A 4-year-old boy in Colorado died from the flu last week after his mother sought advice from an anti-vaccination Facebook group, according to NBC News.
The mother of the boy who died posted on the Facebook page of the group, “Stop Mandatory Vaccination,” which has more than 178,000 members. The group has spread misinformation about disease outbreaks, and its members have contacted parents whose children died, telling them that vaccines may have caused the deaths.
The mother posted about her son’s symptoms and mentioned that two of her other children had been diagnosed with the flu. She said that a physician had prescribed Tamiflu for all members of her family, but she had not filled the prescription. Instead, she said that she was trying out “natural” remedies for her four children. When they failed, she asked for suggestions from the group.
The ant-vaccination group members suggested several other remedies not backed by clinical evidence as effective against the flu.
It is unclear whether the boy who died was vaccinated, but NBC News found a Facebook post on the group’s page from the mother in 2017 saying her children were not vaccinated.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment did not have records of the boy’s vaccination.
Facebook and other social media companies have come under fire for allowing the spread of dangerous misinformation about vaccines, but despite their steps to combat the issue, a Buzzfeed report found that ads with false claims were still hosted on the social networking site.
The CDC estimates flu has caused 22 million illnesses and 12,000 deaths this season, 78 of which have been children.
Source: Becker’s Hospital Review