In 2015, there was a measles outbreak in the United States (and other countries) that began when someone who had the measles visited Disneyland in California. In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that measles had been eliminated from the Americas (the entire land mass that stretches from Canada to Chile).
But now, measles is back because people are choosing not to vaccinate their children against a dangerous, and preventable, childhood disease. In this blog, I will present facts about measles and the MMR vaccine. This blog also contains a timeline of the measles cases and additional contextual information.
Facts about measles and the MMR vaccine
What is measles?
The Mayo Clinic describes measles as “a childhood infection caused by a virus”. Measles is also called Rubeola. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes Measles this way: “Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus.”
How is measles spread?
According to both the Mayo Clinic and the CDC, measles is spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes and sprays infected droplets into the air and another person breathes in those droplets. A person can also catch the measles virus by touching a surface that had infected droplets on it and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. The measles virus can live for up to two hours in an airspace or on a surface.
People who are infected with measles are contagious from four days before the rash appears to four days after the rash appears. A parent could be unaware that their child has the measles before the rash shows up. The CDC notes that “Measles is so contagious that if one person has it, 90% of the people close to that person who are not immune will become infected.”
What are the symptoms of measles?
Symptoms of measles starts with a fever, dry cough, runny nose, and sore throat. It can also include inflamed eyes (also called conjunctivitis or “pink eye”). At first glance, those symptoms sound a lot like a cold. Many doctors would have diagnosed these symptoms as a cold in part because measles had become quite rare and also because it would have been unlikely that a doctor would have actually seen a patient who had measles.
After the 2015 measles outbreak began, the CDC is started instructing doctors “to consider measles when evaluating patients with febrile rash and ask about a patient’s vaccine status, recent travel history, and contact with individuals who have febrile rash illness.”
The febrile rash mentioned by the CDC is another symptom of measles. The Mayo Clinic describes it as a skin rash made up of large, flat blotches that often flow into one another. Again, by the time this rash appears, the person has been contagious for four days. Another symptom of measles is Koplik’s spots, which the Mayo Clinic describes as “tiny white spots with bluish-white centers on a red background found inside the mouth and inner lining of the cheek.”
What complications can come from having the measles?
Both the Mayo Clinic and the CDC provide a similar list of complications. The CDC includes statistics about how often a complication occurs. Children who are under 5 years of age, and adults who are older than 20 years of age, are more likely to suffer complications after catching the measles.
* Ear Infections – This occurs in about 1 out of every 10 children who have the measles. This complication can result in permanent hearing loss.
* Diarrhea – This occurs in less than 1 out of every 10 people with measles. Obviously, having diarrhea is unpleasant. The World Health Organization points out that the most severe threat posed by diarrhea is dehydration. Severe dehydration can result in death.
* Pneumonia – The American Lung Association points out that pneumonia is not a single disease. It is an infection that happens in one or both of a person’s lungs. Pneumonia can come from germs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi and has more than 30 different causes. About one-third of the pneumonia cases in the United States are caused by respiratory viruses.
The American Lung Association notes that pneumonia has its own potential complications. It can result in respiratory failure (which requires a breathing machine or ventilator). It can result in sepsis, “a condition in which there is uncontrolled inflammation in the body which may lead to widespread organ failure.” It can lead to Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) which is a severe form of respiratory failure. It can use cause lung abscesses (an infrequent, but serious complication of pneumonia). They occur when pockets of pus form inside or around the lung. These pockets may need to be drained with surgery.
Those who are most likely to experience complications from pneumonia include older adults, very young children, people whose immune systems do not work well, and people who have serious medical problems. People who are suffering from other illnesses (such as measles) and who then catch pneumonia, lower their chances of a fast recovery from pneumonia. The CDC notes: “About one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.”
* Encephalitis – The Mayo Clinic points out that about 1 in 1,000 people with measles develop encephalitis. It is an inflammation (or swelling) of the brain that can cause vomiting, convulsions, or (rarely) coma or death. They note that encephalitis can closely follow measles or can occur months later. The CDC notes that encephalitis can cause a child to become deaf or to have intellectual disabilities.
* The Mayo Clinic notes that “If you’re pregnant, you need to take special care to avoid measles because the disease can cause pregnancy loss, preterm labor, or low birth weight”. This is definitely something to keep in mind for moms who are pregnant and who have a child that catches the measles.
* The CDC states: “For every 1,000 children who get the measles, one or two will die from it”.
How to prevent catching the measles.
* The only way to prevent a person from catching measles is to make sure the person is fully vaccinated. The Mayo Clinic points out that people who were born after 1957, and who haven’t been vaccinated, should be vaccinated as soon as possible. They also note that infants older than 6 months should be vaccinated. (There are some people who cannot be vaccinated, and I will get into that a little bit later).
The CDC states that one dose of the measles vaccine is about 93% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus and two doses is about 97% effective at preventing measles if exposed to the virus.
The Mayo Clinic has some advice that will help prevent the spread of measles. If your family member has measles, that person should be isolated. They should not return to work, or school, or other activities where they will interact with people from four days before the rash appears through four days after it has appeared. Make an effort to keep non-immunized people away from the person who has the measles. For example, if an unvaccinated five year old catches the measles, it would be a good idea to keep their younger sibling, who is too young to receive the vaccine, away from the infected child.
What vaccine prevents measles?
The vaccine is called the MMR vaccine. It protects from not only measles but also mumps and rubella.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK explains how the MMR vaccine works: The MMR vaccine contains weakened versions of live measles, mumps, and rubella viruses. The vaccine works by triggering the immune system to produce antibodies against measles, mumps, and rubella. This is how the body develops immunity to measles, mumps and rubella.
What about that study from Andrew Wakefield?
Many of the people who are fearful of the MMR vaccine feel that way because they heard about a study done by Andrew Wakefield that suggested that the MMR vaccine caused children to develop autism. It is important to know that his work has been discredited. The BMJ (British Medical Journal) has extensive details about the study and and explanations about why it was inaccurate. I’ll post a short summary with facts from that source.
* Andrew Wakefield’s study was published in The Lancet in 1988. It was authored by Andrew Wakefield, John Walker-Smith, and 11 others from the Royal Free medical school in London, England. The study reported a proposed “new syndrome” of enterocolitis and regressive autism and associated that “new syndrome” with the MMR vaccine. It suggested that the vaccine was a “precipitating event” that caused autism.
* The study involved 12 developmentally challenged children.
* Three of the nine children in the study who were reported to have regressive autism did not have autism diagnosed at all. Only one child in the study had regressive autism.
* The study claimed that all 12 children were “previously normal” before receiving the MMR vaccine. In reality, five of the children had documented pre-existing developmental issues.
* Nine of the children in the study had unremarkable colonic histopathology results. Their results showed no fluctuations, or minimal fluctuations in inflammatory cell populations. In other words, they did not have the “new syndrome” of enterocolitis.
* The parents whose children were involved in the study were sent to Andrew Wakefield from a group called JABS which stands for “Justice, Awareness & Basic Support”. It is an anti-vaccination group in the UK. Why does that matter? It shows that the small group of children who were involved in the study were specifically selected because their parents distrusted vaccines. It was not a random sample.
* In February of 1998, Andrew Wakefield held a press conference in which he stated that he had “sufficient anxiety” about the MMR vaccine in combination. He suggested that the MMR vaccine should be suspended in favor of the single vaccines.
In 1995, Andrew Wakefield filed a patent for a diagnostic test for Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract. It most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon. (Note: His study did not find that the children had Crohn’s disease, so he made up a “new syndrome” called “autistic enterocolitis”.)
In 1996, a lawyer named Richard Barr was hoping to bring a lawsuit against vaccine manufacturers. He just so happened to also be connected with the JABS anti-vaccine group. He put together a paper with signs that parents should look for and directed parents who thought their children had those signs to contact JABS who would put the parent in touch with Andrew Wakefield. Richard Barr paid the school Wakefield was working in £25000 for a “clinical and scientific study”. This first installment (and subsequent ones) were not disclosed in the study that Wakefield (and others) produced.
In 1997, eight months before Andrew Wakefield’s study (which, as I mentioned, has since been debunked), he filed a patent for a single shot for measles. His business plan aimed to raise £2.1m from investors for the detection of Crohn’s disease, the treatment of autism, and “a replacement for attenuated viral vaccines”.
* 10 of the 13 authors of the study have retracted the findings. In 2010, British authorities stripped Andrew Wakefield of his medical license. The Lancet retracted the paper. The UK’s General Medical Council found Andrew Wakefield guilty of 30 charges, including four counts of dishonesty and 12 of causing children to be subjected to invasive procedures that were clinically unjustified. Several of the children had an ileocolonoscopy which the Medical Dictionary defines as: “endoscopic examination of the distal gastrointestinal tract, including the rectum, colon, and terminal ileum.”
What causes autism?
Autism is not caused by the MMR vaccine. The real cause (or causes) of autism are still being studied. The NHS has a brief summary of what researchers have found regarding autism (or ASD, which stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder).
Scientists aren’t certain about what causes ASD, but it’s likely that both genetics and environment play a role. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain. Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development in early fetal development cause by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function. While these findings are intriguing, they are preliminary and require further study. The theory that paternal practices are responsible for ASD has long been disproven.
What is in the MMR vaccine?
The easiest to understand explanation of the ingredients in the MMR vaccine comes from an article at NBC News. The information comes from Dr. Walt Orenstein, who is a vaccine expert at Emory University and a former assistant surgeon general and former head of the United States Immunization Program. Or, you could read the same information from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
* The MMR vaccine contains attenuated viruses (for measles, mumps, and rubella). A live attenuated virus is one that has been grown in a lab and weakened until it is unable to replicate well (or at all) in human cells. The weakened virus provokes the immune response in the person who has been given the MMR vaccine. It “teaches” the body to fight those viruses and gives the body weakened opponents to fight against as it is learning to recognize those viruses.
* The attenuated measles viruses, and the attenuated mumps viruses, are grown in cultures of chick embryos (which are unhatched live eggs). NOTE: Human embryos are not used in the MMR vaccine.
* The attenuated rubella viruses are grown in the lab from human lung cells. This is a point of confusion for some people. The rubella virus is grown in WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts. A fibroblast is a cell that makes up the structural framework of the extracellular matrix and collagen in animal tissues. It is the cell that creates a framework that holds tissues together.
The original cells in the WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts came from one female human fetus that was aborted at four months of gestation. Leonard Hayflick obtained human lung cells from that fetus in 1962. The cells used to grow the rubella virus that is used in vaccines today are descendants of those original cells.
I think it is important to point out that the cells came from one fetus that was aborted in 1962. Nobody is out harvesting aborted fetuses today in an effort to obtain cells that they want to use in vaccines. There simply is no need to do so.
There are some people who allow their negative views about abortion to influence them to avoid getting their children vaccinated because the MMR vaccine contains attenuated viruses that were grown in cells that descended from cells obtained from an aborted fetus. This viewpoint results in children who are not vaccinated with the MMR vaccine and who are not protected from catching measles, mumps, or rubella.
* The growth medium for measles and mumps is Medium 199. It is made from salt, vitamins, amino acids and fetal bovine serum. Serum is the liquid part of blood. The fetal bovine serum comes from a calf fetus. It has been screened for the absence of adventitious agents. The growth medium also contains SPGA which includes sucrose, phosphate, glutamate, and recombinant human albumin. The SPGA mixture is used as a stabilizer.
What is recombinant human albumin? Recombinant refers to an organism, cell, or virus in which genetic recombination has taken place. Genetic recombination is something that naturally happens in cells during meiosis. In short, it shuffles the genetic material that was inherited from the parents. Human albumin is a concentrate of plasma proteins that come from human blood. It is a component of human blood. The human serum albumin comes from blood donations that have been screened.
* Neomycin is an an antibiotic that fights bacteria in the body.
* The growth medium for rubella is Minimum Essential Medium (MEM). It, too, is a salt solution that contains vitamins, amino acids, and fetal bovine serum. It also contains recombinant human albumin and neomycin. In addition, sorbitol and hydrolyzed gelatin stabilizer are added. Sorbitol is a type of sugar alcohol that is manufactured from cornstarch.
Hydrolysis is a chemical process that splits a molecule into two parts by the addition of a molecule of water. Something that has been hydrolyzed has been through this process. Gelatin comes from collagen which is a natural protein that is in the tendons, ligaments, and tissues of mammals. This gelatin is different from the kind that is used in food. The gelatin in the MMR vaccine comes from pigs.
You may have noticed that I didn’t mention thimerosal. That ingredient is another one that people tend to be confused about. When it comes to the MMR vaccine, there is absolutely no need to worry about thimerosal. It hasn’t been an ingredient in the MMR vaccine since 2001.
Who shouldn’t receive the MMR vaccine?
Earlier, I mentioned that there are some people who should not get the MMR vaccine. The CDC does not recommend the MMR vaccine for infants who are younger than 6 months of age. In general, the recommendation is to get the first MMR dose at 12 to 15 months of age.
Other people who should not get the MMR vaccine (or who should wait to get it) include:
* Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to neomycin (or other components of the MMR vaccine). Tell your doctor if your child has severe allergies.
* Anyone who has had a life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of MMR or MMRV vaccine. This group of people should not get a second dose.
* People who are sick at the time the vaccine is to be administered. Wait until you (or your child) recovers and then go get the vaccine.
* People who are pregnant should not get the MMR vaccine. Instead, they should wait to get it until four months after giving birth. Ideally, people should wait to get pregnant until 4 weeks after being vaccinated with the MMR vaccine.
The rest of the people who should not get the MMR vaccine (or who should wait to get it) are those with weakened immune systems.
* A person who has HIV/AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system
* A person who is being treated with drugs that affect the immune system (for example, steroids)
* A person who has cancer (of any kind)
* A person who is being treated for cancer with radiation or drugs
* A person who has ever had a low platelet count (in other words, a blood disorder)
* A person who has recently gotten another vaccine within the past 4 weeks (Wait a while and try again to get the MMR vaccine later).
* A person who recently had a transfusion or received other blood products.
* Some elderly people who have certain medical problems should not get the vaccine.
What protects people who cannot have the MMR vaccine from catching the measles?
It may sound strange, but the people who cannot have the MMR vaccine (because they are too young to get it, or their immune system is weakened, or due to autoimmune diseases, pregnancy, cancer, or other health issues) are protected by the people who can get the MMR vaccine. This concept is called herd immunity.
An entire community can be protected from a disease thanks to two things – vaccinations and herd immunity. It works like this: First, all the people who are healthy enough to be vaccinated (who aren’t among the above listed groups) receive a vaccine. Those people are now immune to the disease. The vaccine protects them from catching it. If they cannot catch the vaccine, then they cannot spread it to others – including the people who are too young, or who have health issues, and who cannot receive the vaccine themselves.
Herd immunity works when a population has a certain percentage of people who have been vaccinated. This percentage is called a “threshold”. To prevent measles, 83% -94% of the population needs to have received the vaccine. (Or, some small percentage of that group could be people who are now elderly and who had measles when they were a child). For mumps, the threshold is 75% – 86%. For Rubella it is 83% – 85%.
There is a very simple way to think about herd immunity. A parent who makes sure that their healthy child receives the MMR vaccine is protecting that child from catching measles, mumps and rubella. At the same time, they are protecting the child’s infant sibling, who is too young to receive the vaccine, from catching it from the older sibling. An adult who was properly vaccinated as a child is helping to prevent his neighbor, who is immune-compromised, from catching measles, mumps, and rubella.
What happens if we fall below the threshold?
It is entirely possible for a community to fall below the threshold that grants herd immunity. All it takes is for a large enough portion of a population to refuse to vaccinate their children with the MMR vaccine. Once that happens, all it takes is for the highly contagious measles virus to infect one person who has not been vaccinated. The virus can quickly spread through his home (and his workplace or classroom) and infect everyone else who was not vaccinated. This is how a measles outbreak occurs.
Why did the World Health Organization (WHO) declare measles eliminated from the Americas in 2016?
Science Alert posted an article titled: “It’s Official, Measles Has Been Eliminated From the Americas” on September 28, 2016. The article states that this was the first region in the world to have rid itself of all local cases of measles. From the article”
…Of course, even though the disease has been eliminated within the Americas, people can still catch the virus in the region – there have been 54 cases this year in the US alone – but these infections all originate overseas and are brought in by travelers.
The last home-grown outbreak in the Americas was Venezuela in 2002. The US was declared free of measles way back in 2000.
Unfortunately, eliminating a viral disease from one region doesn’t mean we’ve eradicated it completely – that would be when an infectious disease has been removed from the entire planet…
…None of this news means we can get slack with vaccinating though. Measles has only been eliminated through something known as “herd immunity” – which means that roughly 90 to 95 percent of a population is immunized against a disease, so random outbreaks won’t be able to take hold.
That level of protection safeguards the small percentage of people who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons, newborn babies, and those whom vaccines aren’t effective.
Once immunization rates drop below that herd immunity level, though, we see imported outbreaks become more sustained, and the disease spreading within local populations again – which happened in 2014 in California…
Some background about the spread of measles in 2017:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, in 2015, 188 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reported that, in 2016, 86 people from 19 states were reported to have measles. The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
January 7, 2017: ABC News 6 reported that Peter Hotez, a Texas pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine, says Texas is just one of several states on the verge of a measles out-break. The main reason is because parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children. Last year, nearly 45,000 Texas students opted out of school-required vaccines. That’s up nine percent from the year before.
February 8, 2017: The New York Times posted an opinion piece by Peter J. Hotez, a pediatrician at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas. He is also the director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development. From the opinion piece:
It’s looking as if 2017 could become the year when the anti-vaccination movement gains ascendancy in the United States and we begin to see a reversal of several decades in steady public health gains. The first blow will be measles outbreak in America…
…The myth that vaccines like the one that prevents measles are connected to autism has persisted despite rock-solid proof to the contrary. Donald Trump has given credence to such views in tweets and during a Republican debate, but as president he has said nothing to support vaccination opponents, so there is hope that his views are changing.
However, a leading proponent of the link between vaccines and autism said he recently met with the president to discuss the creation of a presidential commission to investigate vaccine safety. Such a commission would be a throwback to the 2000s, when Representative Dan Burton of Indiana held fruitless hearings and conducted investigations on this topic. And a documentary alleging a conspiracy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe”, has recently been shown around the country…
…Texas, where I live an work, may be the first state to once again experience serious measles outbreaks. As of last fall, more than 45,000 children here received nonmedical exemptions for their school vaccinations. A political action committee is raising money to protect this “conscience exemption” loophole, and instruct parents on how to file for it. As a result, some public school systems in the state are coming dangerously close to the threshold when measles outbreaks can be expected, and a third of students at some private schools are unvaccinated…
April 14, 2017: Michigan Radio reported a second case of measles in Michigan. The unidentified adult appears to have contracted measles from the first patient. The first patient is a child who lives in southeast Michigan. Both are recovering.
April 15, 2017: Star Tribune reported that Minnesota health officials confirmed five new cases of measles in young children in Hennepin County, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to eight. All eight are unvaccinated children ranging in age from 1 to 4.
Seven of the cases occurred in the Somali-American community. No information was given about the eighth case. Seven of the eight cases occurred among people who have been in contact with one another. Six of the affected children have been hospitalized.
May 5, 2017: MPR News reported a confirmed case of measles in Crow Wing County in Minnesota. There are now 44 confirmed measles cases in three Minnesota counties; Hennepin, Ramsey and Crow Wing. Also on May 5, 2017, The New York Times reported that 11 patients with measles had been hospitalized. All but two cases happened people who were not vaccinated, and nearly all were in the immigrant community in Hennepin County.
The New York Times reported that Doug Schultz, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health, said:
“The outbreak started among Somali Minnesotans who have a low vaccination rate for M.M.R.,” he said, referring to the shot for measles, mumps, rubella.
He said the community was “targeted” by members of the anti-vaccination movement, adding that vaccination rates in the community had been as high or even higher than those in the white population, but that began to change in 2008.
Members of the community came to believe incorrectly that they had an unusually high rate of autism and that cases were related to vaccines. But later studies showed that their autism rates were not out of line with those of the state’s white population.
Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, said anti-vaccine activists had met one-on-one with families and had been more aggressive than public health educators in getting their message out…
May 7, 2017: The Star posted an article titled: “Anti-vaccine activists just sparked a U.S. state’s worst measles outbreak in decades”. It was written by Lena H. Sun. From the article:
The young mother started getting advice early on from friends in the close-knit Somali immigrant community here. Don’t let your children get the vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella – it causes autism, they said.
Suaado Salah listened. And this spring, her 3-year-old boy and 18-month-old girl contracted measles in Minnesota’s largest outbreak of the highly infectious and potentially deadly disease in nearly three decades. Her daughter, who had a rash, high fever and a cough, was hospitalized for four nights and needed intravenous fluids and oxygen…
…Salah no longer believes that the MMR vaccine triggers autism, a discredited theory that spread rapidly through the Somali community, fanned by meeting organized by anti-vaccine groups. The advocates repeatedly invited Andrew Wakefield, the founder of the modern anti-vaccine movement, to talk to worried parents.
Immunization rates plummeted and, last month, the first cases of measles appeared. Soon, there was a full-blown outbreak, one of the starkest consequences of an intensifying anti-vaccine movement in the United States and around the world that has gained traction in part by targeting specific communities.
“It’s remarkable to come in and talk to a population that’s vulnerable and marginalized and who doesn’t necessarily have the capacity for advocacy for themselves, and to take advantage of that,” said Siman Nuurali, a Somali-American clinician who co-ordinates the care of medically complex patients at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. “It’s abhorrent.”…
May 12, 2017: CNN posted an article titled: “Texas lawmakers spar over ‘anti-vaccine measure'”. It was written by Wayne Drash. In short, Representative Gene Wu (Democrat – Houston), introduced a bill to reform the state’s foster care system. The bill included a provision requiring foster children to get prompt exams from doctors to determine whether they’ve been abused, neglected or abandoned.
Representative Bill Zedler (Republican, Vice President of the ultraconservative Texas Freedom Caucus) introduced an amendment to prevent doctors from giving vaccines to foster children during the exams, saying the measure would “protect children from medical procedures that are not pertinent to their immediate medical needs.”
Zedler’s anti-vaccination amendment passed 74-84, which means it will go to the Texas Senate along with Wu’s foster care bill.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, in 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
A Timeline of the spread of measles in 2018
January 26, 2018: Daily News posted an article titled: “Texas measles outbreak could be caused by anti-vaxxers”. It was written by Ariel Scotti. From the article:
A small measles outbreak in Texas has spread among people who were never vaccinated against the disease – an alarming trend in the state.
The first known case was tweeted about by the Texas Department of State Health Services last Friday. By Tuesday, the number of measles cases in Ellis County, Texas, increased to six after the patient went to the movies. Local officials then warned people who recently went to that theater to watch for symptoms of the disease, but said none of the new cases linked to the cinema.
Texas is one of the 19 states in the U.S. that does not have a law that requires people to get vaccinations. Parents can opt out of public school vaccine requirements if it goes against their “conscientious” beliefs thanks to a 2003 law. The rate of parents in the state requesting an exemption has gradually increased since the law changed, HuffPost reported.
The southern state is also home to Texans for Vaccine Choice, a PAC that throws its support behind politicians who share their donor’s distrusting views towards vaccinations. Texas is also the current home of disgraced UK doctor Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield was stripped of his license in England after it was revealed that he falsified data in a since-retracted study that alleged a connection between the measles-mumps-rubella vaccination and autism…
…During the 2003-2004 school year, the first year in which parents could conscientiously object to vaccinations for their children, 2,314 of them did, according to Texas DSHS. That number rocketed to 52,756 for the 2016-2017 school year – not including home-schooled kids…
January 31, 2018: Vaccines Today reported that Greece is the latest European country to face a major measles outbreak with Romania, Italy and Germany epidemics.
…It is tragic and unacceptable that 49 children and adults in EU countries have died from complications of measles infection in the past two years, while safe and effective vaccines are readily available,” says Dr. Andrea Ammon, Director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Most cases – 87% – were among people who were not vaccinated, despite the widespread availability of the MMR vaccines, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella…
February 2, 2018: Star Tribune posted an editorial titled: “Fringe anti-vaccine groups peddle misinformation to Minnesota legislators”. It was written by the Star Tribune Editorial Board. From the editorial:
Less than six months after the official end of the Minnesota measles outbreak, a group notorious for spreading childhood vaccine misinformation is holding a secretive reception in Minneapolis to convince state legislators to sign onto its dangerous agenda.
Exactly what policy changes the Vaccine Safety Council of Minnesota is seeking during the 2018 session is unclear. The invitation for hors d’oeuvres at the Minneapolis Club clearly states that the event is for lawmakers only. A spokeswoman for the reception said the media is not welcome.
The “council”, which led an anti-vaccination event during last year’s measles outbreak, did not respond to an editorial writer’s other questions, such as who is paying for the reception? And is there legislation already drafted for the 2018 session for which reception sponsors are seeking support? Apparently, those seeking critical public health policy changes in Minnesota don’t want Minnesotans to know what they’re up to….
Shame on any lawmaker who shows up or signs on. The 2017 measles outbreak sickened 79 people between April 11 and Aug. 25, when state health officials declared the outbreak over. Chillingly, 73 cases involved children under 10, and 71 had not been vaccinated.
Lawmakers should be focused on preventing another outbreak. A sensible policy response: ensuring that more Minnesota children get the widely available, generally inexpensive shots to protect them from measles and other disease. To do that, lawmakers should tighten the state’s lax vaccine-exemption laws…
…The current exemption allowed for “philosophical” reasons should be scrapped. That said, a more moderate bill championed last year by state Reps. Mike Freiberg, DFL-Golden Valley, and Jennifer Schultz, DFL- Duluth, still merits support. It would require parents to compile with a doctor first if they want an immunization opt-out…
February 13, 2018: The Local posted an article titled: “Health chiefs in south west France warn public over deadly measles epidemic”. From the article:
Health authorities in south western France, which has been hit by a measles epidemic, have reminded the public of the dangers of the virus after a young woman died this week.
The young woman died in hospital in the city of Poitiers, in the Vienne department, the regional health authority (ARS) in Bordeaux announced on Tuesday.
According to the hospital authorities, the 32-year-old woman had not been vaccinated against the virus. She was admitted to the hospital February 1st and quickly transferred to intensive care but did not survive…
…French health authorities said the death of the woman underlined the importance of being vaccinated against measles and asked the public to check their medical records to make sure they were…
The hospital in Poitiers believes at least five people hospitalized there contracted the virus by coming into contact with another patient…
…Hospital chiefs have no enforced a rule that all members of the public entering the emergency wards must wear a mask. Some 54 members of staff have had to be vaccinated…
…In France, children are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella when aged between 12 and 18 months…
February 16, 2018: Independent reported that there are now more than 100 cases of measles confirmed in England.
Public health experts are urging parents to immunize their children against measles as the potentially deadly bug has now spread to five regions in England.
With more than 100 cases confirmed, Public Health England warns that the UK could be on the verge of an outbreak due to a rise in cases across Europe.
People who have recently visited Romania, Italy, and Germany and have not been fully immunized against measles via the MMR vaccine may be most at risk, they said…
…While the outbreak was first reported in November as spreading through Leeds and Liverpool, there are now confirmed cases in Sussex, West Midlands, Surrey, Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and West Yorkshire.
However, not all cases are being spread by those who have visited countries included in the European outbreak, a spokesperson for Public Health England told the Independent.
“We know that measles cases are showing a link to importation from Europe where there are ongoing outbreaks, but the cases are also spreading within the UK in under-vaccinated communities,” they explained.
February 20, 2018: The Age posted an article titled: “Measles alert for Melbourne’s south-east”. It was written by Amber Schultz. From the article:
Residents of Melbourne’s south-east have been warned to look out for the symptoms of measles after a man with the highly infectious disease visited a number of densely populated areas….
The affected areas included: Dandenong, Rowville, Ferntree Gully, Knoxfield, Belgrave and Wantirna South. The man with symptoms of measles visited a Centrelink, a cricket ground, two basketball stadiums, a secondary college, a bottle shop and a costume store between February 8 and 12, 2018.
February 22, 2018: The Guardian posted an opinion piece written by Suzanne Moore. The piece was titled: “I understand the fears. But vaccinating children should be compulsory”. From the opinion piece.
…Measles cases are souring in Europe again; last year, there were more than 21,000 cases and 35 deaths, up from 5, 273 cases the year before, a massive increase. The eminently achievable aim has always been to eradicate measles completely because the vaccine is so effective, but take-up of measles immunization is dropping in many countries.
There are a number of factors involved, but doctors are worried about the influence of anti-vax campaigns – not only when it comes to MMR vaccine, which immunizes against mumps, measles, and rubella, but also for newer vaccines against meningitis and the HPV vaccine, which is given to girls at 12 or 13, and prevents the spread of the virus linked to 99.7% of cervical cancers.
The MMR vaccine, still described by some as “controversial”, is at the root of this turn against immunization. Andrew Wakefield’s utterly discredited findings about the “link” between the MMR vaccine and autism continue to be regurgitated…
…Anti-vax discourse unites a whole set of conspiracy theories about big Pharma and big government and so-called nature with a kind of selfishness that says: “I won’t let my precious child be vaccinated but will in fact rely on the herd immunity of others.”…
…Information campaigns can push up immunization rates: in Ireland, uptake of the HPV vaccine was very low but a campaign helped address this. But reproducing the evidence about the efficacy of vaccines over and over again is never enough: the debate also has to be emotionally intelligent….
…Part of the conversation around parental choice is symptomatic of a wider disease in our society: atomization. The anti-vax lobby, in their purity, care about their own individual children, not our children who are in the plural, and not the most marginalized groups, who are most likely to get ill…
February 23, 2018: NBC New York 4 posted an article titled: “Australian Tourist With Measles Visited Met Museum, Several Hotels: Officials”. From the article:
An Australian tourist who had a confirmed case of the measles visited several New York hotels and medical centers, and participated in a biblical tour of the Met, health officials said.
The tourist visited Manhattan and Brooklyn as well as Putnam and Orange counties between Feb. 16 and Wednesday, according to the state Health Department. The Australian was in the Oasis Bible Tours group at the Metropolitan Museum of Art….
February 26, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Disgraced anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield aims to advance his agenda in Texas election.” It was written by Jessica Glenza. From the article:
Anti-vaccine campaigners have found a growing political voice for their debunked ideas in Texas, the adopted home of discredited British researcher Andrew Wakefield, and now hope to unseat a moderate Republican in the heart of Houston.
Texas has seen rates of children opting out of vaccines for philosophical reasons skyrocket after Wakefield – the man behind the UK’s MMR vaccine controversy in the early 2000s – moved to the state capital, Austin, more than a decade ago.
Since the early 2000s, when he arrived, the rate of Texas children exempted from at least one vaccine has shot up by 1.900% according to one analysis, while Houston has become a battleground for anti-vaccine activists of growing clout.
Now, Wakefield sees the upcoming Republican primary in Houston on 6 March as an “extremely important time” to advance his anti-vaccine agenda…
February 28, 2018: Texas Observer posted an article titled: “How Anti-Vaxxers are Injecting Themselves into the Texas Republican Primaries”. It was written by Sophie Novack. From the article:
…A single mom who said one of her kids was injured by vaccines, [Jackie] Schlegel started Texans for Vaccine Choice in response to a 2015 bill by state Representative Jason Villalba, R-Dallas, that would have eliminated non-medical “conscience” exemptions for vaccines at public schools. Exemptions are a matter of “liberty,” “parental choice” and “privacy,” says Schlegel, who did not respond to requests for an interview.
Villalba says he introduced the 2015 legislation because he has children in public school. Though his kids are vaccinated, he was alarmed by surging exemption rates. The number of kids with “conscience” exemptions has increased from about 2,300 when they were first allowed by the Legislature in 2003, to nearly 53,000 in 2017…
…This primary cycle is a continuation of a grudge match between Villalba and the anti-vaxxers, who also campaigned against the Dallas Republican in 2016. Texans for Vaccine Choice designated his primary challenger, interior design firm owner Lisa Luby Ryan, and a “priority campaign,” and Schlegel has blockwalked with Ryan, who also picked up a batch of endorsements from other far-right groups including Empower Texans, on multiple occasions.
Another top target for Texas for Vaccine Choice is state Representative Sarah Davis R- West University Place, one of the most vocal vaccine advocates among Republicans in the Legislature. The group endorsed Davis’ GOP primary challenge Susanna Dokupil as an “MVP,” donated $2,500 to her campaign, has blockwalked for her most weekends, and posts about her extensively on social media. Dokupil, endorsed by Governor Greg Abbott, is a lawyer and a board member of the Seasteading Institute, which aims to build floating libertarian cities in international waters….
…”Its really scary how impactful they are,” Davis said of Texans for Vaccine Choice. “Last session, I couldn’t even get any hearings on my pro-vaccine bills. They really have been able to bully and intimidate a lot of members. And they’ve made vaccines controversial, which makes members nervous… It really shouldn’t be controversial…
…”We’re getting the messages that Texas is on the verge of a massive measles outbreak and no one seems to want to do anything about it,” said [Peter] Hotez [ director of the Texas Children’s Center for Vaccine Development], who calls the state “ground zero” for the country’s anti-vaccination movement. Vaccination rates in some Texas countries now hover close to the 95 percent threshold needed for herd immunity, and exemption rates at certain schools are well into the double digits….
March 7, 2018: BBC News posted an article titled: “Warning after measles outbreak declared in South Wales”. From the article:
Young adults and teenagers are being urged to ensure they have two doses of the MMR vaccine, following a measles outbreak. Six people are confirmed as having measles in Cardiff, Newport and Blaenau Gwent. Public health Wales confirmed two further possible cases were under investigation. The first few cases are thought to have been exposed to measles in Cardiff city center in early February, Public Health Wales said.
March 10, 2018: Nigerian Tribune posted an article titled: “Measles remains one of the leading causes of death among children – Experts”
Nigeria has every reason to be concerned as measles return with vengeance in northern Nigeria and other parts of the world especially in Europe.
Little wonder that, measles vaccination was stepped up to ensure the this highly contagious and potentially deadly virus that almost quadrupled in Europe in 2017 compared to other years in the past is controlled in Nigeria…
…Nigeria tops the list of countries with unvaccinated children from measles with 3.3 million children, followed by India – 2.9 million, Pakistan – 2.0 million, Indonesia – 1.2 million, Ethiopia – 0.9 million and Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, with 0.7 million…
…”Measles remains one of the leading causes of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Rafiu Isamotu, a pediatrician and Osun State Commissioner for Health…
…”Measles immunization is very safe and effective, but a few children may develop some mild vaccine reactions such as a fever, rash, soreness or swelling where the injection was given or temporary pain. These are minor reactions that mothers should not panic about.”…
…Unfortunately, Dr. Isamotu said 90 percent of people who haven’t been vaccinated for measles and come in contact with an infected person, may contract the virus from droplets sprayed into the air when someone with measles sneezes or coughs….
…”Our immunization efforts are working against measles. In the last five years in Ice and Ilesa, we have not seen a case of the measles. It is unlike the past that almost all of our wards may be filled with measles cases,” he added….
March 13, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an article titled: “Three measles cases confirmed in Johnson County”. It was written by Lynn Horsley. From the article:
Three measles cases have been confirmed in a Johnson County child care facility, the Johnson County Health Department said Tuesday. All three cases were in children less than 1 year of age, thus are too young to be vaccinated for the disease. Those at risk for the disease have been contacted and the investigation is ongoing.
March 15, 2018: USA Today posted an article titled: “Travelers who landed in Detroit, Newark, Memphis pop up with measles.” From the article:
- Detroit: People who visited the North Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport on the afternoon of March 6 likely were exposed to the highly contagious virus, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Someone infected could develop symptoms as late as next week.
- Newark: Passengers in terminals B and C of Newark Liberty International Airport also were exposed and could develop symptoms as late as April 2, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.
- Memphis: The young child diagnosed with measles arrived in Newark from Brussels and flew to Memphis International Airport that evening, exposing other salons the way, New Jersey health officials said.
March 15, 2018: CBC posted an article titled: “Vaccine refusal linked to recent U.S. measles outbreak, study suggests”. It was written by Justin Li. From the article:
Measles, a disease that was considered eliminated 16 years ago in the U.S., has made a comeback in which a “substantial proportion” of the cases are associated with vaccine refusal, a study suggests.
The study, recently published in the March 15 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association says “the phenomenon of vaccine refusal increases the risk for measles among individuals who are not vaccinated or refuse to get vaccinated, and also among those who are already fully vaccinated…
…The study notes the increase of measles incidents was initially seen only among states where nonmusical exemptions were readily offered, but states with “moderately difficult” exemption procedures have experienced increases in measles rates as nonmusical exemptions have “steadily increased” in the last 20 years.
Researchers also said a higher rate of vaccine exemption or refusal in a community is associated with increased incidents of measles in that community, among persons with and without exemptions.
The study points to a 2014 outbreak of measles that originated at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif…
March 16, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an article titled: “Seven diagnosed with measles in Johnson, Miami counties, Aldi, YMCA among risk sites.” It was written by Andy Marso. From the article:
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said Friday that at least seven people in Johnson County and Miami County have contracted measles and released a list of nine public places where others might have been exposed.
All but one of the seven people are associated with a Johnson County daycare that has been identified as the source of the outbreak. But health officials are now warning the public that those seven may have exposed others to the virus before becoming symptomatic…
..At least three of the cases tied to the daycare, which has not been identified, were in children who are under 1 year of age, and therefore too young to be vaccinated. People in that age group are particularly at risk, as are those who can’t be vaccinated because of underlying medical conditions…
March 26, 2018: The Age posted an article titled: “Baby infected as measles virus spreads through Melbourne Airport arrivals.” It was written by Aisha Dow. From the article:
Health authorities suspect five adults and a very young baby who were collecting their luggage from a carousel at Melbourne Airport’s international baggage area three weeks ago also picked up a dose of measles from an infected fellow passenger.
The man believed to have infected others, an Australian in his 40s, became unwell on AirAsia flight D7214, which arrived in Melbourne at about 9:30am on March 9.
While the man went “straight to hospital”, according to the Victorian health department, it is now believed that a number of people became infected while in the airport’s baggage collection area that day, between 9:30am and midday.
There adults are still in hospital, while the baby and two adults are recovering at home…
March 26, 2018: Miami Herald posted an article titled: “A measles outbreak in ailing Venezuela is threatening Colombia and Brazil”. It was written by Jim Wyss. From the article:
…According to new figures from the Pan American Health Organization, Venezuela has seen 886 cases of measles since June, including 159 cases this year alone.
The second-biggest outbreak in the hemisphere this year is Brazil, with 14 cases, and all of them were imported from neighboring Venezuela. Columbia has also reported three confirmed cases, all from Venezuela…
…the nation’s deep economic crisis, combined with a mass desertion by doctors and widespread corruption, have devastated the medical establishment….
…The outbreaks are “clear examples” of how basic health programs have broken down, [José Felix] Oletta [former minister of health from 1997 to 1999 and runs a nonprofit called Venezuelan Alliance for Health] said. His organization estimates that more than 1 million Venezuelan children haven’t been vaccinated for measles in the last decade – and that’ putting the entire region at risk…
…The National Survey of Hospitals, an independent report published last week, found that 88 percent of the 134 medical centers studied were missing basic medicines, and 100 percent said their pathology labs were inoperative. Venezuelans regularly flood Colombia and Brazil looking for medical care they can no longer get at home.
The health crisis strikes as hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans are fleeing the country, escaping political turmoil and chronic food and medicine shortages…
March 28, 2018: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control posted information about measles cases in Portugal. The first post about it was on March 9, 2018.
Since 9 March, 2018, Portugal has been experiencing an outbreak of measles in the northern region of the country. The majority of the cases are relate to the Hospital San Antonio in Porto. Among the confirmed cases the majority are healthcare professionals. Responding to the outbreak, the Portuguese authorities launched active case finding and contact tracing, and initiated a vaccination and awareness campaign among patients and healthcare professionals.
Between 9 and 27 March 2018, Portugal has reported 70 confirmed measles cases. This is an increase of four cases since the CDTR published on 23 March. Among the confirmed cases, 61 (87%) are healthcare professionals, mostly from the San Antonia hospital in Porto, Portugal.
March 28, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an article titled: “3 new JoCo measles cases: Walgreens, Chuck E. Cheese, Chick-fil-A exposure spots”. It was written by Andy Marso. From the article:
Kansas officials have identified three new cases of measles and three more sites where people may have been exposed as the outbreak that started at a Johnson County daycare continues to have ripple effects.
All of the new cases are residents of Johnson County, which is now up to 11 out of the 13 total. The other cases were in a Miami County resident and a Linn County resident.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment, working with local health departments, also identified three new sites at which people who had the measles may have exposed others.
The article listed the addresses of a Chuck E. Cheese, a Walgreens, and a Chick-fil-A and the dates during which people who visited those locations may have been exposed to measles.
Those are in addition to 10 other exposure sites previously announced. KDHE officials also announced Wednesday there had been a second instance of potential exposure at one of those sites….
The article listed the address of the Olathe YMCA and the dates in which people who visited it might have been exposed to measles. It also said that previous exposures at this YMCA were limited to only certain parts of the building, but this new exposure was throughout the facility including the child care area.
…The current Kansas outbreak began earlier this month at a daycare that health officials have declined to name for privacy reasons. Several of the early cases in infants were too young to get the shot…
…Kansas law requires children who attend daycare or pre-school to be immunized with an initial dose of MMR between 12 and 15 months of age, but parents are able to opt out for medical or religious reasons. According to KDHE, there’s no law requiring daycare workers to be immunized.
The article also listed the previous measles exposures sites, their addresses, and the dates in which people visiting those locations may have been exposed to measles: AMC Dine-In Studio, Aldi, Payless Discount Foods, El Puerto Mexican Café, Children’s Mercy Hospital Kansas (emergency department), Budget Coin Laundry, Olathe YMCA, Bath and Body Works at Legend Outlets, Crazy 8 Legends Outlets, Orange Leaf.
March 28, 2018: BBC News posted an article titled: “Vaccination plea after count Wales measles outbreak.” from the article:
Parents are being urged to ensure their children have both MMR vaccinations as a measles outbreak has been confirmed.
Fourteen people have caught the highly infectious virus in the Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent areas of south Wales.
The latest outbreak follows one in Newport and Torfaen in 2017 and another spate earlier this month.
School children and young adults are advised to get protected before going away on their Easter holidays or attending half-term play schemes.
“Ahead of the Easter break we are urging all parents with children in the Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent areas that have not had two doses of MMR to contact their GPs and immediately arrange this quick, safe, and effective vaccine,” said Dr. Gwen Lowe of Public Health Wales (PHW).
“This is particularly important before unvaccinated and unprotected children mix with ones in play schemes and play settings over the holiday period.
“Similarly we’re appealing to young adults from the Cardiff and Blaenau Gwent areas to get up-to-date with their MMR vaccinations before going on holiday to Europe, where a number of measles outbreaks are ongoing.”…
March 29, 2018: The Age posted an article titled: “Measles infections from Melbourne Airport contact grows”. It was written by Aisha Dow. From the article:
The number of Victorians who have caught measles after coming in contact with two infected men flying into Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport continues to grow.
Another baby who was too young to be vaccinated has been confirmed as one of the new victims.
The Victorian Department of Health has now confirmed 10 cases of the highly infectious disease. There are eight adults, seven of whom were taken to hospital, and two infants.
The majority of the infections are linked to a man who flew from Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne on AirAsia flight D7214 on Wednesday, March 7, landing about 9:30am.
The other passenger returned to Melbourne from Denpasar, Bali, on March 10 and was believed to have passed the infection on to one the babies, now recovering at home…
March 29, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an editorial titled: “Here’s one step Kansas could take to limit the spread of measles”. It was written by the The Kansas City Star Editorial Board. From the editorial:
Kansas law requires children who attend day care or preschool to be immunized with an initial dose of measles-mumps-rubella between 12 and 15 months of age, bu there’s no law requiring day care workers to be immunized…
…At least 13 cases of measles have been confirmed in Johnson, Linn and Miami counties since early March. A separate case was confirmed Thursday at the University of Kansas Hospital.
The outbreak started at an unnamed Johnson County day care and has spread to 14 other sites. Several of the early cases were in infants too young to get the shot, which suggests measles could have spread to them via an infected adult…
…Kansas lawmakers could take a cue from other states such as California and Illinois that have adopted laws requiring day care workers to have vaccinations for measles and other common contagious disease.
Without a law on the books, the onus is on day care providers in Kansas to follow KinderCare’s lead to address the issue. After eight infants at a KinderCare day care center in a Chicago suburb fell ill with measles, the nationwide chain began requiring measles vaccines for all staff working with babies under 15 month old…
March 29, 2018: 9 News posted an article titled: “Measles alert as two Sydney babies diagnosed after visiting south Asia.” From the article:
Health authorities are on alert after two babies, fresh from visits to South Asia, were diagnosed with measles at a Sydney hospital.
Four people have been diagnosed in NSW this month – all patients contracting the highly contagious disease while visiting Asia.
Pakistan, India and The Philippines have been identified as possible sources for the infections, said NSW Health on Thursday….
April 3, 2018: CTV News posted an article titled: “Romania measles epidemic: baby dies, death toll reaches 46”. From the article:
Romanian health authorities say a nine-month old baby has died of measles, the 46th fatality from an epidemic that has struck the country over the past year.
The National Center for the Supervision and Control of Transmissible Diseases said Friday that the infant, from the Black Seas port of Constanta, had not been vaccinated.
It said 204 new cases of measles were reported this week in Romania, taking the confirmed total to nearly 12,000 since the disease’s outbreak last year….
April 7, 2018: USA Today posted an article titled: “College student with measles had been vaccinated, health officials say”. It was written by Siobhan McAndrew. From the article:
Health departments in two states have opened investigations after a university student who contracted measles was determined to have been vaccinated.
It wasn’t immediately known whether the University of Nevada, Reno, student, whose name was not released, had both doses of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine, generally given at age 12 to 15 months with a booster at 4 to 6 years old. The two shots are 97% effective in preventing measles; one dose is 93% effective, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Though getting measles after you’ve been vaccinated is unusual, it is not unheard of. In a Kansas outbreak of 15 class that began in March, most were unvaccinated infants at a day-care center.
But one was a fully vaccinated adult…
…The Reno case, diagnosed Monday, is linked to an outbreak in the San Francisco Bay Area of six confirmed cases and one suspect case, said Jorge De La Cruz, spokesman for the California Department of Public Health…
…The California cases involve patients who were not vaccinated, according to the Santa Clara County Department of Health. Five of the six cases were identified in Santa Clara County, which includes San Jose…
April 22, 2018: CBS News posted an article titled: “New York State health officials issue measles warning for trials-state area”. From the article:
Authorities issued a new warning Sunday about possible measles exposures across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. CBS New York reports state health officials are concerned about people who may have come into contact with two tourists from Europe who have the disease.
Authorities say the tourists visited a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Brooklyn last Sunday before making stops at Watchtower Jehovah’s Witness facilities in suburban Tuxedo Park and Patterson, New York….
April 23, 2018: USA Today posted an article titled: “Measles patient dined at two Iowa restaurants before discovering rash from the disease”. It was written by Kim Norvell. From the article:
Patrons of two restaurants in the Des Moines area may have been exposed to measles in the past week and a half, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health.
A Missouri resident, whose measles infection has been confirmed, had breakfast April 13 at a Hardee’s on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines and lunch April 16 at a Panera Bread on Southeast Delaware Avenue in Ankey, Iowa.
“Since it is too late to prevent these exposed people from coming down with measles, they could become ill and start spreading the disease any day now,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk, the department’s medical director, said in a news release. She advised that anyone in the Des Moines area who has not received two doses of measles vaccine get the vaccine or booster immediately…
April 26, 2018: BristolLive posted an article titled: “‘Indestructible’ dad-of-two struck down by deadly virus after symptoms mistaken for common rash”. It was written by Bronwen Weatherby. From the article:
A man suffering from a life-threatening virus has been hospitalized and temporarily paralyzed as a result of the deadly illness.
Robert Bliss, 36, contracted measles, a highly infectious disease and within days was rushed to hospital in a critical condition.
The dad-of-two described as a “big lad” who “looked indestructible” is now one of five people to have been hospitalized with the virus in the four months since the beginning of 2018.
His situation was so serious his terrified family were told he was one of the “sickest patients in the hospital” and doctors said he might not survive…
…His youngest daughter also caught the transferrable disease as she had not yet had her MMR, but she is now recovering well.
At the moment, Bristol has the lowest percentage of five-year-olds receiving two doses of MMR in the South West, with only 87.8 per
cent getting the vaccine.
April 26, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an article titled: “Another KC medical center is a measles exposure site. Here’s why that’s a big concern”. It was written by Andy Marso. From the article:
St. Joseph Medical Center is among seven new sites where people may have been exposed to measles during an outbreak that has sickened 10 Missourians so far.
Erika Beeler, a spokeswoman for St. Joseph, said the exposure occurred not in the 310-bed hospital’s inpatient unit, but in a pediatric practice that rents space on the medical center grounds at 1000 Carondelet Drive in south Kansas City.
The patients with measles went through the main lobby of the medical center and used elevators to get to the pediatric practice, but Beeler said the inpatient tower has a separate entrance and elevators…
…The 10 cases in Missouri are not related to a separate measles outbreak that started in a Johnson County day care last month. That has sickened 18 Kansans (14 in Johnson County, three in Linn County and one in Miami County) so far and is the largest outbreak in that state since 1990.
The 10 Missouri cases include three students who attend Liberty Public Schools. Clay County Public Health Center has said everyone who was at South Valley Middle School, which has almost 800 students, on April 18 may have been exposed…
May 4, 2018: Voice of America posted an article titled: “Some Parents More Wary of Vaccines Than Diseases They Prevent”. It was written by Carol Pearson. From the article:
…Vaccines can prevent 23 viruses and two types of cancer, and more vaccines are in the works, including one for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. [Dr. Paul] Offit is the co-inventor of a life-saving rotavirus vaccine.
But some parents are not getting their children vaccinated. Last year, there were more than 14,000 cases of measles in Europe, mostly in Romania. Nearly 40 children died. It exasperates health officials like Miljana Grbic, head of the World Health Assembly in Romania.
“We cannot fight this disease if we do not increase vaccination coverage,” she said. “…But we also have to understand why vaccination coverage is going down.”
For some parents, it’s the inconvenience of the trip to the doctor’s office. Others think good hygiene and nutrition are all children need to stay healthy. Still others believe vaccines can give their children autism, diabetes and other diseases.
Offit says persuading these parents to vaccinate their children is hard…
…A study published in BMJ suggests that in the U.S., vaccine refusal is contagious. It spreads from communities with a high number of parents who oppose vaccines to other communities nearby when parents who oppose vaccines talk to their friends and parents of their children’s schoolmates…
May 11, 2018: Sky News reported that there have been more than 400 cases of measles confirmed in England so far this year.
The cases – well above the 267 seen across the whole of last year – are linked to “ongoing large outbreaks in Europe,” particularly in Romania and Italy, according to Public Health England.
Up to 9 May, there were 440 cases confirmed by laboratories, including 164 in London, 86 in the South East, 78 in the West Midlands, 42 in the South West and 37 in West Yorkshire…
…Among those most affected are young people and adults over 15 who may have missed out on the vaccine when they were younger.
Dr. Mary Ramsay, head of immunization at Public Health England, said: “This serves as an important reminder for parents to take up the offer of MMR vaccination for their children at one year of age and as a preschool booster at three years and four months of age.
“We’d also encourage people to ensure they are up to date with their MMR vaccines before traveling to countries with ongoing measles outbreaks…
May 11, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January 2018 and 9 May 2018 there have been 440 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England, with London (164), the South-East (86), West Midlands (78) South-West (42) and West Yorkshire (37) reporting the most cases.
June 1, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January and 31 May 2018 there have been 587 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (213), the South-East (128), West Midlands (81), South-West (62), and Yorkshire and Humberside (53) reporting most cases (based on provisional figures).
June 11, 2018: The Kansas City Star posted an article titled: “Kansas City’s two measles outbreaks are over. But what did they cost taxpayers?” It was written by Andy Marso. From the article:
When Kansas City found itself in the grips of not one but two measles outbreaks in March, Tiffany Wallin, a disease investigator for the Johnson County Health Department, was working on it nearly around the clock…
…The strangely simultaneous outbreaks are both officially over, as of Monday, when there had been no new cases in 42 days, or two full incubation periods.
But the costs of containing them are just beginning to be calculated.
What is known at this point is that more than $170,000 in taxpayer resources was spent to hold the outbreaks to 35 total cases – 22 in Kansas and 13 in Missouri.
Some of the $170,000 is federal money, some of it came out of redirected state and local resources and none of it includes other costs that are difficult or even impossible to quantify.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said it spend about $46,000 on a bevy of lab testing, vaccines and staffing costs. But that’s a conservative estimate that doesn’t include baked-in costs to maintain the state’s disease surveillance software, EpiTrax, or salaries for support staff…
…The Johnson County Health Department said it spent $99,000 in staff costs alone on its response to the Kansas measles outbreak, enlisting disease investigators, epidemiologists, public spokesmen, directors, child care licensing staff, immunizations staff, lab staff and accounting staff.
Miami County health officials didn’t respond to the Star’s request for a cost estimate…
…The Kansas City Health Department spent $21,273.50 in staff hours alone on the Missouri outbreak….
…Both measles outbreaks started when travelers brought the virus back to Kansas City from other countries where its still prevalent.
The first outbreak began in a Johnson County daycare – a particularly dangerous spot because of the number of exposed kids who are too young to be vaccinated….
…Someone involved in the Missouri outbreak also potentially exposed people in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin a road trip through those states, but officials in this states said no cases resulted from those exposures…
…They [Health officials] also initiated state policies that require unvaccinated students to be held out of school for weeks if there is an exposure risk.
Open records filed by the Star showed that mean 13 of the 791 students at Star Valley Middle School had to be held out. Eleven of them had religious exemptions to vaccination requirements and two had medical exemptions.
Nine of 375 students at Nashua Elementary School had to be held out. Six had religious exemptions, two had medical exemptions, and one was in the process of getting his or her measles-mumps-rubella, or MMR, vaccinations…
…But families that are already against vaccinating their kids aren’t going to change their minds as kids get older.
“The vaccine-refusing population – often affluent and college educated – are still resistant to immunization even after measles has occurred within their household,” [Mary Ann] Jackson [of Children’s Mercy] said. “So its a huge challenge and its a concern.”…
June 18, 2018: Oxford Mail reported that Public Health England has issued a warning to maker sure people are properly protected against the measles after 128 new measles cases across the region between between January 1 and May 31. The increase is mainly associated with travel to and from Europe where there are ongoing measles outbreaks. There have been no recorded cases in Oxfordshire.
June 19, 2018: BristolLive reported a fourth school in the Bristol area has warned parents about cases of possible measles and have urged parents to take their children for vaccinations. Children at Hannah More Primary School in St. Phillips have been given letters with urgent advice to parents and carers about the illness, which has spread through the South West. This follows cases of measles in the Easton Cafe Academy, St. Barnabas CoFE and Gordano School last week.
June 20, 2018: The Telegraph posted an article titled: “Teens who missed MMR jab during Wakefield scare urged to seek vaccination as measles sweeps Europe”. It was written by Sarah Knapton. From the article:
Young people considering gap years and holidays in Europe are been warned to check they have received an MMR jab following outbreaks of measles on the continent.
Large numbers of cases of measles have recently been reported in France, Italy, Greece and Romania.
Public Health England (PHE) issued the warning to young people who may have missed out on the jab during the MMR scare which began in 1998 when doctor Andrew Wakefield published a paper in The Lancet suggesting a link to autism.
At the peak of the scare, one in five children missed out on the vaccination. The paper was later withdrawn and Dr Wakefield struck off after the research was found to be dishonest,
Dr Mary Ramsey, Head of Immunization at PHE, said: “In the early 2000’s there was a fall in MMR vaccination coverage in children and as a consequence we are now seeing measles cases in young adults…
…Cases of measles also continue to rise across England in unvaccinated teenagers and young adults…
…PHE warned that there could be significant numbers of unprotected teenagers and young adults who could catch measles at summer festivals and when they travel abroad for summer holidays or gap years…
June 21, 2018: ABC 7 Detroit posted an article titled: “Second case of measles identified in Michigan, possible exposure at Detroit Metro Airport”. It was written by Fatima Bangura. From the article:
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services have identified and confirmed a second case of the measles in Ann Arbor.
“It is the second measles case in 2018 for Michigan and just for a point of reference, we only had 2 cases in 2017 in Michigan,” said Angela Mincuci, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department for Health and Human Services. “So for us to have a second case already in June it is an indicator that we need to be on alert.”
The ill person arrived to Detroit Metro Airport on June 12 around 3:45 p.m. at the McNamara Terminal international area. Officials say the person was considered contagious at the time and are contacting potentially exposed passengers from the flight…
June 22, 2018: NJ.com posted an article titled: “Measles exposure warning issued by N.J. health department”. It was written by Susan K. Livio. From the article:
People who visited a gym in Burlington County or doctor offices in Burlington and Camden counties earlier this month may have been exposed to measles, the state Health Department announced Friday.
An infected person who had just returned from an international trip visited a gym in Mount Laurel, physician offices in Camden and Moorestown and Vitura Memorial Hospital in Marlton, the announcement said.
It’s possible that exposed people have not yet developed symptoms, which may emerge as late as July 11, said Christina Tan, the state epidemiologist and a physician…
June 23, 2018: Gloucester Township Patch posted an article titled: “Measles Warnings in 2 New Jersey Counties”. it was written by Tom Davis. From the article:
New Jersey has issued measles warnings in two counties after a number of people were possibly exposed, according to the state Department of Health. The warnings stem from a measles case involving an individual who could have possibly exposed others to the infection while in Burlington and Camden counties. The individual developed symptoms after international travel, according to a DOH release.
June 25, 2018: The Bump posted an article titled: “Kids in These Anti-Vac ‘Hotspots’ are at Risk for Preventable Diseases”. It was written by Ashley Edwards Walker. From the article:
A rise in the number of parents opting no to vaccinate their kids has lead to anti-vaccine “hotspots” across the country, putting kids who live in those areas at particular risk of contracting preventable diseases.
Kids are usually required to receive certain vaccines (like measles, mumps and rubella) before they can enroll in school. Sometimes children can’t be fully vaccinated due to medical reasons, but 18 states currently allow parents to seek non-medical exemptions on the basis of religious or philosophical beliefs. Despite the fact that evidence linking vaccines to toxins, autism, ADHD, or cancer simply doesn’t exist – and that evidence of the safety and efficacy of vaccines does – some people have shied away from vaccinating their kids.
Now, a study published by PLOS Medicine has found that the number of these non-medical exemptions is growing in 12 of those 18 states, and identified 15 metropolitan clusters where more than 5 percent of all kindergarten-age kids are unvaccinated…
The 15 anti-vac hotspots are especially vulnerable to outbreaks of these preventable diseases:
- Seattle, WA
- Spokane, WA
- Portland, OR
- Phoenix, AZ
- Salt Lake City, UT
- Provo, UT
- Houston, TX
- Fort Worth, TX
- Plano, TX
- Austin, TX
- Troy, MI
- Warren, MI
- Detroit, MI
- Kansas City, MO
- Pittsburgh, PA
June 26, 2018: The Japan Times posted an opinion piece titled: “Japan’s backward vaccination policy”. From the opinion piece:
The number of people infected by measles in Japan has already exceeded 100 this year and the total appears to be rising. Those born between 1977 and 1990 have been vaccinated against measles just once. Experts in infectious diseases say that at least two vaccinations are needed to attain immunity. That generation has been hit the hardest by measles this time.
Unless the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry overhauls its vaccination policy, measles is likely to become an epidemic at certain intervals. What the ministry must immediately do is to vaccinate those people who had only one vaccination.
In the event that diseases like measles and rubella become epidemics, the government has the power to give vaccination shots to people of all ages by importing vaccines from abroad, outside the framework of regular vaccination for particular age groups. But the ministry has shown no signs of doing so…
…A university professor of medicine says that Japan is more than 10 years behind European and North American countries in its inoculation policy and his view is widely shared.
Japan has two types of vaccination programs: vaccinations regularly carried out by municipalities and voluntary vaccinations. Although the fees for the regular vaccinations are covered by public funds, the types of vaccinations under this program are limited.
In the United States, publicly funded health care programs cover vaccinations against mumps, hepatitis A, and childhood influenza. In Japan, individuals must pay for the same inoculations. Hepatitis A and influenza could become serious and mumps could result in aftereffects such as hearing impairment and infertility. The National Infectious Diseases (NIID) estimates that every year, some 650 people suffer from hearing impairment due to mumps….
…To increase inoculation rates, it would be effective to make the vaccinations a condition for children’s enrollment at kindergartens and elementary schools. But Japanese schools merely recommend the vaccinations if they find that new students have not received them…
June 27, 2018: The Local reported that a 26-year-old patient has died in France from the measles, the second fatality in a matter of months as an epidemic of the disease sweeps the country and health chiefs warn of the need to be immunized.
…French health authorities revealed on Wednesday that a 26-year-old patient had died from the disease, although details of the sex of the victim and the region where they lived have not been revealed.
Health chiefs from French authority Santé Publique France said the patient’s immune system was too weak to be given a vaccine and that they were probably contaminated by someone close to them who had not been vaccinated…
…Some 2,567 cases of measles have been identified in France since November with the western and southern departments of Gironde, Vienne and the Gard the most affected. Although the number of news cases has dropped slightly, it stands around 50 a week.
To put the figure in context, only 400 cases a year were detected between 2013 and 2015.
Between January and April of 2018, half 1,800 cases of measles declared in France were in the south west region of Nouvelle Aquitaine, which is by far the region in France the most impacted.
In 88 percent of cases, those who have contracted the disease have not been vaccinated, or completed the course of vaccinations. In 22 percent of cases patients have been hospitalized.
Health authorities in France have been raising the alarm about the need to be vaccinated against the extremely contagious disease…
…According to doctors the problem is that many in France – potentially up to one million – did not receive the necessary second injection of the MMR vaccination (Measles Mumps and Rubella)…
June 28, 2018: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP posted information titled: “Vaccination requirement expanded to short-term work permits”. Uruguay expanded its vaccination requirements. Applicants must submit proof that they have been vaccinated against measles, tetanus, and other diseases deemed mandatory by the Ministry of Public Health. Applicants should factor in additional time to obtain the necessary vaccines or vaccination records.
June 28, 2018: Survival International reported: A measles epidemic has hit an isolated tribe on the Brazil-Venezuela border which has very little immunity to the disease. The devastating outbreak has the potential to kill hundreds of the tribespeople unless emergency action is taken. The Yanomami communities where the outbreak occurred are some of the most isolated in the Amazon. Thousands of gold miners have invaded the region, and they are a likely source of the epidemic. Despite repeated warnings, the authorities have taken little effective action to remove them.
July 1, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January 2018 and July 22, 2018 there have been 781 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (272), the South-East (162), South-West (137), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (72) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).
July 2, 2018: KATU 2 reported that Multnomah County officials say approximately 500 people were exposed to a confirmed case of measles in the Portland area Wednesday. Of those 500 people, the Multnomah County Health Department Communicable Disease Services team is monitoring 40 people who were exposed and considered non-immune. Officials say the infected person visited a local emergency room and spent time in a Gresham childcare clinic.
July 9, 2018: Fox Q13 reported that Local public officials in Snohomish County, Washington, confirmed Friday that a European child visiting the United States as part of a summer program had become infected with measles. That child visited 9 businesses in June before being diagnosed with the measles.
August 6, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January and 6 August 2018 there have been 807 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (281), the South-East (166), South-West (139), West Midlands (84) and Yorkshire and Humberside (75) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures.)
August 9, 2018: RTE reported that five further cases of measles have been notified to the Health Service Executive, bringing to 11 the number of cases in the current outbreak. The HSE has said it is particularly concerned about the risk of measles in children who attended Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in recent weeks, who may have been exposed to an infectious case of measles.
August 11, 2018: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported: So far in 2018, 124 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
A total of 9 measles outbreaks (defined as 3 or more linked cases) have been reported so far in 2018. Outbreaks in countries to which Americans often travel can directly contribute to an increase in measles cases in the U.S.
There are NO current multi-state measles outbreak in the United States. The number of reported cases in the U.S. in 2018 is similar to recent years and in expected range. Some recent media reports misinterpreted data regularly issued by CDC surveillance teams. But measles is still common in many parts of the world. Every year, unvaccinated people get measles while they are abroad and then bring the disease into the United States and spread it to others. Make sure you and your family are protected with MMR vaccine.
August 11, 2018: The Oregonian reported that someone who traveled to Portland earlier this summer was infected with measles, and health officials are working to notify people who may have been exposed to the virus. The Oregon Health Authority on Saturday said the traveler was in the Portland area July 30 to August 5. Officials confirmed the case on Friday.
August 11, 2018: South Strand News reported that The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control said Friday a confirmed case of measles has been reported in Georgetown County. The patient lives in Georgetown County, DHEC said. The agency has begun a contact investigation and is notifying people who may have been exposed in specific settings. The disease was confirmed by a local health care provider.
August 13, 2018: TampaBay.com reported that an unvaccinated child has contracted the contagious measles virus in Pinellas County, according to the Florida Department of Health, which said Monday it is investigating the case.
It was unclear how the child contracted the virus, according to the health department. But local officials are working to identify and notify people who were potentially exposed. The child was diagnosed at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater.
While there are no outbreaks reported in Florida, two residents and one visitor were confirmed to have measles after trips to Brazil and France last month, according to the health department. So far this year, four Florida residents and three visitors were in the state while considered “infectious”.
August 15, 2018: WoodTV.com reported that cases of measles in Michigan have hit a high unseen in two decades.
Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the state has tallied 10 cases of measles so far this year – the highest case count since 1998. Minicuci says 9 of the cases are from Washtenaw County; the remaining case is from Oakland county.
Michigan is among 21 states and the District of Columbia that have reported 107 cases of measles through July 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC says the majority of cases involve people who were not vaccinated and traveled to a country where measles is common.
August 16, 2018: Voice of America News reported that more than 100 cases of measles have been diagnosed in 2018 in 21 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. As of July 14, 2018, 107 people had contracted measles in Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and the nation’s capitol.
Voice of American also reported that this year’s outbreak is on pace to surpass last year’s, when 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. The CDC said the majority of people who contracted measles were unvaccinated.
August 16, 2018: News & Record reported that Florida health officials are urging parents to make sure their children are vaccinated against measles after three cases were reported in a Florida county. The cases in Florida’s Gulf Coast county of Pinellas are the first there in 10 years.
August 16, 2018: News 4 JAX reported that Florida Department of Health officials said there was one case of measles in Duval County earlier this year, but that person acquired the disease overseas and has fully recovered.
August 16, 2018: Outbreak News Today reported about a measles alert in Vancouver, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Alaska:
A teenager who traveled with her parents from Asia to Vancouver, British Columbia and later on a Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Jewel voyage to Seward, Alaska, was infected with measles, prompting health alerts to be issued.
The girl began experiencing cold-like symptoms while traveling in Thailand approximately one week prior to boarding the cruise ship on August 6.
She traveled from Tokyo to Vancouver on July 30, later traveling to Portland, Oregon and back to Vancouver on Aug. 6.
Within several hours of boarding the ship, the child was put in medical isolation due to persistence of symptoms and concern for possible measles. Per the parents, the child had never received the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine.
The patient remained isolated in medical isolation until August 8th when she was transported to PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center. The patient was discharged from the hospital on August 10th. Later that day, the patient was confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing to have been infected with the measles virus…
August 16, 2018: News 12 Long Island reported that Nassau health officials are issuing a warning on the threat of measles. “Measles was thought to be eradicated in the United States. However there are many people in the United States who choose not to be vaccinated,” says Dr. Paul Pipia, NUMC medical director. “So when you choose not to be vaccinated, you are now susceptible to get the measles. If you have been vaccinated, you won’t get the measles.”
August 16, 2018: The Advocate reported that the first of the two measles cases reported by the Louisiana Department of Health came in April, when a man unvaccinated against measles traveled from London to New Orleans for a single event, Wrestlemania, and came down with the disease. The man, an otherwise healthy adult, was treated in a New Orleans hospital for four days.
The second incident in Louisiana this year was reported in May and involved a school-age child who had not received the MMR vaccination and had traveled with her family to a country where measles is endemic. The child was treated for several days in a hospital while on a break from school.
August 17, 2018: Independent reported the following:
…Measles had been declared “eliminated” from the US in 2000, meaning the disease was no longer continuously being transmitted within the country. But American unvaccinated travelers who get measles while visiting other countries can sometimes spread the disease to other unvaccinated people when they return, which sometimes leads to an outbreak.
The CDC has cautioned that a measles endemic, which would mean its regularly found in a particular area, could re-establish itself in the U.S.
“Research shows that people who refuse vaccines tend to group together in communities,” the agency states. “When measles gets into communities with pockets of unvaccinated people, outbreaks are more likely to occur. These communities make it difficult to control the spread of disease. And these communities make us vulnerable to having the virus re-establish itself in our country.”
August 17, 2018: ABC 15 Arizona reported that health officials have issued a warning of a potential measles exposure after an out-of-state visitor with the measles traveled to northern Arizona. A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health Services says the tourist was potentially contagious from August 6 to 8 and visited multiple locations in northern Arizona. There are currently no cases of measles in the state.
August 18, 2018: Forbes posted an article titled: “CDC Reports 107 Measles Cases Already This Year, Here Are Potential Outbreak Hotspots”. It was written by Bruce Y. Lee. From the article:
…A study published in the journal PLOS Medicine found that over the past decade more and more parents have been opting out of school requirements to get their kids vaccinated in the 18 states that allow such non-medical exemptions (NME). In other words, more and more parents are taking the option to increase their kids’ (and other kids’) risk for getting measles, a highly contagious and potential deadly disease…
…Keep in mind that NMEs are not medical exemptions, otherwise they’d be called medical exemptions. In other words, parents seeking NMEs aren’t doing so because a real doctor said that their kids shouldn’t get the vaccine because of an immune system disorder or a severe allergy to vaccine components. They are “opting out” because of their beliefs…
… For the study, a research team from the National School of Tropical Medicine (Jacqueline K. Olive, Peter J. Hotez, MD, PhD, Ashish Damania, and Melissa S. Nolan, PhD, MPH) analyzed data from these 18 states and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study found that in 12 of the states that allow NMEs (Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and Utah) the number of NMEs has been steadily increasing since 2009. (Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin round out the rest of the 18 states that allow NMEs).
The research team also found that higher NME rates correlated with lower measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccination rate. In other words, MMR vaccination rates tended to be lower, the nigher the number of NMEs. This is concerning because scientific studies (and common sense) have showed how locations with lower measles vaccination rates are more likely to have measles outbreaks…
The study is titled: “The State of the anti vaccine movement in the United States: A focused examination of nonmedical exemptions in states and countries.” It was published in PLOS Medicine on June 12, 2018.
August 20, 2018: The Irish Times posted an article titled: “Measles outbreak in Ireland reaches 76 an Europe sees surge in cases”. It was written by Conor Gallagher. From the article:
Cases of measles in Europe have reached a record high according to the World Health Organization (WHO), with Ireland seeing a massive increase in diagnoses since last year.
So far this year, 76 cases of measles have been detected, according to the latest statistics from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). This compares to just one confirmed case during the same period last year.
During the entirety of 2017 there were 25 cases, with most cases coming near the end of the year as part of the current outbreak.
The figures show Ireland is not escaping the lethal outbreak which is spreading across continental Europe. More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths.
Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5.273. WHO Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.
The HSC said there has been no confirmed deaths in Ireland this year as a result of the outbreak…
August 20, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January 2018 and 13 August 2018 there have been 828 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (291), the South-East (169), South-West (138), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (80) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures).
August 20, 2018: BBC reported that more than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths. Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5,273. Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated. In England, there have been 807 cases so far this year. The Who is calling on European countries to take action.
August 20, 2018: Santa Monica Patch reported that a tourist with measles visited sites around Santa Monica earlier this month, and public officials are warning the public – especially those who may have been in those areas and have not been vaccinated against measles. The tourist went to six locations in Santa Monica from August 8-10.
August 20, 2018: Global News reported that the World Health Organization said the number of measles cases in Europe jumped sharply during the first six months of 2018 and at least 37 people have died.
The U.N. agency’s European office said Monday more than 41,000 measles cases were reported in the region during the first half of the year – more than in all 12-month periods so far this decade. The agency said half – some 23,000 cases – this year occurred in Ukraine, where an insurgency backed by Russia has been fighting the government for four years in the east in a conflict that has killed over 10,00 people. France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Russia, and Serbia also had more than 1,000 measles infections each so far this year.
August 21, 2018: KOIN 5 reported that another case of measles has been diagnosed in the Portland-Metro Area, the second confirmed case in the last 10 days. The Oregon Health Authority said the second individual, diagnosed on Sunday, had been in close contact with the first person diagnosed. That person was diagnosed on August 10, and had spent time in the area from July 30 to August 6.
This is the fifth measles diagnosis in the area since June 27, though the previous ones are not connected to the most recent two diagnoses. The second person diagnosed with measles had traveled out of state, later becoming sick.
August 21, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Resurgence of deadly measles blamed on low MMR vaccination rates”. From the article:
A huge surge in measles cases across Europe has been reported by the World Health Organization, which says low MMR vaccination rates are to blame.
More than 41,000 cases of measles have been reported in the European region between January and June. Last year there were nearly 24,000 for the whole 12 months, which was the highest count in any year of the last decade…
…In seven countries (France, Georgia, Greece, Italy, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine) more than 1,000 children and adults have been infected in the first half of 2018 and at least 37 people have died. The biggest toll was in the Ukraine, which had 23,000 cases – half the European total. There were measles-related deaths in all seven countries. Serbia, with 14, had the most…
…The WHO [World Health Organization] goal to eliminate measles from Europe by 2020 faces major problems because of regions or cities with particularly low vaccination rates and the easy transmission across borders of the measles virus, which is one of the most infectious agents known. Some of the deaths in Greece in 2016 were in the Roma community, who had not had access to immunization clinics. Outbreaks in Romania, Italy or Australia quickly spread as people travel for migration, work or pleasure…
…Take-up of the vaccine doubters had been embraced by some political movements, who advocate “parent choice”. The Five Star movement in Italy opposes a law that would have fined parents who do not immunize their children, while in France, Marine le Pen of the newly-named National Rally party is against mandatory vaccination….
…Some parents do not take their child for vaccination while others delay. “I think there is hesitancy for very many reasons,” [Mark Muscat, medical officer for vaccine-preventable diseases at WHO Europe] said. “There are a lot of rumors and misinformation about safety. There are also problems where some parents have limited access to health systems and some have become complacent. They do not realize the importance of vaccinating their children because the diseases is not around.”
“That is totally wrong. Unfortunately we have some measles-related deaths. Last year it was 38. This year out is already 37 in the first six months.”…
August 22, 2018: The Fresno Bee reported that an individual with measles possibly exposed people earlier this month while visiting the Country Store at Harris Ranch, health officials said Wednesday. The visitor was inside the Country Store and women’s restroom at Harris Ranch in Coalinga on August 10 from 2-2:30 p.m.
This is the second measles scare in Fresno County, California, this year. In May, a person with measles symptoms visited an urgent care center and Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno. No other measles cases were reported from that incident.
August 22, 2018: The Irish Times reported that the HSE (Health Service Executive) is dealing with a measles outbreak in north Dublin, with 13 cases recorded in adults and children in the north inner city area since July. Transmission occurred in Dublin hospitals and in households with poor vaccine update, according to the Department of Public Health East. It said it is now starting to see people who acquired measles in the wider inner city community. There have been no deaths from measles associated with this outbreak to date.
August 22, 2018: ABC Columbia reported that the measles virus had been confirmed in South Carolina. This is the first case confirmed in the state this year and the Department of Health and Environmental control is warning parents. It has been more than 20 years since South Carolina has seen a case of the measles.
According to the director of the USC School of Medicine’s Research Center Christine Turley said someone who has measles might have had it for four days before even knowing they are infected, and by that time it’d be too late to contain the spread of the virus.
Turley said the problem is twofold. The first side is that parents do not vaccinate their kids even though it is deemed completely safe. The second issue is that people travel to countries where measles is still a problem. That even includes England and France according to Turley.
August 23, 2018: BuzzFeed News posted an article titled: “Russian Trolls Are Spreading Confusion About Vaccine Safety on Twitter”. It was written by Azeen Ghorayshi. From the article:
Russian trolls have tweeted extensively about vaccines, part of a border campaign to amplify polarizing issues in US culture, a new study shows.
Accounts run by the Russian government-backed Internet Research Agency tweeted about vaccines roughly 22 times more frequently than the average Twitter user, the study found. The tweets fell roughly equally into pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine categories.
“They don’t seem to have a particular agenda concerning vaccines – rather they seem to have a desire to boost both sides of the debate,” said David Broniatowski, assistant professor of engineering at George Washington University and lead author of the study. “That’s consistent with this idea of spreading discord.”…
…Such confusion about vaccines, however, has the potential for dangerous real-life consequences. Fear about the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine has driven a number of measles cases in Europe, particularly in Ukraine. More people have been infected in the first six months of 2018 than in any year in the last decade, and at least 37 people have died…
…The researchers analyzed roughly 1.8 million tweets posted between July 2014 and September 2017. Using a particle list of Russian troll accounts released by Twitter and first published by NBC News, Broniatowski found that these accounts were 22 times more likely to tweet messages related to vaccines than the average account. Traditional spambots (accounts that are programmed to tweet) were unlikely to post vaccine-related messages, the researchers found, but “sophisticated” bots, or those with some clear human influence, were more likely to tweet about vaccines.
The researchers then pulled out the roughly 10,000 tweets related to vaccines. Accounts run by real people tended to be pro-vaccine, whereas those run by bots were anti-vaccine, they found. However, for the vast majority of vaccine-related tweets – some 93% – an algorithm used by the researches couldn’t determine whether they originated from a person or a bot…
August 23, 2018: NBCDFW 5 reported that The Colin County Health Department (Texas) has confirmed one case of measles at Plano West Senior High School. The Plano ISD says a student came down with the virus last week. Health officials say anyone at school between August 14 and August 16 may have been exposed.
In addition, a separate case of measles was also reported to the Dallas County Health Department. Health officials there say a person with a confirmed case of measles visited North Texas from August 14 and August 17.
August 23, 2018: The Guardian reported that bots and Russian trolls spread misinformation about vaccines on Twitter to sow division and distribute malicious content before and during the American presidential election, according to a new study.
…Scientists at George Washington University, in Washington DC, made the discovery while trying to improve social media communications for public health workers, researchers said. Instead, they found trolls and bots skewing online debate and upending consensus about vaccine safety.
The study discovered several accounts, now known to belong to the same Russian trolls who interfered in the US election, as well as marketing and malware bots, tweeting about vaccines.
Russian trolls played both sides, the researchers said, tweeting pro-and anti-vaccine content in a politically charged environment…
…The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, comes as Europe faces one of the largest measles outbreaks in decades, one which has been partly attributed to falling vaccination rates. In the first six months of 2018, there were 41,000 cases of measles across the continent, more than in the entirety of 2017. Meanwhile, the rate of children not receiving vaccines for non-medical reasons is climbing in the US…
August 24, 2018: Miami Herald reported reported that the Pan American Health Organization on Friday urged Latin American countries to boost measles vaccinations, as an outbreak in Venezuela has killed more than 60 people and threatens to erode regional gains.
The PAHO said that since July 2017, Venezuela has had 3,545 confirmed cases of measles that have resulted in 62 deaths. In addition, 10 countries in the region have reported 1,459 cases of measles and six deaths – some related to Venezuela’s growing exodus.
The PAHO says 95 percent of children under 5 must be vaccinated in order to effectively stop outbreaks.
August 24, 2018: Ashburn Patch reported that the Loudoun County Health Department (Virginia) posed an alert regarding potential exposure to measles. There are two locations in the county where, on August 17 and August 20, people “may have been exposed to a person with measles.” Health officials are mounting a coordinated effort to identify people who may be exposed.
August 24, 2018: Mass Live reported that Massachusetts state health officials are warning that an individual diagnosed with measles in the commonwealth may have exposed others to the highly contagious disease at a number of locations including Logan Airport. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it has confirmed a case of measles which was diagnosed at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center.
August 24, 2018: KOMO News reported that a man from King County (Washington) may have exposed others to measles, according to local public health officials.
…The man was traveling from Asia to Sea-Tac Airport and was reportedly wearing a face mask both at the airport and Harborview Medical Center’s Emergency Department at the time of potential exposure. Health officials are encouraging the public to check immunization records and call a healthcare provider if they develop a fever and rash between August 28 and September 11….
August 24, 2018: MPR News reported that last year, the state of Minnesota had 75 cases of measles, making it the largest outbreak since 1990. Almost a third of those patients got so sick that they were hospitalized. Even though there is an effective measles vaccine, health officials say 91 precent of those who came down with the disease last year were not vaccinated against the disease.
Since last year, public health officials say they’ve implemented new strategies to help combat infectious disease outbreaks and educate parents about the importance of vaccination.
Earlier thsi month, health officials announced that a Somali-American child who had recently traveled to a country where measles is common came down with the disease. Measles has been identified in a second child who lives in Kenya but who traveled to Minnesota and also came down with the disease while here.
Among Somali-American kids, where last year’s outbreak was concerned, vaccination rates are up this year. At the time of last year’s outbreak, the vaccine coverage rate for Somali-American kids was 42 percent and this year it’s about 58 percent. The measles vaccination rate for non-Somali-American children is about 91 percent.
August 25, 2018: Boston Herald reported that state officials had confirmed a case of measles and warned others who may have been exposed. The infected individual was at a number of locations in the Boston area.
August 25, 2018: Lebanon Daily News reported that patients and visitors to Hershey Medical Center may have been exposed to the measles virus, hospital officials say. According to a news release, staff at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are in the process of notifying patients and visitors known to have been in or around the Emergency Department check-in area between 8:30 and 11 p.m. on August 18 that they may have been exposed to the measles virus.
On August 18, a patient exhibiting symptoms consistent with measles arrived in the Emergency Department. Due to those symptoms, the patient was promptly places in a negative pressure room and precautions were taken to avoid contact with other individuals. Patient blood test results returned on Friday, August 24, suggest the clinically suspected diagnosis of measles is very likely.
August 25, 2018: The Economist posted an article titled: “Anti-vax fears drive a measles outbreak in Europe”. From the article:
Each year as the summer winds down across Europe, so do measles cases – which tend to peak in the late spring. August is, therefore, a good time to take stock of the measles season for the year. The tally for Europe, published on August 20th by the World Health Organization, shows that cases in the first six months of 2018 exceeded the annual total for each of the past five years. About half of the 41, 000 cases this year were in Ukraine. Infection rates also jumped in Serbia, Greece and Georgia. In recent years big outbreaks have erupted in Italy, Romania, France and Germany.
None of this is a surprise. In the past decade, measles-vaccination rates in some European countries have often fallen below those in parts of Africa. Italy, France and Serbia, for example, have lower child-vaccinations rates than Burundi, Rwanda and Senegal. In some years, vaccine shortages were to blame, especially in parts of Easter Europe. Both Ukraine and Serbia have had irregular supplies of the MMR vaccine (which protects against measles, mumps and rubella) since 2014. Even after recent outbreaks, they were not able procure enough doses cover older cohorts, health-workers and other groups at risk of becoming infected.
But suspicions of vaccines is also partly to blame. Unlike America, Europe does not have an organized “anti-vac movement, but in many countries fears are much higher. Two-fifths of people in France – a country whose people pop antibiotics like sweets – believe that vaccines are unsafe. A quarter or Greeks and Ukranians are also hostile. During recent outbreaks, some countries had dozens of health-workers coming down with measles – which suggests that they, to, may have a dim view of vaccines. A survey of French doctors in 2014, for example, found that nearly a quarter believed that some of the officially recommended vaccines were not useful…
August 27, 2018: Click 2 Houston reported that a boy between the ages of 1 and 3 years old has tested positive for measles in Houston after recently traveling out of the country, health officials confirmed. The Houston Health Department said they have a suspected case of measles and that the boy is being treated at the Texas Children’s Hospital.
August 29, 2018: Gov.UK reported: Between 1 January 2018 and 23 August 2018 there have been 859 laboratory confirmed measles cases in England. Cases were reported in most areas with London (300), South-East (169), South-West (138), West Midlands (85) and Yorkshire and Humberside (80) reporting the most cases (based on provisional figures.)
August 29, 2018: CBS 4 Minnesota reported that a second child in a month has been diagnosed with measles in Minnesota. Neither child was vaccinated. The two cases involving the children, ages 2 and 5, are not related. Both apparently contracted the disease in Africa before returning to Minnesota. The first child who got measles is no longer contagious. The second child is being monitored, and will no longer be contagious in a little over two weeks.
August 29, 2018: ABC Action News Tampa Bay posted an article titled: “4 more cases of measles reported in Pinellas County, total now stands at 7”. It was written by Veronica Beltran and Sarah Hollenbeck. From the article:
- Four additional cases of measles have been identified in Pinellas County, according to the Florida Department of health in Pinellas County.
- These new findings now make seven cases of measles in Pinellas.
- Those infected were unvaccinated. Some of the individuals are family members, with one of them reporting international travel.
August 30, 2018: NBC News reported that a nurse who worked at the Texas Children’s Hospital was no longer employed there after she posted on social media about a young patient with measles. The post has since been taken down. The nurse, who has not been named, made anti-vaccine comments on Facebook. Another Facebook user copied a screenshot of the nurse’s comment and posted it on the Texas Children’s Facebook page.
The nurse posted her comment on an anti-vaccine Facebook page. Her comment included: “The kid was super sick. Sick enough to be admitted to the ICU and he looked miserable”. The nurse said she still opposed vaccines.
The Facebook user who revealed the nurse’s posts said she used an alias on social media and did not wish to be identified by NBC News for fear of retaliation by members of the anti-vaccine movement, who often attack medical professionals when they speak out about the safety of vaccines.
August 31, 2018: Orlando Sentinel reported that there had been 11 cases of measles in Florida so far this year, which is higher than what the state has been reporting for the past decade, according to the latest data the state health department.
All 11 cases this year involve individuals who were not vaccinated, according to the state health department. Most of the cases so far have been identified in Pinellas County, where seven children have been diagnosed with the disease. The agency has identified nearly 1,500 people who may have been exposed to the virus. Three other measles cases were reported in Miami-Dade County and one in Duval County, according to the health department.
“The measles vaccine is the only way to prevent infection. All persons born after 1957 should receive the vaccine,” said the health department.
September 1, 2018: Gavi The Vaccine Alliance posted information in an article titled: “Measles vaccine campaign launched in Afghanistan”. From the article:
The Government of Afghanistan, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have today launched a campaign to protect children 13.8 million children aged 9 months to 10 years against measles…
…Measles is one fo the most contagious infections known to humans, and ranks among the top four childhood killers worldwide. In Afghanistan, of the 25,000 reported cases in 2017, 85 per cent are amongst children under the age of ten. This spans over 20 of the 34 provinces across Afghanistan, with the worst affected provinces being Kabul, Paktika, Lunar, Badghis and Ghor…
…The measles vaccine will be administered free of charge in all mosques, villages and health facilities throughout the country, targeting all children under the age of ten, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status or history of disease. This campaign will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will run from 1st -10th September targeting 16 provinces including the most affected, at risk and accessible provinces. The second phase, from 17th – 26th November will cover the remain provinces…
…The Afghanistan Demographic Health Survey of 2015 estimates that only 60% of eligible Afghan children receive their first dose of measles vaccine every year while less than 40% receive the second dose. Low coverage led to approximately 300 deaths from the disease last year. Routine vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns remain key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths…
September 1, 2018: ReliefWeb reported that the Government of Afghanistan, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, have launched a nationwide vaccination campaign to protect 13.8 million children aged 9 months to 10 years against measles.
The measles vaccine will be administered free of charge in all mosques, villages and health facilities throughout the country, targeting all children under the age of 10, irrespective of their previous measles vaccination status or history of the disease. This campaign will be implemented in two phases. The first phase will run from September 1-10 targeting 16 provinces including the most affected, at risk and accessible provinces. The second phase, from November 17-26 will cover the remaining 18 provinces.
September 5, 2018: The Wall Street Journal posted an article titled: “Romania’s Deadly Measles Outbreak Spotlights Widespread Rejection of Vaccines”. It was written by Pietro Lombardi. From the article:
…Romania is fighting a deadly measles outbreak that has seen more than 15,000 people infected with the disease and that has claimed 59 lives since one of Europe’s most lethal measles outbreaks in decades started in 2016.
That has thrown a spotlight on plummeting vaccination rates in the poor country, which has emerged as the leading edge of an escalating antivaccine trend that has plagued Europe in recent years.
More than 41,000 people were infected with measles in the first half of this year in the wider European region, compared with roughly 24,000 for all 2017, according to the World Health Organization. By contrast, the U.S. saw about 100 cases during the same period this year…
…Mistrust of authorities, a vocal anti vaccine movement, poverty, irregular supply of vaccines and obstacles to delivering them to Romania’s Roma and other marginalized communities has exacerbated disease risks…
…Skepticism about vaccine safety runs high in the European region, according to a 2016 survey of 67 countries by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Seven of the 10 countries with the strongest skepticism about vaccination safety were in this region…
…In Poland, an antivaccination movement recently gathered enough signatures to force parliamentary debate on a proposal to make vaccines voluntary.
In Ukraine, a political firestorm in 2008 over allegations that a teenager’s death was linked to a measles vaccine pushed the government to destroy millions of vaccines. Vaccination rates plummeted to 42% in 2016 from 97% in 2007. Ukraine has had nearly 30,000 cases of measles this year, including 13 deaths, while polio and diphtheria have returned. The government is now working closely with the United Nations to improve vaccination rates, including by educating parents and medical workers.
In Romania, the antivaccine movement coalesced about a decade ago when the government introduced the HPV vaccine. Local celebrities, religious groups and bloggers pushing a debunked theory that vaccines cause autism egged it on.
The antivax movement also gained strength from Romanian’s mistrust of authorities. Ovidiu Covaciu, coordinator of a pro-vaccine group, points to scandals involving diluted disinfectant sold to hospitals and the authorities’ response to a deadly nightclub fire.
In recent years, low stocks of vaccines, which were poorly distributed around the country, also hurt. In particular, it compounded the difficulties of delivering vaccines to some itinerant or closed communities…
September 5, 2018: The Coffs Coast Advocate reported four cases of measles were confirmed on Mid North Coast, in New South Wales, Australia. Local health authorities are asking people to watch for symptoms of measles with four cases now confirmed in the Coffs Harbour to Woolgoolga area. A further suspected case in an infant is being investigated. The cases occurred after two unvaccinated school-aged children returned from an overseas holiday with the disease and infected two classmates. Three of the four primary school-aged children are unvaccinated.
September 5, 2018: PBS News Hour posted an article titled: “What’s happened since California let fewer families reject vaccines”. It was written by Laura Santhanam. From the article:
A California law that aims to limit the number of people who can refuse vaccines has led to a slight improvement in kindergarteners’ vaccination rate in recent years, according to a new study in Health Affairs. But the law was not as effective in private schools, and did little to break up localized clusters of children who opted out of vaccines.
It’s these local clusters of vaccinations that put a specific community or school at the greatest risk, according to the study, which linked large measles outbreaks across the United States to “declining population vaccination and to voluntary abstention from measles vaccine.”…
…All 50 states require vaccinations for students entering public school. But the vast majority also give families the ability to opt out of those vaccinations for personal or religious reasons.
Nationwide, childhood vaccinations are dropping. Today, roughly nine out of 10 kids get immunized for measles, mumps, and rubella, according to the latest available federal data, a slight drop from the level seen in 2007. That opens the door for outbreaks in otherwise preventable diseases…
…In the Health Affairs study, researchers analyzed data from the California Department of Public Health on total exemptions filed on behalf of kindergarteners over the course of 15 years – before and after the law went into effect. The improvement they found was incremental at best; researchers found that personal belief exemptions dropped slightly from 3.1 precent to 2.3 percent.
They also found that the number of people susceptible to contracting measles grows every year that parents forgo vaccinating their children… raising the risk for more and larger outbreaks…
September 7, 2018: TIME reported that a Texas resident with measles may have exposed passengers on four Southwest Airlines flights to the highly contagious virus. The individual took flights connecting through Houston’s Hobby Airport on August 21 and 22, the Houston Health Department announced Thursday. The passenger was diagnosed with measles after traveling, a Southwest representative told TIME, but health department said the person was contagious at the time of the flights.
September 7, 2018: Manchester Evening News reported that more than 30,000 children in Greater Manchester have not received the MMR jab. The Manchester Evening News analyzed figures for the number of young people born since 2000 in the region, who haven’t had the first does of the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine by at the age of five.
It comes as Public Health England (PHE) reported a ‘national measles incident’, with a five-fold increase in measles cases reported in 2018. Experts believe the disease is primarily affecting younger people who did not have the vaccine as a child due to unfounded health fears.
September 7, 2018: CBC reported that Fraser Health said passengers on a recent BC Ferries sailing along with students and staff at a high school in Maple Ridge may have been exposed to measles. The authority says on Aug. 31, a person with measles took the 7 p.m. PT sailing from Tsawwassen to Mayne Island aboard the Salish Raven.
The person is also believed to have visited the Saturna Lighthouse Pub on Saturna Island on Sept. 3 between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. PT. Ingrid Tyler, a medical health officer with Fraser Health, said the infected person came back from their trip and then attended school starting on September 4.
September 7, 2018: CBC posted an article titled: “How opposition to vaccines caused a measles outbreak in Europe.” From the article:
Across Europe this summer, public officials have been grappling with a surge of measles, which the World Health Organization attributes to low rates of immunization.
The reluctance people have around vaccination comes from the dependence people have on online and social media networks, according to medical anthropologist Emily Brunson.
In her research, she found if more than 25 per cent of an online network where anti-vaxxers or people skeptical of vaccines, a parent will put off immunizing their child even if they originally believed in the importance of vaccines.
The challenge is how to ensure people who rely on these networks gets accurate information about vaccinations, Dr. Brunson told The Current guest host Piya Chattopadhyay….
…Another way that social media is increasing the public’s distrust towards vaccines and is due to the influence of Russian trolls and bots, according to new research published in the American Journal of Public Health.
Researchers discovered several anti-vaccine tweets were attributed to bot accounts, or hacked accounts that were turned into bots. More than 250 tweets about vaccination were sent by an account linked to the Internet Research Agency, a company backed by the Russian government and implicated in the 2016 election…
September 8, 2018: CTV News Montreal posted an article titled: “Education will prevent measles outbreak in Quebec, experts say”. From the article:
A measles outbreak in Europe has left dozens dead this year, and thousands infected.
Quebec had smaller outbreaks of the virus in recent years – and doctors are hoping the extremely contagious and dangerous disease won’t come back….
…Experts say some hesitate to vaccinate because of religion, or because they’ve heard stories about adverse reactions.
Many still worry about a fraudulent British study from 20 years ago that claimed there was a link between vaccines and autism – a claim that had no basis in reality….
…Unlike other provinces, vaccinations are not mandatory in Quebec.
Dr. Papenburg says doctors at the Children’s talk to parents regularly about their vaccination concerns.
“The fear of the disease sometimes becomes less important that the fear of some potential, theoretical, or even non-existent side effects of the vaccine,” he addd.
He says it’s important to educate about how dangerous measles can be in order to prevent what’s happening in Europe from happening here.
September 8, 2018: HuffPost posts an article titled: “Italy Is Living Through What Happens When Politicians Embrace Anti-Vaxxers”. It was written by Nick Robins-Early. From the article:
Italy’s Five Star movement, which was founded by a man who once called HIV a hoax, campaigned against mandatory vaccinations ahead of the country’s elections in March – and won. Last month, party leaders pushed through a law that ended compulsory immunizations for children attending public school.
The new law has made Italy the darling of the global anti-vaxxer movement. But now the country is struggling to stop a measles outbreak that has already infected thousands of people, and Europe is recording its highest number of cases in a decade – an inevitable and foreseeable result of anti-vaccine policies and rhetoric, experts say…
…The efforts of Five Star and its far-right coalition partner, the League, have particularly complicated the global campaign to combat measles, and extremely contagious virus that often spreads among children and can result in severe complications, including pneumonia and encephalitis. The World Health Organization in 2012 set the goal for Europe to eliminate the disease by 2015. Instead, an estimated 41,000 people across the continent have been infected in the first six months of this year.
Even a slight dip in a population’s vaccination rate can have disastrous effects: Countries need at least a 95 percent coverage rate to be measles-free. So when fewer people get vaccinated, kids get sick…
…One top Five Star official, Paola Taverna, last month backed hazardous “measles parties” where children gather to infect each other and build up immunity. League party member Matteo Salvini described mandatory vaccinations as “useless and in many cases dangerous” in June. Some party candidates went even further, falsely claiming vaccines cause autism and referring to state-funded vaccination as “free genocide.”..
…In little over three months in office, Five Star and the League have furthered the goals of a small but vocal anti-vaccine community…
September 8, 2018: SouthAsia Views posted an article titled “25 school children in Assam fall ill after measles vaccination: Officials”. I’m including it here because the article is being passed around by anti-vaxxers who are trying to trick people into believing that the measles vaccine is unsafe. But, if you read the article, it is very clear that it does NOT say the the measles vaccine is unsafe. From the article:
At least 25 school students complained of nausea, stomach ache and fever after being administered measles vaccine Saturday in Assam’s Hailakandi district, officials said.
The students of Sahabad ME Madrasa under Katlicherra revenue circle were administered measles rubella (MR) just after the mid-day meal following which several of them complained of nausea, fever, stomach ache and vomiting, Hailakandi Deputy Commissoner Adil Khan said.
The students were taken to the nearby Katlicherra Block Public Health Centre for treatment.
However, their condition is said to be stable and there was no reason to panic, officials said.
Joint Director, Health Services, Avijit Basu said that six students had been hospitalized with the rest have been kept under observation and would be discharged soon….
…Basu said he had examined the vaccines administered to the 120 students of the school in the afternoon and found them to be in order.
She said the MR vaccine was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and is of high quality.
There DIO said there was no need to panic as common side effects such as fever, rashes, and dizziness could occur in some cases following MR vaccination…
Let’s look at the facts:
- 120 students were given the MR vaccine after they ate lunch.
- The MR vaccine is not the same as the MMR vaccine that is used in the United States and other countries.
- Approximately 25 students experienced nausea, fever, rashes, and dizziness. These are common side effects of MR vaccination and are temporary.
- The Joint Health Director of Health Service checked the vaccines that were administered to the students and found them to be in order.
- All of the ill students were given medical attention. The majority were released from observation. Six were hospitalized.
September 11, 2018: SELF posted an article titled: “Passengers on 4 Southwest Flights Possibly Exposed to Measles”. It was written by Carolyn L. Todd. From the article:
…Now, health officials say that, in late August, a whole bunch of Southwest Airlines passengers may have been exposed to the notoriously contagious measles virus….
…The first flight, on Tuesday, August 21, was from Love Field Airport in Dallas to William P. Hobby International Airport in Houston. There, the passenger disembarked and boarded a connecting flight to Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas. The next day, August 22, the passenger returned, taking the same route in reverse, Harlingen to Houston, and then Houston to Dallas…
…”Because of the contagiousness level of this virus, whenever it’s around unvaccinated people, it invariably finds them,” Dr. [Amesh] Adalja [M.D., a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security] says. In fact, nine out of 10 people who are without immunity to the virus will contract if exposed, the CDC reports. “That’s why it’s so important to keep vaccination rates against measles as high as possible,” Dr. Adalja says…
…”We’ve seen the anti-vaccine movement make very big in-roads in certain parts of the country,” Dr. Adlja says. “There are pockets of this country where vaccination rates dip low enough that we can see small outbreaks occurring)…
September 14, 2018: The Star Vancouver posted an article titled: “Risk of measles exposure confirmed Vancouver music festival, transit locations”. It was written by Cherise Seucharan. From the article:
Public health officials are warning that some people may have been exposed to measles after a person with the disease was present at several locations throughout downtown Vancouver, including last weekend’s Skookhum festival, a restaurant, and some public transit lines…
…In a statment, VCH [Vancouver Coastal Health] said that the majority of people in the Provence have been immunized or have already had the disease and are protected. But they warn that if people who have not been immunized or have only had one dose of the vaccine and think they have been exposed, should get immunized within six days of exposure. Vaccines are available at local doctors offices, pharmacies or health centres for free.
September 18, 2018: The Guardian posted an article titled: “Take-up of MMR vaccine falls for fourth year in a row in England.” It was written by Sarah Marsh. From the article:
The proportion of children in England getting immunized for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) has fallen for the fourth year in a row, as uptake for a further nine out of the 12 routine vaccinations has dropped, figures show.
Experts have said the impact of this is already playing out, with an ongoing measles outbreak in England. So far this year 876 cases have been confirmed, more than three times the number for the whole of 2017.
They said the figure painted a concerning picture and that a continuing downward trend in immunizations for children could prompt the spread of harmful diseases within communities…
…[Dr. Doug] Brown [chief executive of the British Society for Immunology] put the fall in vaccinations down to a combination of factors, including parents facing logistical problems in accessing immunization services.
Another issue, Brown said, was there was no consistency approach to reminding people when their vaccination is due, with some areas doing this better than others. “Thirdly, there is also some hesitation to immunise – views on the safety of vaccines… people are not really informed on the benefits of vaccine and the fact they are safe and effective. More work is needed on that front.”…
September 28, 2018: The Moscow Times posted an article titled: “Russia has a Vaccination Problem”. It was written by Evan Gershkovich. From the article:
…In 2017, the federal Center of Hygiene and Epidemiology reportedly determined that 48.7 percent of Russian children born in 2016 had not been vaccinated comprehensively and on the medically prescribed schedule.
As a result, Russian medical experts say the country struggles to maintain so-called herd immunity – the threshold percentage of the population that must be immunized for a disease to be kept at bay, generally considered to be between 92 and 95 percent – for diseases like diphtheria and measles, among others.
The latter, for instance, is making a resurgence: So far this year, Russia has seen a 13-fold increase following a trend in Europe and in the United States. In August, the World Organization singled out Russia alongside six other European countries for having more than 1,000 cases…
October 11, 2018: Washington Post posted an article titled: “Percentage of young U.S. children who don’t receive any vaccines has quadrupled since 2001.” It was written by Lena H. Sun. From the article:
A small but increasing number of children in the United States are not getting some or all of their recommended vaccinations. The percentage of children under 2 years old who haven’t received any vaccinations has quadrupled in the last 17 years, according to federal health data released Thursday.
Overall, immunization rates remain high and haven’t changed much at the national level. But a pair of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about immunizations for preschoolers and kindergarteners highlights a growing concern among health officials and clinicians about children who aren’t getting the necessary protection against vaccine-preventable diseases, such as measles, whooping cough and other pediatric infectious diseases.
The vast majority of parents across the country vaccinate their children and follow recommended schedules for this basic preventive practice. But the recent upswing in vaccine skepticism and outright refusal to vaccinate has spawned communities of under-vaccinate children who are more susceptible to disease and pose risks to the broader public…
…A second report on vaccination coverage for children entering kindergarten in 2017 also showed a gradual increase in the percentage who were exempted from immunization requirements. (The exemptions do not distinguish between one vaccine vs. all vaccines).
All but a handful of states allow parents to opt their children out of school immunization requirements for nonmusical reasons, providing exemptions for religious or philosophical beliefs…
…In the 2017-2018 school year, 2.2 percent of U.S. kindergarteners were exempted from one or more vaccines, up from 2 percent in the 2016-2017 school year and from 1.9 percent in the 2015-2016 school year, according to the CDC report…
…Earlier this year, researchers from several Texas academic centers identified “hotspots” where outbreak risk is rising in 12 of 18 states that allow nonmusical exemptions because a growing number of kindergarteners have not been vaccinated.
October 17, 2018: NYC Health posted a press release titled: “Health Department Warns Orthodox Jewish Communities of Increase in Measles Cases; Urges Vaccination for All Children, Especially Before Traveling to Israel and Other Countries Experiencing Measles Outbreaks.” From the press release:
…The Health Department today is reporting six individuals with confirmed measles this month in the Orthodox Jewish community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The initial case of measles was acquired by a child on a visit to Israel, where a large outbreak of the disease is occurring. The individuals with measles ranged in age from 11 months to 4 years. Five of these children were unvaccinated prior to exposure, including four because vaccination was delayed and one who was too young to have received the vaccine. The sixth child had received one dose of the vaccine prior to exposure but was not yet immune.
Complications include one child who was hospitalized with pneumonia and another child with an ear infection. Additionally, there are seven confirmed individuals with measles among New York State residents outside of New York City – five acquired measles during travel to Israel, and two are individuals infected after an exposure to a person with measles…
…The Health Department recommends the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine for children at age 12 months, with a second dose at 4 to 6 years old. Two doses of MMR are required to attend kindergarten through grade 12. Children attending daycare, nursery school, Head Start and pre-K are required to have one dose of the MMR vaccine. All persons, including infants ages 6 to 11 months should be vaccinated prior to international travel. Parents should keep ill children at home and not send them to daycare or school. If there is measles in a student, all unvaccinated children – including those with a medical or religious exemption – will be excluded and unable to attend the daycare or school for 21 days after their last exposure…
October 26, 2018: The Sydney Morning Herald posted an article titled: “NSW pharmacists get go-ahead to give measles, whooping cough vaccines”. It was written by Kate Aubusson. From the article:
People as young as 16 will soon be able to go to a pharmacist for vaccinations to protect against infectious diseases, including measles, whooping cough and tetanus without visiting a doctor.
The NSW government is expanding the state’s pharmacist vaccination program beyond the flu shot to ease access to immunization, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Health Minister Brad Hazzard announced on Thursday.
From 2019, pharmacists will be able to administer privately funded diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (dTpa) vaccine; the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) as well as the flu vaccine after completing an approved comprehensive training course.
The age of eligibility for patients will drop to 16 years. Currently, pharmacists can only offer seasonal flu vaccines to people over the age of 18…
November 5, 2018: USA Today posted an article titled: “Measles cases top last year’s total; almost 50 cases in one county”. It was written by Nancy Cutler. From the article:
The number of measles cases in the United States so far this year has surpassed 2017 with the potential for about a quarter of the highly contagious respiratory infections to be occurring in one New York county north of New York City.
Nationwide as of Oct. 6, the most recent nationwide data available, 142 measles cases had been reported, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of people sickened, mostly unvaccinated, exceeded the 2017 total of 120 in mid-August…
November 6, 2018: The Detroit News posted an article titled: “2 with measles traveled through Detroit Metro Airport”. It was written by Sarah Rahal. From the article:
Oakland County Health Division confirmed two new cases of measles in county residents Tuesday who traveled through Detroit Metro Airport and may have exposed other travelers.
The health department said the two Oakland County residents arrived on a flight at Detroit Metro Airport at 5 p.m. Oct. 23 and are advising passengers who were possibly exposed to watch for symptoms 21 days after exposure and contact their doctors.
The department declined to comment on which airline or terminal the residents traveled through. The airport did not respond to a request for comment…
…Dr. Russel Faust, Oakland County medical director, said the airport does not have to take any extra precautions since the virus only lives for two hours in the air or on the surface…
THIS BLOG WILL BE UPDATED WHENEVER ADDITIONAL RELEVANT INFORMATION IS FOUND.
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