Last updated on October 29th, 2023 at 10:29 am
Twenty years ago we thought we had nearly eradicated measles, but now we have a fairly large outbreak in Ohio. And just in case you’re wondering, the vast majority of the infected were unvaccinated.
In 2000, the CDC stated that measles was eradicated in the USA. We were right there, so close to making measles extinct. Then the cunning fraud, Andrew Wakefield, published his hoax in The Lancet, claiming that the MMR vaccine was linked to autism — measles vaccinations dropped. As a result of fears and misinformation about the MMR vaccine, which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella, vaccination rates have dropped allowing measles to again attack children.
Just to remind you, the MMR vaccine is not linked to autism according to real science published by real scientists.
So let’s take a close look at that measles outbreak in Ohio. But first, let’s talk about measles itself.
A measles primer
Measles (also called rubeola, not to be confused with rubella, or German measles) is a respiratory disease caused by the Measles morbillivirus. This virus normally grows in the cells that line the back of the throat and lungs.
The virus is spread through respiration (contact with fluids from an infected person’s nose and mouth, either directly or through aerosol transmission), and is highly contagious — 90% of people without immunity sharing living space with an infected person will catch it.
There are no specific treatments for the disease. There are no miracle preventions – except, of course, for the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps, and rubella). I know that I’m being repetitive, but there is no link between the vaccine and autism – this is settled science.
Also, I want to debunk the oft-repeated, and highly inaccurate, claim that vitamin A supplements can cure or prevent measles. It’s essential to supplement with vitamin A to prevent blindness as a result of measles, but it doesn’t reduce mortality or prevent some neurological issues unless there is chronic vitamin A deficiency. That’s why scientists are very supportive of golden rice, which supplements vitamin A through their rice.
According to the CDC, some of the many measles complications are:
- About 30% of measles cases develop one or more complications.
- Pneumonia is the complication that is most often the cause of death in young children.
- Ear infections occur in about 1 in 10 measles cases and permanent loss of hearing can result.
- Diarrhea is reported in about 8% of cases.
- As many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia.
- About 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can lead to convulsions, deafness, and other long-term neurological deficits.
- A measles infection can result in short- and long-term immune system dysfunction which can leave the child susceptible to other diseases early in life (which is in direct opposition to claims by anti-vaccine activists that it helps “boost” the immune system).
- About 1-2 children, out of 1000 who contract measles, may develop subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE), a rare chronic, progressive encephalitis that affects primarily children and young adults– it is caused by a persistent infection of the measles virus. The disease starts with measles infection, usually before the age of 2 years, followed by approximately 6-15 asymptomatic years. Some researchers think the asymptomatic period is around 5-8 years after the initial disease. The disease gradually progresses with psychological and neurological deterioration, including personality changes, seizures, and coma. It is always ultimately fatal.
- And sadly, for every 1,000 children who get measles, 1 or 2 will die from it.
I’m not here for fear-mongering – but real science tells us that measles is a dangerous, debilitating disease that has both short and long-term consequences.
About the Ohio measles outbreak
The City of Columbus Public Health Department has reported 77 cases of measles as of 15 December 2022. Of those 77 individuals, 72 were not vaccinated, 4 were partially vaccinated (1 out of two doses), and 1 had unknown vaccination status. Of the 77 victims, 72 were children under the age of 5.
And because measles is a very dangerous disease, I think it’s important to note 29 out of those 77 (37.7%) were hospitalized.
I know that this may not seem like a lot considering we’re enduring a COVID-19 pandemic that infects thousands of people (along with killing hundreds) on an average day, nearly three years into the pandemic. But the measles virus doesn’t mutate like SARS-CoV-2, so two vaccinations provide decades of protection against the deadly disease.
A few days ago, I was talking about our cultural memory of infectious diseases. Parents today don’t remember the polio, smallpox, and measles epidemics that struck communities all over the world. Measles would shut down schools because parents and teachers remembered what would happen when there were outbreaks.
We don’t experience these large outbreaks because of vaccines. But when we don’t get the MMR vaccines, we get the measles outbreak in Ohio.
You know, we could have a world without vaccines if we eradicate these diseases with 100% vaccination rates. But because a large group of parents uses their Dunning-Kruger intellect to think they know better than expert scientists and refuse to vaccinate their children, we cannot eradicate these diseases.
Vaccinate your children.
- Retraction–Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. Lancet. 2010 Feb 6;375(9713):445. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60175-4. PubMed PMID: 20137807.