Measles Outbreak – Evolution in Action

Julien Harneis - Child with Measles
“Child with Measles,” Julien Harneis

CDC Confirms 84 Cases of Measles

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Good job, Anti-Vaxxers. Measles is back in the USA. For years, scientists have warned that the anti-vaccination movement was going to cause epidemics of disease. The way that vaccines work effectively is for everyone to get them. “When more than 90% of the population is vaccinated, we have “herd immunity” – this means the disease can’t spread because there aren’t enough susceptible people in the community.” Anti-Vaxxers are weakening this herd immunity. Babies cannot be vaccinated against measles. Anti-Vaxxers behavior is putting the lives of infants at risk.

Freedom should be the ability to do whatever you want as long as you do not hurt anyone else. Unvaccinated children are a risk to babies who cannot be protected from measles. Should the “refusing to vaccinate” be a right of some people, if other weaker individuals in society are being put a risk by this refusal? Do we have a duty to protect the weakest amongst us?

Measles Cases and Outbreaks
Measles Cases and Outbreaks

Measles is highly contagious – 90% of people without immunity sharing living space with an infected person will catch it. Measles is also more dangerous for adults. This should worry people. Measles is a dangerous disease that could lead to deafness, brain damage, or death.

Facts about measles vaccination (PDF)
pdf, 2.41Mb

According to the World Health Organization

  • Measles is one of the leading causes of death among young children even though a safe and cost-effective vaccine is available.
  • In 2013, there were 145,700 measles deaths globally – about 400 deaths every day or 16 deaths every hour.
    Measles vaccination resulted in a 75% drop in measles deaths between 2000 and 2013 worldwide.
  • In 2013, about 84% of the world’s children received one dose of measles vaccine by their first birthday through routine health services – up from 73% in 2000.
  • During 2000-2013, measles vaccination prevented an estimated 15.6 million deaths making measles vaccine one of the best buys in public health.

Fact sheet N°286

Do Anti-Vaxxers want everyone to stop vaccinating?

In 1980, before widespread vaccination, measles caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths each year. The disease remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine. Approximately 145,700 people died from measles in 2013 – mostly children under the age of 5. I am not sure what the goal of anti-vaxxers is. Should everyone stop vaccinating? The science shows that autism is not caused by vaccinations. Therefore, what is the purpose of not vaccinating children? In 2015, do we want to see the world return to having 2.6 million preventable deaths each year?

Will people die during this outbreak?

It is unknown how many people will contract measles in the United States during this most recent outbreak. It is unknown how many people will die. In other countries, there were casualties.

Thanks for the Measles, Mom!
Thanks for the Measles, Mom!

Beginning in April 2009, there was a large outbreak of measles in Bulgaria, with over 24,000 cases including 24 deaths. That means that those infected in the Bulgarian outbreak had a 1:1000 chance of dying.

In early 2010, there was a serious outbreak of measles in the Philippines with 742 cases including 4 deaths. Those infected during the Philippine outbreak had a 1:185.5 chance of dying. In late 2013, it was reported in the Philippines that 6,497 measles cases occurred which resulted in 23 deaths. Those infected has a 1:282 chance of dying.

In late 2013, it was reported in the Philippines that 6,497 measles cases occurred which resulted in 23 deaths. Those infected has a 1:282 chance of dying.

In 2014 many unvaccinated US citizens visiting the Philippines, and other countries, contracted measles, resulting in 288 cases being recorded in the United States in the first five months of 2014, a twenty-year high.

There are more measles outbreak statistics available at Wikipedia.

Photo Attribution: “Child with Measles,” Julien Harneis CC by 2.0, CDC/NIP/Barbara Rice – (ID#: 132)

Reality Check

Reality Check: Science Deniers Threaten Our Future

by Donald R. Prothero with Michael Shermer and Pat Linse
The battles over evolution, climate change, childhood vaccinations, and the causes of AIDS, alternative medicine, oil shortages, population growth, and the place of science in our country—all are reaching a fevered pitch. Many people and institutions have exerted enormous efforts to misrepresent or flatly deny demonstrable scientific reality to protect their nonscientific ideology, their power, or their bottom line. To shed light on this darkness, Donald R. Prothero explains the scientific process and why society has come to rely on science not only to provide a better life but also to reach verifiable truths no other method can obtain. He describes how major scientific ideas that are accepted by the entire scientifi88c community (evolution, anthropogenic global warming, vaccination, the HIV cause of AIDS, and others) have been attacked with totally unscientific arguments and methods. Prothero argues that science deniers pose a serious threat to society, as their attempts to subvert the truth have resulted in widespread scientific ignorance, increased risk of global catastrophes, and deaths due to the spread of diseases that could have been prevented.

Map of USA - Measles
Map of USA – Measles (Feb 2, 2015)

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