Tag: measles outbreaks

January 18 – This Day in Vaccine History

Would folks be more likely to get vaccinated and protected if they remembered what it was like in the pre-vaccine era?

Since anti-vaccine folks like to make it sound like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and everything else are caused by vaccines, will they be surprised to know that in addition to now vaccine-preventable diseases, they were big killers in the pre-vaccine era?
Since anti-vaccine folks like to make it sound like cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and everything else are caused by vaccines, will they be surprised to know that in addition to now vaccine-preventable diseases, they were big killers in the pre-vaccine era?

A lot of people died of diseases that are now vaccine-preventable, and no, you can’t simply thank better hygiene and nutrition instead of vaccines for saving all of those lives.

A lot of people were still getting smallpox in 1920.
A lot of people were still getting smallpox in 1920.

Since the smallpox vaccine has been around for hundreds of years, can you believe that people were still getting and dying of smallpox 100 years ago?

How about 50 years ago?

January 18, 1970 - everyone was excited about all of the progress that was being made in getting smallpox under control.
January 18, 1970 – everyone was excited about all of the progress that was being made in getting smallpox under control.

That’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, as it was long known how to control smallpox with quarantines and vaccination.

On January 18, 1870, the Chicago Tribune described how Chicago was getting smallpox under control - by getting folks vaccinated.
On January 18, 1870, the Chicago Tribune described how Chicago was getting smallpox under control – by getting folks vaccinated.

Still, it took a long time before smallpox was finally declared eradicated.

And with smallpox under control, fifty years ago, many communities were eager to get kids vaccinated and protected to stop measles.

This paper in Nebraska announced "Stop Measles Day" on January 18, 1970.
This paper in Nebraska announced “Stop Measles Day” on this day in vaccine history – January 18, 1970.

Something changed once we got these diseases under control though.

Can you guess what it was?

Todd Wiley was convicted of manslaughter for shaking his child, but his “DPT defense” made the papers for months, including this article on January 18, 1995.

There were more and more vaccine scare stories in the media. Initially they were about the DPT vaccine and they then moved on to MMR once Andrew Wakefield hit the scene.

The Disneyland measles outbreak was well underway on January 18, 2015.

And even though none of the stories were true, that didn’t stop them from influencing people.

Have we learned our lesson?

Do we need to repeat history?

Vaccines are safe, with few risks, and are obviously necessary.

Anti-vax groups are raising money in Maine and elsewhere to influence parents and politicians and new vaccine laws.
Anti-vax groups are raising money in Maine and elsewhere to influence parents and politicians and new vaccine laws.

Vaccinate and protect your kids. Don’t bring back these deadly diseases.

More on History of Vaccines

News on the Latest Measles Outbreaks of 2020

There is no doubt that 2019 was a bad year for measles.

This was the most measles cases in one year since 1992!
This was the most measles cases in one year since 1992!

Let’s hope for better things in 2020…

Measles Outbreaks in 2020

Unfortunately, it only took a few days for the report of our first case…

  • a Northeastern University student exposed others to measles in Boston (Jan 3 to 6)

We broke several records for measles in 2019.

What kind of year will this be?

Get vaccinated and protected so that you don't get caught up in a measles outbreak.
Get vaccinated and protected so that you don’t get caught up in a measles outbreak.

Even more importantly, are you vaccinated and protected with two doses of MMR?

For More Information On Measles Outbreaks of 2020:

Bob Sears Was Right

Are you surprised that I think Bob Sears was right about something?

This quote about measles returning was eventually removed from the first edition of his vaccine book that was published in 2007.
This quote about measles returning was eventually removed from the first edition of his vaccine book that was published in 2007.

You shouldn’t be…

Bob Sears Was Right

Unfortunately, one of the few things he was right about is the only thing most folks didn’t seem to hear.

“With the growing mistrust of vaccinations in our country, more and more parents are saying no to vaccines. They’re refusing all vaccines altogether. And I think if more and more parents keep making those decisions, we’re going to run into a lot of trouble with these diseases. Illnesses that are very rare right now, that most parents don’t have to fear, could escalate and could start killing babies left and right if fewer and fewer parents are vaccinating.”

Dr. Robert W. Sears: Why Partial Vaccinations May Be an Answer

He repeatedly warned that measles and other diseases would come back if parents didn’t vaccinate their kids.

“As parents’ fears of vaccines grow, I think we may see fewer and fewer parents decide to vaccinate. And then we could see what used to be very rare illnesses become more common. We might see measles escalate. We might see diphtheria come back into the United States. God forbid, we might see polio come back. Then children are going to start dying. And then a lot of those parents that had chosen not to vaccinate might change their mind, and they might start vaccinating again, and then new parents might be more inclined to vaccinate their babies if we see these diseases come back.

Now, I hope and pray that doesn’t happen. I hope that we can maintain adequate herd immunity in our country so we don’t see these diseases return. But that worry of diseases coming back into our country, and the worry of diseases running rampant and killing a lot of babies, I don’t think that supersedes the parents’ basic right to choose what they want to do for their children. And if parents want to accept the disease risk because they don’t trust the vaccines, I think they have the right to make that choice.”

Dr. Robert W. Sears: Why Partial Vaccinations May Be an Answer

Were you surprised when they did?

“Why is it that every time there are a few cases of measles, everyone panics? I just don’t get it.”

Bob Sears

And predictably, folks like Sears have downplayed their return.

“This measles outbreak does not pose a great risk to a healthy child. And quite frankly I don’t think it poses any risk to a healthy child.”

Jay Gordon on Doctor explains why he lets kids avoid the measles vaccine

Were you expecting them to start recommending that kids get vaccinated and protected?

Larry Palevsky spoke at an anti-vax rally in New York during their record setting measles outbreak.

Ironically, folks like Bob Sears thought they were helping to get more kids vaccinated by pushing their non-standard, parent-selected, delayed protection vaccine schedules, but in reality, all they did was scare parents even more.

To be fair, Bob Sears wasn’t the only person to predict the return of vaccine-preventable diseases.

“I do believe sadly it’s going to take some diseases coming back to realize that we need to change and develop vaccines that are safe. If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f*cking fault that the diseases are coming back. They’re making a product that’s sh*t. If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.”

Jenny McCarthy on Autism and Vaccines

Nor the only person folks blame…

But he may have been one of the first to predict what would happen if parents actually listened to what he was saying…

More on Bob Sears and the Return of Measles

Does Measles Protection from the MMR Vaccine Wane Over Time?

Why do some parents think that measles protection from the MMR vaccine might wane over time?

Yup – misinformation from the usual suspects.

Does Measles Protection from the MMR Vaccine Wane Over Time?

Wait, how can this be misinformation if they are citing a source and it is a study published by the CDC?

“The results, published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, show that even after being previously vaccinated twice for measles, about 35% of vaccinated 7-year-olds and 60% of vaccinated 15-year-olds are susceptible to subclinical infection with measles virus.”

Physicians for Informed Consent: CDC Data Shows Immunity from the MMR Vaccine Wanes Over Time

While that doesn’t sound good, that’s not what the study really says!

“A rise in the proportion of persons with low antibody levels suggests an increase in potential susceptibility, but low titers are unlikely to represent the same risk of illness or viral transmission as absent antibodies.”

LeBaron et al on Persistence of Measles Antibodies After 2 Doses of Measles Vaccine in a Postelimination Environment

They are clearly misinterpreting what the study does say and mean.

“In summary, we found that, in a population of children who had received 2 doses of measles vaccine at ages and intervals consistent with US policy and who were unlikely to have been exposed to wild-type measles, potential susceptibility rates were low for as long as 10 years after the second dose.”

LeBaron et al on Persistence of Measles Antibodies After 2 Doses of Measles Vaccine in a Postelimination Environment

The funny thing is that the study is about what happens to vaccine induced immunity in the absence of exogenous boosting.

In other words, what happens when vaccines get diseases under good control so that we are no longer exposed to wild disease which can give our antibody levels a little boost.

So they are highlighting a study that proves that vaccines work and fortunately, it concludes that “measles antibody persists,” even without exogenous boosting.

The other study they cite discusses a measles outbreak in Japan.

In the 2018 outbreak, 99 people got measles.

“A recent outbreak of measles in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan ended with 33 measles cases whose symptoms were masked because of insufficient protection against the disease (modified measles).”

Mizumoto et al on Transmission potential of modified measles during an outbreak, Japan, March‒May 2018

Only 10 were fully vaccinated with two doses of measles vaccine. An additional 20 had one dose.

“Symptoms in modified measles cases are masked, so they do not present with the full (typical) symptoms of measles (fever, maculo-papular rash and catarrhal symptoms such as cough, coryza or conjunctivitis) and their transmission risk is reported to be lower.”

Mizumoto et al on Transmission potential of modified measles during an outbreak, Japan, March‒May 2018

While many vaccines do lead to milder disease, even if the vaccine doesn’t provide full protection, we don’t typically see that with measles, except for rare case reports.

So instead of modified measles, it is possible that many of these folks were simply very recently vaccinated, likely in response to the outbreak, and were having a vaccine reaction.

Remember, measles containing vaccines do commonly cause a fever and rash as a side effect. That’s why we sometimes see vaccine strain measles in outbreak reports. These aren’t typically people with measles or modified measles.

“This case report adds further evidence for lower infectivity of modified measles with no secondary cases and highlights the potential requirement for updated contact tracing recommendations in this scenario. Other case reports have shown that individuals with modified measles and history of prior vaccination have more robust levels of plaque reduction neutralisation (PRN) titre, reflecting an immunity booster response. These case studies also identified no secondary cases. In measles outbreak reports in healthcare workers with two documented MMR vaccines, no onward transmission of measles has been reported.”

Uren et al on Modified measles with an atypical presentation

Still, although it would be better if vaccines prevented disease and you would get sick at all, when they don’t, isn’t a modified case better than getting full blown measles?

And the bottom line is that the so-called Physicians for Informed Consent is once again misleading people if they are trying to make them think that the MMR vaccine will wane and that “Nearly 50% of Vaccinated U.S. Schoolchildren Can Become Infected With and Spread Measles.”

The only school where you will find that nearly 50% of the kids are susceptible to measles is likely a Waldorf school. But that’s only because they won’t be vaccinated and protected.

More on Waning Immunity