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Friday, December 22, 2023

Measles Coming Back

 In The Politics of Autism, I analyze the discredited notion that vaccines cause autism. This bogus idea can hurt people by allowing diseases to spread   Examples include measlesCOVID, flu, and polio.

Michael Hiltzik at LAT:

Forecasting the future is difficult. But here’s an easy prediction: The anti-vaccination movement in the U.S. and globally is going to result in the deaths of more children.

This grim portent comes to us courtesy of UNICEF, which is reporting that 30,601 confirmed cases of measles have been reported in Europe and Central Asia this year through Dec. 5.

That’s up from 909 cases in those regions in 2022, or an increase of 3,266%.


It doesn’t take a very large decline in vaccine coverage to spur a surge in disease incidence. Consider the record in Britain. Through 1997, about 91% of British schoolchildren had received the measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) vaccine.

In 1998, the Lancet, a then-respected British medical journal, published a notorious article claiming a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, and by 2004 the vaccine uptake had fallen to 80%. Measles cases soon surged from an average of about 100 a year through 2005 to 1,280 in 2008 and 1,920 in 2012. By then the vaccination rate had begun to recover, but as of last year it was still below 90%.

That article, by the way, was fully retracted by the Lancet in 2010 and its principal author, Andrew Wakefield, stripped of his medical license. He has since surfaced in the U.S. as a star of the domestic anti-vaccine movement, rubbing shoulders with Kennedy and his gang.

Anna A. Minta and colleagues have an article at MMWR titled "Progress Toward Measles Elimination — Worldwide, 2000–2022" Abstract:
Measles is a highly contagious, vaccine-preventable disease that requires high population immunity for transmission to be interrupted. All six World Health Organization regions have committed to eliminating measles; however, no region has achieved and sustained measles elimination. This report describes measles elimination progress during 2000–2022. During 2000–2019, estimated coverage worldwide with the first dose of measles-containing vaccine (MCV) increased from 72% to 86%, then declined to 81% in 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic, representing the lowest coverage since 2008. In 2022, first-dose MCV coverage increased to 83%. Only one half (72) of 144 countries reporting measles cases achieved the measles surveillance indicator target of two or more discarded cases per 100,000 population in 2022. During 2021–2022, estimated measles cases increased 18%, from 7,802,000 to 9,232,300, and the number of countries experiencing large or disruptive outbreaks increased from 22 to 37. Estimated measles deaths increased 43% during 2021–2022, from 95,000 to 136,200. Nonetheless, an estimated 57 million measles deaths were averted by vaccination during 2000–2022. In 2022, measles vaccination coverage and global surveillance showed some recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic setbacks; however, coverage declined in low-income countries, and globally, years of suboptimal immunization coverage left millions of children unprotected. Urgent reversal of coverage setbacks experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic can be accomplished by renewing efforts to vaccinate all children with 2 MCV doses and strengthening surveillance, thereby preventing outbreaks and accelerating progress toward measles elimination.