Columbia panelists agree there\'s nothing super about \'superbugs\'

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COLUMBIA - Myths and facts were cleared up during a discussion presented by The League of Women Voters Columbia-Boone County on "Vaccinations, Superbugs and Ebola: What the public needs to know". Columbia Access Television televised the discussion.

Eddie Hedrick, retired coordinator from the Missouri Department of Health, explained what the term "superbug" means.  

"I hate to call antibiotic-resistant organisms superbugs, but they are microorganisms that become resistant to antibiotics we commonly use," Hedrick said.

Dr. Michael Cooperstock, infectious disease specialist and Professor Emeritus MU School of Medicine, said immunization is a topic near and dear to his heart because it is "most important in human health."

Cooperstock said bad science and incorrect data caused people to blame autism on vaccinations. According to Cooperstock, measles vaccines are safe and said parents who vaccinate their children do it to fully protect them.

"The benefit outweighs the risks," Cooperstock said.

Hedrick said Influenza is one of the most dangerous infections, and a new vaccine is made every year because of how it mutates.

"One of the nice things about Ebola is that it's hard to get," Hedrick said.

There is no vaccine for Ebola. In the case of Ebola, Hedrick said people "overreacted instead of reacting properly."  

The panelists agreed vaccinations have more benefits than costs, and no one spoke against vaccinations. 

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