The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly known as the CDC, this week published Progress in Global Measles Control, 2001-2010. In 1980, there were over 2.6 million deaths worldwide from the measles virus. Though measles is considered by many people as innocuous, it is, in fact, a relatively dangerous infection with a variable prognosis. For vast majority of sufferers, there are few complications, but for some, even healthy individuals, it can be debilitating or even fatal. Notwithstanding, I have always wondered why the anti-vaccination gang is willing to risk the possible death of their children by refusing to inoculate them, in light of very few risks or side effects of the vaccination itself. I digress.
[pullquote]The number of measles cases dropped to around 340,000 in 2010, a nearly 66% decline from 2001.[/pullquote]
By 2001, the number of deaths from measles dropped to 733,000 in 2000, and to 164,000 in 2008. The number of measles cases dropped to around 340,000 in 2010, a nearly 66% decline from 2001. How did this happen? Vaccinations, pure and simple. Over 1 billion children were vaccinated against measles in the 2000’s a huge, approximately 85% of the children in the world. Though I’m not an epidemiologist, but I’ll accept that as evidence of the efficacy of vaccinations, as they became more available to more people. Preventing millions of annual deaths is a definite success story of medicine.
In 1980, measles vaccines weren’t as widely available as they are now, and, evidently, much of the so-called third world was not protected against the disease. Today, through private foundations, like the GAVI Alliance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and supranational organizations, like the World Health Organization, an active and concentrated effort to eliminate diseases through wider availability of vaccines has been undoubtedly successful. I doubt any of those children whose lives are better and stronger are worried about the various anti-vaccination memes.