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Study authors refute false claims

Tue, 20 July 2004

Study authors refute false claims by anti-immunisation lobby

Meningococcal disease researchers are today debunking claims made by the anti-immunisation lobby that linked Pamol with the disease.

Speaking on behalf of the authors of the study into risk factors for meningococcal disease, Dr Michael Baker from the University of Otago’s Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences said the study published in 2000 in The Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal is being “wrongly interpreted”.

“In the study, analgesic use itself was not attributed as a cause of meningococcal disease and Pamol was not even mentioned,” Dr Baker said.

“The study found that a pre-existing respiratory infection increased the risk of meningococcal disease. Taking analgesics for the infection was one way of indicating that the child had a pre-existing infection.

“This makes sense as, of course, parents of an unwell child may rightly give the child an analgesic product. However, the analegesic then shows up as a marker to the disease when research like this is done.”

Dr Baker believes the claims made by the anti-immunisation lobby are “inaccurate and could mislead parents who may want to appropriately use a proven safe medication to reduce pain and fever in children with mild illness.”

“Although we know quite a bit about risk factors for meningococcal disease, it is not yet known why some people get this infection while most others do not.”

ENDS

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