Anti-vaccine folks like to talk about death and measles, as long as they can talk about vaccine deaths, something they seem to think happens commonly.
“Over the past ten years in the U.S., there has been one reported death from the measles, and it is unclear based on the medical history of the patient whether and how measles played a role in their death. During the same time period (based on Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports), there have been 105 reported deaths associated with the MMR or MMRV vaccinations.”Measles Madness: Dr. Brian Hooker’s Statement to WA Legislators
There are two big problems with this statement, that is so often repeated that it is clearly a PRATT – a point refuted a thousand times.
The reports in VAERS about deaths after MMR are not proof of a cause-and-effect relationship.
“Reports of all possible associations between vaccines and adverse events (possible side effects) are filed in VAERS. Therefore, VAERS collects data on any adverse event following vaccination, be it coincidental or truly caused by a vaccine. The report of an adverse event to VAERS is not documentation that a vaccine caused the event.”Guide to Interpreting VAERS Data
In fact, studies have shown that most of the reports of deaths submitted to VAERS are coincidental and not causally associated with a vaccine.
But what about deaths following a natural measles infection?
There are plenty of those that anti-vaccine folks love to ignore.
Where are they?
These deaths are all in the CDC Wonder database.
Before the death of the woman in Washington in 2015, the CDC caused a lot of confusion by stating that “the last verifiable death in the United States from acute measles infection occurred in 2003 when there were 2 reported deaths.”
Does that mean that the measles deaths in 2005, 2009, 2010, and 2012 didn’t happen?
Of course not!
The information in the CDC Wonder database comes from death certificates that are sent in from all over the United States to the National Vital Statistics System (did they miss the 2015 measles death of the woman in Washington?). The system isn’t like VAERS though, where just anyone can send in a report. Still, they are unverified, which is why the CDC doesn’t mention them all.
Still, if anti-vaccine folks are going to push VAERS reports that we know are likely coincidental, then they shouldn’t ignore these measles deaths.
The Last Measles Death
And what about the fact that someone died during the large measles outbreaks of 2019?
In 2019, we had at least 1,282 cases of measles in the United States – the greatest number of cases since 1992.
During these outbreaks:
- eighty-nine percent of measles patients were unvaccinated or had an unknown vaccination status
- 10% were hospitalized, including several who were admitted to the ICU
- only 6% were imported from other countries, unlike most other years when most cases are import related
And tragically, at least one person died.
One person in the United States…
“Measles surged worldwide in 2019 reaching highest number of reported cases in 23 years.”Worldwide measles deaths climb 50% from 2016 to 2019 claiming over 207 500 lives in 2019
Worldwide, over 207,500 people died with in 2019 with measles a vaccine-preventable disease.
More About Measles Deaths in the United States
- When Was the Last Measles Death in the United States?
- The Myth That Measles Isn’t Deadly
- Who Dies with Measles?
- News on the Latest Measles Outbreaks of 2019
- Timeline of the Measles Outbreak in Brooklyn
- The Rockland County Measles Outbreak is Ending
- The Pacific Northwest Measles Outbreak of 2019
- Who Is ‘Patient Zero’ in the 2019 Measles Outbreaks?
- The Timeline of the Measles Epidemic in Samoa
- Where Is Measles on the Rise?
- Remembering Measles
- Costs of a Measles Outbreak
- Guide to Interpreting VAERS Data
- MMWR – Epidemiology of Measles — United States, 2001–2003
- MMWR – Notes from the Field: Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis Death — Oregon, 2015
- Yep, measles is still a killing disease
- Measles Doesn’t Kill, Except When It Does
- A Death from Measles
- Cruel delayed death from measles
- sadly – another: Aliana has SSPE
- Yep, measles is still a killing disease
- SSPE: A Deadly and Not-That-Rare Complication of Measles
- Yes, California children are dying of measles. Today. It’s called SSPE.
- CDC – Wonder Online Databases
- WHO – Worldwide measles deaths climb 50% from 2016 to 2019 claiming over 207 500 lives in 2019