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MMR: the onslaught continues

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 29 March 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:718
  1. Helen Bedford, lecturer in child health,
  2. David Elliman, consultant in community child health
  1. Institute of Child Health, London
  2. St George's Hospital, London

    The controversy surrounding the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine continues to smoulder and every now and then someone stokes the fire. This time it is “top Mail writer” Melanie Phillips in a much hyped series of three articles in the Daily Mail under the banner “MMR: the truth” (11, 12, and 13 March).

    Despite a three month globe-trotting investigation, Phillips, a seasoned polemicist, presents nothing new; she simply follows the usual pattern of conspiracy theory. For example, she claims that Professor John O'Leary, a pathologist at Trinity College Dublin, was gagged after announcing that the measles virus he had found in the guts of children with autism was the same strain as that used in the MMR vaccine. And she refers to more “potentially explosive” about-to-be-published research from gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield—“the doctor at the heart of the MMR furore”—which it is claimed will show that he is right and that the rest of the world …

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