Tag: measles epidemic

Remembering the Measles Epidemics of the 1990s

A lot of folks are talking about how we are seeing record numbers of measles cases this year, the most since we declared the end to the endemic spread of measles in the United States in 2000.

Believe it or not though, the record goes back further than that.

We have already seen the most cases since 1994.

That’s a 25 year record!

Remembering the Measles Epidemics of the 1990s

Do not leave your child unprotected!

And trust me, we don’t want to surpass any records beyond that!

If we do break those records, reaching thousands of cases this year, then we will reach epidemic levels of measles.

And many of us who know what that means, remembering that there were 55,622 cases of measles and 123 deaths in the United States between 1989 and 1991, a time when we had good nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and health care…

What else did we have?

A lot of unvaccinated kids!

But we learned our lesson, got more kids vaccinated, and eliminated the endemic spread of measles.

We even got to a record low of measles cases, just 37 cases in 2004!

Will we ever beat that record?

Remember when our state Legislatures worked to protect us from infectious diseases, instead of trying to pass laws that make it easier for kids to skip or delay their vaccines?

And then parents forgot how bad measles could be and that made it easier to believe in all of the misinformation of people like Andrew Wakefield, Bob Sears, Jenny McCarthy, and the new breed of anti-vaccine social media influencers who are scaring parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids.

Long story short, measles is back

Fortunately, there are many people who remember and won’t let us repeat the mistakes of the past.

Many parents remember and they vaccinate and protect their kids.

Most pediatricians remember.

We remember and know that vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary. And we don’t want to wait until people start to die before more parents vaccinate their kids.

If you don’t remember what it was like when everyone had measles, read some of the stories below…

More on the Measles Epidemics of the 1990s

Why Are Anti-Vaccine Folks Panicking over the Measles Outbreaks?

Do you sense something in the air?

No, it’s not measles.

Ever notice that it is folks who don't vaccinate who use words like epidemic and panic whenever we have large measles outbreaks?
Ever notice that it is folks who don’t vaccinate who use words like epidemic and panic whenever we have large measles outbreaks?

It is talk of panic about measles.

Why Are Anti-Vaccine Folks Panicking over the Measles Outbreaks?

I’m not panicking.

I am definitively concerned about these outbreaks, because I understand that they put a lot of folks at unnecessary risk for getting a life-threatening disease. And I understand that these outbreaks are getting harder and harder to control, but ultimately, since more and more people get vaccinated during an outbreak, they will eventually end.

So why are anti-vaccine folks panicking?

Yes, your immune system gets to a whole new level after a natural measles infection - it resets.
Yes, your immune system gets to a whole new level after a natural measles infection – it resets.

It’s easier to be anti-vaccine and leave your kids unvaccinated and unprotected when you don’t think that you are taking much of a risk.

You likely still know it’s wrong, so cognitive dissonance pushes you to believe that vaccines don’t work, vaccine-preventable diseases aren’t that bad, vaccines are full of poison, or that you can just hide in the herd.

It gets much harder during an outbreak, when you realize that it is almost all intentionally unvaccinated kids getting sick. And typically an intentionally unvaccinated child or adult who starts the outbreak.

Why wait until an outbreak starts to get your kids vaccinated and protected or to start recommending that your patients be vaccinated and protected?
Why wait until an outbreak starts to get your kids vaccinated and protected or to start recommending that your patients be vaccinated and protected?

Is my child going to start an outbreak?

If measles is so mild, why do so many of these folks go to the ER multiple times and why do some of them get hospitalized. Why do people still die with measles?

Full Stop! Someone did die during the 2015 measles outbreaks in Washington.
Full Stop! Someone did die during the 2015 measles outbreaks in Washington.

That’s when the panic starts to set in.

Are you really doing what’s right for your child?

Who are these people I’m getting advice from and what’s their motivation?

The only "mass hysteria" is in anti-vaccine Facebook groups. Is Larry Cook using it to raise money for himself?
The only “mass hysteria” is in anti-vaccine Facebook groups. Is Larry Cook using it to raise money for himself?

Am I really supposed to skip my kid’s MMR because they did a Brady Bunch episode about all of the Brady kids getting measles?

Will I regret not vaccinating my child?

Why don’t any of the people in my Facebook groups who talk about how marvelous measles used to be in the old days talk about how they called it a “harmless killer?”

Of course, there is an easy way to stop worrying and panicking about measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases – get your kids vaccinated and protected. Vaccines are safe and necessary.

More on Measles Panic