Seth Mnookin

The Panic Virus

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In 1998 Andrew Wakefield published a paper containing a shocking allegation: the measles-mumps- rubella vaccine might cause autism. Wakefield based his findings on a study of just a dozen children, and his methods and conclusions immediately came under fire. But the media seized on the story, launching one of the most devastating health scares of modern times. Soon, vaccination rates had started to fall, eventually resulting in deaths from diseases previously thought to be disappearing.

Wakefield was eventually stripped of his medical licence, but the myth that vaccines cause developmental disorders lives on. Drawing on interviews with parents, public-health advocates, scientists, and anti-vaccine activists, The Panic Virus is a riveting and heartbreaking medical detective story that explores the limits of rational thought – a cautionary tale for our time.

‘[A] brilliant…thoroughly researched expose’ —the Age

‘This is the sort of science journalism we need more of’ —the Australian

Seth Mnookin is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a former senior writer for Newsweek. His writing has appeared in the Washington Post, New York magazine and many other publications. He is the author of Feeding the Monster and Hard News. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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551 printed pages
Original publication
2011

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