Tag: hiding in the herd

Who Is ‘Patient Zero’ in the 2019 Measles Outbreaks?

As we climb to ever higher case counts in the 2019 measles outbreaks, you might be wondering who to blame?

Who started the outbreaks?

How Does ‘Patient Zero’ Start a Measles Outbreaks?

As you have likely guessed, there is no one person who started all of this year’s outbreaks. Well, maybe there is. After all, who is responsible for so many folks not getting vaccinated?

In most cases though, we do know who started the outbreak – the “patient zero.”

And it is almost always an unvaccinated traveler, typically a US resident, who got measles abroad and brought it back into the U.S.

What happens next? If they expose a lot of people in an area with low vaccination levels, then you can expect a big outbreak. On the other hand, if most people are vaccinated and protected, you might not see any more cases in that area.

Who Is ‘Patient Zero’ in the 2019 Measles Outbreaks?

So who are these folks?

This year's measles cases are spread out in outbreaks in 26 different states. So there isn't only one patient zero...
This year’s measles cases are spread out in outbreaks in 26 different states. So there isn’t only one patient zero…

They aren’t people who had been recently vaccinated are giving others vaccine strain measles through shedding! That doesn’t happen.

Instead, at least 44 people triggered separate outbreaks after traveling from the Philippines, Ukraine, Israel, Thailand, Vietnam, Germany, Algeria, France, India, Lithuania, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

The 2019 measles outbreaks include the:

  • Rockland Outbreak – an unvaccinated teenager brought measles to Rockland County in September 2018 from Israel.
  • Brooklyn Outbreak – the initial case in Brooklyn was unvaccinated and got measles in October 2018 on a visit to Israel. Measles was reintroduced into the community at least six other times though, four cases were also acquired on visits to Israel, while two people got measles from the U.K., and one from Ukraine.
  • Pacific Northwest Outbreak – a child who had traveled from Ukraine to Washington was the first confirmed case and likely source of the Pacific Northwest measles outbreak.
  • Michigan Outbreak – a traveler from Brooklyn started the Michigan measles outbreak.
  • Northern California Outbreak – a “cluster” of cases in Butte, Tehama, and Shasta counties that was started by a traveler who had recently been to the Philippines.
  • Puget Sound Outbreak – triggered by a Canadian resident who traveled to Seattle, after completing a trip to Japan and New York, where he likely became infected.

Why is it important to find patient zero and know who started an outbreak?

Mostly, it helps you find everyone who was exposed to measles and hopefully limit and quickly control the outbreak.

Make sure you are fully vaccinated and protected, with two doses of MMR, before your next trip so that you're not the next patient zero.
Make sure you are fully vaccinated and protected, with two doses of MMR, before your next trip.

It should also remind everyone that the easiest way to avoid getting measles and avoid triggering an outbreak, is to get vaccinated and protected, especially if you plan on traveling out of the country.

More on Who Is ‘Patient Zero’ in the 2019 Measles Outbreaks?

The Puget Sound Measles Outbreak

Breaking News – there is a new case in King County (see below)

Everyone is likely familiar with the large outbreaks that we have been seeing this year in New York (Brooklyn and Rockland County), Michigan, and the Pacific Northwest.

There have already been 79 cases of measles in Washington so far this year.
There have already been 79 cases of measles in Washington so far this year.

After all, those outbreaks make up the majority of measles cases that have occured so far this year.

The Puget Sound Measles Outbreak

Have you heard of the latest outbreak?

This one, also centered in the Pacific Northwest, began with exposures to a traveler with measles at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on April 25.

“A Canadian resident from British Columbia who traveled to the Seattle area in late April 2019 has been diagnosed with measles. The traveler, a man in his 40s, has since recovered from his illness.

Prior to arriving in King County, he spent time in Japan and New York during the period that he was infected, two places that currently have measles outbreaks. This case has no connection to the recently-ended measles outbreak based in Clark County, Washington state.

While he was infectious with measles, he spent time in the Seattle area at several locations, including popular tourist attractions and Sea-Tac Airport. Anyone who does not have immunity to measles through vaccination or from previously having measles is at risk for infection if they were at a location of measles exposure.”

Measles case in traveler to King County

Those exposures have led to cases in:

  • King County – 6
  • Pierce County – 2
  • Snohomish County – 1

The latest case is a six-month old infant in King County, with exposures at the Seattle Children’s Hospital Emergency Dept on May 24.

“This case was a household contact of a person diagnosed with measles earlier this month, and was not exposed to measles in the community.”

A new case of measles diagnosed in a King County resident

With exposures in Bothell, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Orting, Bonney Lake, Puyallup, Renton, Auburn, Issaquah, Woodinville, Kent, and Seattle.

And that’s what has led to the name Puget Sound outbreak. The Puget Sound is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, near Everett, Olympia, Seattle, and Tacoma.

How big will this outbreak get?

Immunization rates in the Puget Sound area are a bit better than in Clark County, where the last Pacific Northwest outbreak was centered.
Immunization rates in the Puget Sound area are a bit better than in Clark County, where the last Pacific Northwest outbreak was centered.

It’s anyone’s guess at this point, keeping in mind that all it would take is for one of these exposures to be in a “pocket of susceptibles” with low immunization rates to start a big outbreak.

And all it would take to stop the outbreaks is for folks to get vaccinated and protected, understanding that vaccines are safe and necessary.

More on the Puget Sound Measles Outbreak

Fact Checking the Truth About Vaccination Rates in California

In general, higher immunization rates should translate into lower rates of disease.

And it is true that in most states, including California, overall immunization rates are up.

So what’s happening?

Fact Checking the Truth About Vaccination Rates in California

Everyone knows what’s happening!

Clusters of unvaccinated kids and adults.

Pockets of susceptibles.

Abuse and overuse of vaccine exemptions.

And folks who continue to scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

There are measles outbreaks in this part of northern California...
There are measles outbreaks in this part of northern California…

What’s the truth about California’s immunization rates and the reason they are still having outbreaks of measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases?

“Oh, but wait! What do you mean we have higher vaccination coverage NOW than we did back then? How can that be? I thought rates have been declining steadily for two decades putting us in a terrible position of falling wayyyy below herd immunity levels!?

I thought the reason we are now “in danger of disease outbreaks” is because of the increasing number of children being exempted from vaccines? Hold on, wait. You’re telling me there are LESS kids exempted now than there were in the year 2000 when we were free of outbreaks because of “high vaccination rates”? That can’t be right…can it?”

Melissa Floyd

You aren’t going to get it from anti-vaccine folks

73% is actually pretty good for a Waldorf school!
73% is actually pretty good for a Waldorf school!

But it’s not surprising that you get misinformation about herd immunity from folks who think vaccines don’t actually create herd immunity.

And it shouldn’t be surprising that you can’t hide in the herd when your herd is a cluster of unvaccinated kids at a Waldorf school.

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary. Vaccinate your kids and help stop the outbreaks.

More on Fact Checking the Truth About Vaccination Rates in California

Did Bob Sears admit that he doesn’t “waste my breath” talking about the benefits of vaccines?

Have you noticed the bias in the anti-vaccine movement?

His advocacy against vaccines??? And what about his "educational" writings?!?
His advocacy against vaccines??? And what about his “educational” writings?!?

It’s hard to miss…

The Bias in the Anti-Vaccine Movement

Yes, that’s it.

You really only get one side from anti-vaccine folks.

But that’s not all.

In addition to never mentioning the benefits of vaccines, they make you think that:

  • you don’t have to worry about getting measles, chicken pox, and rubella, etc., anymore, because these diseases are rare, forgetting to mention that they are still relatively rare in many countries because most people are vaccinated and protected! When more folks skip or delay their vaccines, as they forget what these diseases are like and they listen to anti-vaccine propaganda, we get outbreaks, especially when they aren’t vaccinated and they travel to places where the diseases are more common!
  • everyone else overlooks the risks, when in fact, the risks of getting vaccinated and protected are just small and all of the so-called vaccine-induced diseases and other things anti-vaccine folks blame on vaccines aren’t real vaccine injuries
  • you don’t have to worry about getting measles, pertussis, or pneumococcal disease, etc., because those diseases are all mild, neglecting to mention that some people do have complications and some die when they catch them
  • if you don’t choose to vaccinate your kids on your own, someone is going to force you to get them vaccinated, overlooking that vaccine mandates don’t actually force anyone to vaccinate their kids – they are just about whether or not intentionally unvaccinated kids should be able to attend school
  • your choice to skip or delay your child’s vaccines won’t affect anyone else, failing to mention that most outbreaks are started by someone who is intentionally not vaccinated
  • if there is a risk, there must be a choice, but with their slogan, they overstate the risks of vaccines, never mention the risks of having the disease, and don’t mention the risk of your child getting other people sick, taking away their choice to keep their kids safe and healthy
  • you can always get vaccinated, but you can never get unvaccinated, neglecting to mention that you can indeed wait too long to vaccinate your kids

The biggest bias though, is not that these folks are against vaccines, but rather that everything they do and say scares parents and makes them feel that they should skip or delay their child’s vaccines, leaving them unprotected and at risk.

Stop listening to them and stop spreading their anti-vaccine propaganda.

More on the Bias in the Anti-Vaccine Movement