Traditionally, the time when measles case counts are the highest occurs:
during the late winter and early spring (temperate climates, like the United States)
after the rainy season (tropical climates)
when kids are in school
So just like flu season, it’s always measles season somewhere…
And in areas of the world where measles is still highly endemic, you can expect cycles of larger measles epidemics every 1 to 4 years.
Can you guess why?
“As higher uniform population immunity is achieved the scale of epidemics, both their duration and absolute number of cases, progressively decreases. Epidemic frequency simultaneously decreases with increasing time intervals between epidemics. Another uniform feature as elimination is approached is the loss of epidemic seasonality.”
Durrheim et al on Measles – The epidemiology of elimination
I’ll give you a hint – there is nothing different about the measles virus during those years.
Eventually though, as the number of people susceptible to measles builds up, there is the opportunity for bigger outbreaks. Of course, that doesn’t happen if most people are vaccinated and protected.
“Source countries included Philippines (14 cases), Ukraine (8), Israel (5), Thailand (3), Vietnam (2), Germany (2), and one importation each from Algeria, France, India, Lithuania, Russia, and the United Kingdom.”
Increase in Measles Cases — United States, January 1–April 26, 2019
In the early part of 2019, we saw a lot of cases because unvaccinated travelers were returning from Philippines, Ukraine, and Israel, countries in peak measles season.
As cases in those countries hopefully slow down over the summer, unfortunately, we might see a rise in other parts of the world.
Of course, there is an easy way to end our measles seasons once and for all.
Get vaccinated and protected, especially before traveling out of the country.
Measles deaths are on the rise too. While the risk of complications of measles can be reduced with vitamin A treatment, that doesn’t eliminate them. And the benefit is mostly in those who are already vitamin A deficient. Vitamin A has a much more modest effect in developed countries, where measles deaths still occur.
What to reduce your child’s risk of dying from measles?
So do they understand that reason behind the deaths is because those folks were unvaccinated?
It is anything and everything except that they weren’t vaccinated!
And that they aren’t in America!
So what’s wrong with their thinking?
To start, these countries aren’t underdeveloped!
Brazil and the Philippines are newly industrialized countries and while Ukraine is considered a developing country, it is hardly the developing country without sanitation and nutrition that these folks make it out to be.
The problem in all of these countries isn’t a lack of nutrition, clean water, or health care. It is that too many folks are unvaccinated!
That becomes easier to see when you look at where else we are seeing a lot of measles deaths – the rest of Europe.
In the past 12 months, there have been 22 deaths from measles in Romania, Italy, France, and Greece.
Are folks in Italy suffering from malnutrition? Do they not have clean water?
Although Romania is a developing country, it isn’t a lack of clean water and sanitation that is causing measles deaths. It is that too many people in Romania are unvaccinated!