Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mostly measles ...

The headline states that we are in the "post-elimination" era, but clearly we are not!

The record setting pace of measles cases in the US is a grand total of 288 (for a population of almost 300 million). No deaths. 195/288 (67%) cases were unvaccinated, 32% were vaccinated (though it is unknown how much time elapsed between their vaccination and
exposure to measles) - there is also a chart detailing where most of the exposures come from and they types of measles most common there ... it would be relevant to know which types of measles the US vaccine is most effective against.

In the Philippines they've had 32,000 cases in the last 6 months (41 deaths):
41/32,000 = .13% rate of death (I make no claims to be a statistician - these are raw numbers based on the information available in the WaPo article). Regardless, it hardly seems to be a deadly disease.

43/288 (in the US) have been hospitalized for treatment of secondary infections (presumably pneumonia for most) = 14.6% rate of hospital admission;

I wonder how many were treated with high doses of Vit A?

Also from the article:
122,000/20 million infections (combined - Europe/Asia/Africa) = .61% rate of death; Not exactly an infectious terror.

The article does note that 1/10 with measles can get an ear infection (which could possibly lead to deafness), and 1/20 pneumonia (which can kill), and there is also the risk of encephalitis or brain inflammation, though this more serious sequelae is also far more rare (1/1,000 - 3,000 cases);

From the CDC Measles FAQ:

Q: How common was measles in the United States before the vaccine?

A: Before the measles vaccination program started in 1963, about 3 to 4 million people got measles each year in the United States. Of those people, 400 to 500 died, 48,000 were hospitalized, and 1,000 developed chronic disability from measles encephalitis. 
500 deaths/3,000,000 cases of measles = .0123% risk of death (pre-vaccine)
48,000 hospitalizations/4,000,000 cases of measles = 1.2% risk of hospitalization
1,000 measles encephalitis/4,000,000 cases of measles = .025% risk of encephalitis

Risks of MMR vaccine:

MMR vaccine side-effects 
(Measles, Mumps, and Rubella)

What are the risks from MMR vaccine?

A vaccine, like any medicine, is capable of causing serious problems, such as severe allergic reactions.
The risk of MMR vaccine causing serious harm, or death, is extremely small.
Getting MMR vaccine is much safer than getting measles, mumps or rubella.
Most people who get MMR vaccine do not have any serious problems with it.
Mild Problems
  • Fever (up to 1 person out of 6)
  • Mild rash (about 1 person out of 20)
  • Swelling of glands in the cheeks or neck (about 1 person out of 75)
If these problems occur, it is usually within 7-12 days after the shot. They occur less often after the second dose.
Moderate Problems
  • Seizure (jerking or staring) caused by fever (about 1 out of 3,000 doses)
  • Temporary pain and stiffness in the joints, mostly in teenage or adult women (up to 1 out of 4)
  • Temporary low platelet count, which can cause a bleeding disorder (about 1 out of 30,000 doses)
Severe Problems (Very Rare)
  • Serious allergic reaction (less than 1 out of a million doses)
  • Several other severe problems have been reported after a child gets MMR vaccine, including:
    • Deafness
    • Long-term seizures, coma, or lowered consciousness
    • Permanent brain damage
    These are so rare that it is hard to tell whether they are caused by the vaccine.
This information was taken directly from the MMR VIS
(This information taken from MMR VIS dated 4/20/12. If the actual VIS is more recent than this date, the information on this page needs to be updated.)

Spontaneous infection and recovery from measles provides such robust immunity that those born earlier than 1957 are presumed to be immune, while those who are vaccinated "can lose their immunity over time"; This is a tacit admission of the superior efficacy of spontaneous infection - perhaps because the infection is acquired through normal means - being first presented to the body, and the immune system, through the mucous membranes, rather than being directly injected into the blood stream through the skin (via the capillary network).

Measles, especially severe cases that result in secondary infection and/or complications may be a marker for nutritional compromise, as high doses of Vit A are the recommended treatment. Why is this acknowledged as the preferred treatment for this infection, but the use of nutritional supplements as a risk reduction tool (ie: Vit D3) is scorned in favor of vaccination?
If short-term high doses of Vit A are efficacious for this infection, could this also be true of other vitamins for other infections?

Life is risky ... we should all decide what risks we are willing to live with.
Some prefer the risk of spontaneous infection.
Others prefer the risk of vaccination (ie: not efficacious, and/or independent risk of
vaccines as listed above);

Regardless, we should all choose which risks to accept - so vaccination should be
accepted or declined freely.

Update May 30, 2014:

The authors of the above report acknowledge that underreporting is a likely and limits the accuracy of the report - but also implies that the risks discussed may be overstated due to

Here is a link with lots of technical and detailed information regarding the genetics of
measles vaccine strains:

MMR Package Insert:

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