of a new syndrome of autism and bowel disease in children who have had the triple-dose injection.
Andrew Wakefield, a consultant gastroenterologist at the Royal Free Hospital in London, said that in the "majority" of cases parents had documentary evidence that their child's physical and mental decline had followed the vaccination.
Professor Wakefield said: "Last week in our clinic we saw nine or 10 new children with exactly the same story, referred by jobbing paediatricians from around the country who said, 'This child developed normally, had a reaction to MMR and is now autistic'".
In his first public comments since the row erupted in 1998, when he reported on 12 cases, Professor Wakefield said that he remained seriously concerned by the safety of the vaccine, despite reassurances from the Department of Health.
He said: "The department says that the safety of MMR has been proven. The argument is untenable. It cannot be substantiated by the science. That is not only my opinion but increasingly the view of healthcare professionals and the public.
He said: "Tests have revealed time and time again that we are dealing with a new phenomenon. The Department of Health's contention that MMR has been proven to be safe by study after study after study just doesn't hold up. Frankly, it is not an honest appraisal of the science and it relegates the scientific issues to the bottom of the barrel in favour of winning a propaganda war."
The doctor, who was fiercely attacked by health officials for voicing his doubts three years ago, said in an exclusive interview that he felt driven to break his silence because of the accumulating evidence. His remarks will infuriate the Government and sharpen the dilemma of parents over whether to have children innoculated with MMR.
It emerged last month that a rising number of doctors and nurses were worried about giving second doses of the vaccine, and pressure is growing for its separation into its three component vaccinations, spread over three years. In his 1998 article in The Lancet, Professor Wakefield reported finding a devastating combination of bowel disease and autism in 12 children.
His revelation that that figure has reached almost 170 cases will shock parents and doctors and add pressure on the Government to justify its vaccination policy. This month Dr David Salisbury, the head of the Government's immunisation programme, insisted that MMR was safe.
The vaccine, which contains live measles, mumps and rubella virus, has been given to millions of children in the UK since its introduction in 1988 but the take-up rate has fallen sharply since Dr Wakefield made his original claims.
Ten days ago health chiefs warned parents that Britain could face a measles outbreak unless more had their children vaccinated with MMR. Professor Wakefield said, however, that if an outbreak were to erupt it would be the fault of the health department, which had "failed to address the safety issues".
The doctor and his colleagues are testing the hypothesis that the measles virus from the vaccine can lodge in the gut of susceptible children, damaging the bowel and causing autism, and that the addition of the mumps virus makes that more likely.

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