Originally published August 26 2015
Soccer star gets mumps after being vaccinated with Merck's fraudulent MMR vaccine
by David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) It made international sports headlines when star Barcelona soccer player Neymar was told he would have to miss two weeks' worth of games -- including the UEFA Super Cup game -- because he had been diagnosed with the mumps.
Quietly tucked away in many of the articles on the story was one rather pertinent fact: Neymar (whose legal name is Neymar da Silva Santos Junior) had been vaccinated against the mumps, but he caught it anyway.
Mumps, also known as parotitis, is a viral disease that is spread through close, prolonged contact with an infected person, typically more close and lengthy contact than would be required to catch a cold. It is characterized by fever, fatigue, headache, muscle pain and swollen glands. It is almost never fatal, although rare side effects include deafness and testicular swelling that can sometimes lead to infertility. Serious cases almost always occur in adults rather than children.
Mumps is included in the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine.
Regular mumps outbreaks among the vaccinatedNeymar's case marks the second time in a year that mumps put professional sports players on the bench. In December, mumps swept through the National Hockey League, causing numerous players to be put into quarantine and taken off the rink. All of the players who fell ill in that outbreak had also been vaccinated. Once the outbreak started, many teams asked all their players to get MMR booster shots.
"Ten percent of our team population contracted it," said Chuck Fletcher, general manager of the Minnesota Wild. "As far as I know, everybody received the immunization when they were young. We were all immunized again a few weeks ago. It's been a tough process to go through. We've tried to take every precaution possible. It's been a very difficult thing to get on top of, [but] I think we've done the best we can. We seem to have one player get it, a week off, and another player get it. It's been frustrating that way."
Although health experts were not surprised to see mumps spread within teams, they were somewhat baffled to see it spreading from team to team given the fact that the disease is not normally overly contagious.
At the time, the NHL outbreak was the first known mumps outbreak to hit a professional sports league, according to Greg Wallace, head of the domestic MMR-polio team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Previously, Wallace said, he had heard of mumps affecting a college lacrosse team and competitors in a rugby tournament.
Data fraud inflates MMR effectiveness numbersNevertheless, mumps does persist at a low level even in vaccinated populations. According to Wallace, the effectiveness of the vaccine is only about 88 percent, which is significantly lower than that of many other vaccines, although it is still more effective than the current pertussis vaccine. Because many cases of mumps manifest either no symptoms or very mild symptoms, it can be difficult to estimate how many cases occur each year. Wallace says there have been anywhere from several hundred to several thousand cases reported yearly over the past 15 years.
"There are a couple of unique challenges with mumps," Wallace said. "Part of that is the incubation [period] is long and can vary quite a bit -- 12 to 25 days. The other challenge is that some -- a relatively high proportion of those infected -- are going to show little or no symptoms, and we don't know how well they will spread [the disease] to others."
In 2010, two whistleblowers filed a lawsuit against Merck, the only manufacturer of the MMR vaccine in the United States, alleging that the company tampered with the results of vaccine tests by adding animal antibodies to blood samples in order to artificially boost effectiveness numbers. Merck used these tests to claim that the vaccine was 95 percent effective, thereby keeping other companies that were unable to match those numbers from trying to produce vaccines of their own.
The lawsuit is still pending.
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