The Amish, polio, and other unusual ailments


Some Amish avoid vaccination.


There are a few reasons why, but some have a motive similar to why almost all Amish avoid insurance:  it would be placing faith in an outside body instead of in God.

A lot more Amish do vaccinate their kids than participate in insurance programs, however.  The motive rings clear to non-Amish ears–why take the chance with your child’s life?

I just dug up an article in the Washington Post from late 2005, when a Minnesota Amish community was stricken with the first case of polio in the US in 26 years.  Polio, eradicated in the Western Hemisphere years back, is just one of those things you don’t see anymore: specialists were dumbstruck on getting the news, with one saying simply ‘you have made a mistake.’

Reading this reminded me that last time I was in Amish Indiana I ran into whooping cough.

Whooping cough?  Sounds like ‘dropsy’ or ‘colic’, one of those Dickensian-type illness terms you never hear anymore.

But apparently whooping cough, or pertussis, is a lot more common than I thought, with 30-50 million cases worldwide, causing around 300,000 deaths a year.

A mom of one of the sick kids asked me if I had had my whooping cough shots.

‘Uhhh…I hope so..?’  was my weak reply, hoping that ma and pa had remembered to take care of that for me.

Seems like it might not have mattered, since immunity through childhood vaccination usually just covers the early, most susceptible years, before weakening at adolescence.

photo by skrasii

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    1. I’ve had four adult English friends in Cincinnati come down with whooping cough over the past three years. My first thought was similar to yours– “I didn’t know it was a real disease.” It is and it’s awful.

    2. yeah, seems they’ve had some sizeable outbreaks at some non-Amish schools as well.

      I sure bet it’s no fun.

    3. Susie

      As a nurse, this stuff drives me crazy. Let me say that I have been amongst the Amish in MN and WI a lot, since a friend and I started a business years ago that employed them. I value the Amish culture and my Amish friends. But this reluctance to vaccinate – which isn’t confined to the Amish but is an increasing problem with Muslims in American society, as well as a lot of mainstream Americans as well – is so foolish, and selfish. Not only are you putting your own child in danger, you are endangering surrounding communities as well ! Thus we have outbreaks like the one in Minnesota.

    4. Pingback: Croup or whooping cough? | Amish America
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    6. Robert Thompson

      There Are Good Reasons To Avoid Vaccines

      There are many very good, scientifically sound reasons to avoid vaccines.

      First, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that vaccines aren’t universally responsible for declining rates of infectious disease. Improved sanitation and nutrition are. If someone believes that vaccines are effective, why would they insist that others be vaccinated, if they and their children are protected by the vaccines they use?

      Secondly, the only vaccines that are available in the U.S. are of very poor quality. This reflects a public health priority to get as many people vaccinated as possible. As a result, high quality vaccines from Europe and elsewhere are banned under this official government policy. These safer vaccines are viewed by policy makers as being too expensive. It is feared that if they were approved for use in the U.S., those who couldn’t afford them would forego vaccinating their children with the cheap mass produced vaccines. The vaccines that are used routinely contain nightmarish ingredients and I recommend to readers that they investigate this before submitting themselves or their children to them. Don’t just trust what your doctor says, as they have a profit motive to make you sick and keep you sick.

      Additionally, there is a price to be paid for getting vaccinated, including a lifetime of immune suppression, which leads to chronic sub-clinical infections and even cancer. There is mounting evidence that autoimmune diseases are caused by injecting the dangerous substances contained in vaccines into the bodies of victims.