CNN reports that 22 people, most of them children, have died of measles in Zimbabwe.
WHO’s head in Zimbabwe, Dr. Custodia Mandlhate, told journalists in Harare the outbreak has totaled more than 340 suspected cases this year, and “this is not acceptable.” She said the outbreak came about “mainly because of people who have denied their children vaccination.”
She said that all of the 22 people who died were unvaccinated. Measles is a disease that can be easily prevented with the MMR vaccine. Since the MMR vaccine was introduced in the US, measles cases have gone down by 99%. According to the CDC website:
However, measles is still common in other countries. The virus is highly contagious and can spread rapidly in areas where vaccination is not widespread. It is estimated that in 2007 there were 197,000 measles deaths worldwide—that equals about 540 deaths every day or about 22 deaths every hour.
Thus, what has happened in Zimbabwe is not an isolated case. It happens worldwide every hour. There is a simple lesson in these stats. Vaccines save lives. Not vaccinating causes death, mommy instincts be damned!
Health chiefs in Wales are dealing with a “massive” measles outbreak, with numbers already four times the highest figure recorded over the past 13 years.
Four nursery school children were treated in hospital as part of 127 cases across mid and west Wales, while there are another 39 cases in Conwy.
The National Public Health Service (NPHS) in Wales saw 39 cases last year. Its highest figure in 2003 was 44.
Officials appealed for parents to take up the MMR vaccine.
Dr Mac Walapu, consultant in communicable disease control for the NPHS, said: “For as long as there are children who do not receive their MMR vaccinations, there is the potential for outbreaks of measles to happen and we would remind anyone in Wales, and not just in the affected area.”
A spokeswoman added: “We need to be up front with parents.”
She added: “We try not to be too scary when we talk to people about this, but children die of measles and children are impaired by measles. “It puts children in hospital. The reality it is that this is happening now, in Wales. Measles is very contagious.”
She said the outbreak was set to be the biggest in Wales since the MMR vaccine was introduced in 1988.
I’m a little late to the game, but this is just too much fun.
At what point do start to hold antivaxxers responsible? I ask, because we’re on the verge of a record year for measles in Australia: in Victoria, 11 cases have been reported in 2009 so far. That’s far more more than in 2006 and 2007 combined, and under extrapolation is as bad as an outbreak in 1999 where over 100 cases were reported.
As if that weren’t enough, Switzerland has had 22 cases reported in two days.
Is antivax rhetoric to blame here? The Australian article doesn’t say how many of these people were not vaccinated; several were adults, so they should have been vaccinated well before this craze of linking vaccines to health problems started up. But some kids were on that list, and I wonder if they were vaccinated, and if not, why not.
However, for the outbreak in Switzerland, it does look like antivaccination insanity is to blame
LONDON (Reuters) – Measles cases in England and Wales rose by more than 70 percent in 2008 from the previous year, mostly because of unvaccinated children, government health officials said on Friday.
The number of reported measles cases in England and Wales rose to 1,348 in 2008, from 990 a year earlier, Britain’s Health Protection Agency said.
At the same time, the number of children who have received their first dose of the vaccine by their second birthday has risen to about 80 percent.
But that is still well below the 95 percent vaccination coverage needed to confer so-called herd immunity to people in the general population who do not receive the vaccines.
GENEVA (Reuters) – More children in Germany must be vaccinated against measles to prevent another widespread outbreak, a World Health Organization (WHO) study published on Monday said.
More than 12,000 people were infected with measles three years ago in Germany, Romania, Britain, Switzerland and Italy in an unusual epidemic caused by relatively low immunization rates against the contagious viral disease.
“The 2006 measles outbreak … must be regarded as a wake-up call,” experts from Berlin’s Robert Koch Institute and two German public health centers said in the latest WHO Bulletin, in a study that focused only on Germany.
They said vaccination coverage rates remain dangerously low, putting children at continuing risk of the viral disease that killed 197,000 people in 2007.
“Immediate nationwide school-based catch-up vaccination campaigns targeting older age groups are needed to close critical immunity gaps,” the researchers said, noting German children aged 10 to 14 were most affected in the 2006 outbreak.
I’m in a hospital bed, gasping for breath. Through the clear plastic of an oxygen tent, I see my Mom. Her face is red and she’s crying and crying. I feel hot. Every few hours a nurse opens the oxygen tent and gives me a shot. It hurts.
It’s 1959. I’m in second grade. I’d caught the measles, just like my brothers and sisters and friends. Except unlike them, my measles didn’t go away. It got worse and turned into something I’d never heard of: pneumonia. I spent a month in the hospital, survived, and spent a few more months recovering at home. But more than four million children got measles in the United States in that year and 385 died.
A new study published in PLOS One shows no association between the MMR vaccine and autism or the presence of measles virus in the gut of children with autism and GI symptoms. This is yet more evidence against the claim that the MMR vaccine is responsible for some autism cases. Of course, no one study can clearly settle a complex medical question. The entire literature must be taken as a whole, and when we do this it becomes clear that the evidence is strongly against any association between MMR and autism. This new study is an important addition, and strengthens this conclusion.
This study has some interesting features. The lead author is Mady Hornig – who (until this study) was one of the research darlings of the anti-vaccine crowd. It will be difficult for the anti-vaccinationists to dismiss this study as coming from a vested interest or someone with an agenda, as they have previously be extolling the virtues of this particular researcher. Further, in the press release we learn:
Oh, another blow — among a flurry of them — to people who think vaccines are linked with autism.
Some people were claiming that measles vaccines were linked to incidence of autism. The claim was that the (
killedweakened) measles viruses in the vaccines were getting into the childrens’ bowels. The intestines would then react to the virus, lowering vitamin and other nutrient absorption, which in turn could give rise to development disorders including autism. Measle virus RNA was found in the bowels of children with autism, and there was speculation of a link, though tenuous. The media, of course, ran with this story.
However, a new study shows that the measles virus RNA found in the children with autism (who also had gastrointestinal (GI) disturbances) has nothing to do with the onset of autism spectrum disorder:
Here is another report of an outbreak of a preventable infectious disease in a population with low vaccination rates. This time it’s mumps in Canada in a religious community that believes getting vaccinated shows a lack of faith in the protection of God. I wonder if they feel it is blasphemy to wear a seatbelt, or use sunscreen, wash their hands, cook their food thoroughly, or do any of the common-sense things people should do to reduce their risk of infection or disease.