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In recent years, the United States and other industrialized nations such as the United Kingdom have experienced a resurge of previous diseases that were almost eradicated, including mumps, measles, and pertussis (or whooping cough). This has been attributed to the “antivaccine movement” largely spawned by now-discredited work by British gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield. Despite evidence to the contrary, the idea continues that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine causes autism and is promoted among celebrities, religious groups, and others. Mercury content of some vaccines has also been erroneously linked with autism. Since the onset of the controversy, numerous studies have sought to more closely examine the alleged link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Currently, findings overwhelmingly fail to support a link, and the Institute ...

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