Worldwide, 2.4 million people died from measles in 1963, the year a vaccine was finally developed. With vaccinations, the worldwide death rate dropped to 110,000 in 2017, and measles had been completely eliminated within many countries, including the U.S. in 2000. Since then, complacency and irrational fears of the effect of vaccinations, fueled by the hysteria of an “anti-vax” movement (including from Russian bots), led to declining U.S. vaccination rates. That was all measles needed to come back with a vengeance. In the first five months of 2019, over 1,000 cases of measles have been diagnosed in 28 states.
Many people wrongly believe measles is not a very serious disease. Before the 1963 vaccine, almost every American child had measles, like other childhood infectious diseases, and only 400 to 500 deaths were reported, equating to a death rate of about one in 10,000. But that is seriously erroneous because measles has been greatly underreported, perhaps by a factor of 10. In a 1989-1992 outbreak, 57,859 cases of measles were reported, resulting in 127 deaths, working out to a death rate of almost exactly two deaths per 1,000 cases of measles, or 0.2 percent. Again, that does not seem too serious, but there is more.
Based on 1963 data, for every 1,000 reported cases of measles, 96 were hospitalized, four developed brain-damaging encephalitis, and two died. Adding the rate of encephalitis to the death rate equates to six dead or brain-damaged children for every 1,000 reported cases of measles. Still, that is not all.
Scientists have learned that measles conducts an all-out attack on one’s immune system, wiping it clean of memories of past infections, leaving one vulnerable to all other infections for months or years.
Apparently, once the measles virus enters a person’s airways, it targets immune cells in the nose, throat, eyes and lungs that are decorated with a protein called CD150, which allows the virus to invade, after which it rapidly replicates and then spreads throughout the body to other immune cells. The result is an immune system that is weakened long after the recovery from measles.
Based on data from the UK, a few months after being diagnosed with measles, children were about three times more likely to be prescribed medication for other types of infections than were those who had not had measles. This spike in vulnerability declined in a few months, but even years afterward it was shown that the children with measles remained more vulnerable to infections than children who never had measles.
Over roughly the past dozen years in the U.S., about 126 million doses of measles vaccine were given, and 284 people filed claims for damage from these vaccinations. About half of these claims were dismissed while only 143 were compensated. On the flip side, the Centers for Disease Control has estimated that over a 20-year period, vaccinations for 15 infectious diseases, including measles, prevented more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children.
It should be clear to any thinking person that it is exceedingly foolish and irresponsible to give in to this anti-vax movement. Every person without a validated medical reason needs to be vaccinated, for the health and safety of themselves as well as others.