Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

“So it’s really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine,” says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

Scientists Crack A 50-Year-Old Mystery About The Measles Vaccine

Photo credit: Photofusion/UIG via Getty Images

To Protect His Son, A Father Asks School To Bar Unvaccinated Children

By Lisa Aliferis

Carl Krawitt has watched his son, Rhett, now 6, fight leukemia for the past 4 ½ years. For more than three of those years, Rhett has undergone round after round of chemotherapy. Last year he finished chemotherapy, and doctors say he is in remission.

Now, there’s a new threat, one that the family should not have to worry about: measles.

Rhett cannot be vaccinated, because his immune system is still rebuilding. It may be months more before his body is healthy enough to get all his immunizations. Until then, he depends on everyone around him for protection — what’s known as herd immunity.

But Rhett lives in Marin County, Calif., a county with the dubious honor of having the highest rate of “personal belief exemptions” in the Bay Area and among the highest in the state. This school year, 6.45 percent of children in Marin have a personal belief exemption, which allows parents to lawfully send their children to school unvaccinated against communicable diseases like measles, polio, whooping cough and more.

Carl Krawitt has had just about enough. “It’s very emotional for me,” he said. “If you choose not to immunize your own child and your own child dies because they get measles, OK, that’s your responsibility, that’s your choice. But if your child gets sick and gets my child sick and my child dies, then … your action has harmed my child.”

Krawitt is taking action of his own. His son attends Reed Elementary in Tiburon, a school with a 7 percent personal belief exemption rate. (The statewide average is 2.5 percent). Krawitt had previously worked with the school nurse to make sure that all the children in his son’s class were fully vaccinated. He said the school was very helpful and accommodating.

Now Krawitt and his wife, Jodi, have emailed the district’s superintendent, requesting that the district “require immunization as a condition of attendance, with the only exception being those who cannot medically be vaccinated.”

Carl Krawitt provided me with Superintendent Steven Herzog’s response. Herzog didn’t directly address their query, instead saying: “We are monitoring the situation closely and will take whatever actions necessary to ensure the safety of our students.”

(More from Shots: Health News from NPR)

I don’t know about the rest of you, but this makes my brains hurt.

My fellow medical and nursing professionals and I went to a shitload of trouble to stamp this disease out.

And now what have we got? People who (admittedly, deludedly – but still – ) think it’s better to take a chance on maiming, blinding or killing other people’s kids, killing babies in the womb, even killing full grown adults with compromised immunity – to avoid the (nonexistent secondary to vaccination) chance that their child might turn out less than perfectly neurotypical. 

I. cannot. …even.
It's official, measles has been eliminated from the Americas
By Fiona MacDonald

More than 50 years since a vaccine became available, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially declared measles eliminated from the Americas - not just the US, but the land mass stretching from Canada to Chile, and all the countries in between.

It’s the first region in the world to have rid itself of all local cases of the viral disease, and a pretty huge deal for public health.

Read more… 

The only person missing from this chain of people walking off the cliff is the Innocent Child (wearing Mickey Mouse ears and being dragged by the ankle).

We owe a debt of gratitude to all the people currently suffering from the measles (whether or not they were vaccinated), because their illness is making more people aware of the ridiculousness and danger of “Following the Blind Anti-Vaxxers”.

How the measles outbreak spreads when kids get vaccinated – and when they don’t

Measles is back in the US – and it’s spreading. More than 100 cases across 14 states and Washington DC have been confirmed by US health officials since an outbreak began at Disneyland last December. 

With a majority of those infections in unvaccinated people, widespread blame – from Washington to the rest of the world – has fallen on parents who chose not to vaccinate their children.

We eliminated measles by the year 2000. And now, because parents are choosing not to give vaccines because of their false — or at least ill-founded — concerns, other people are suffering.
—  Dr. Paul Offit, chief of the division of infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, joined Democracy Now! for a 45-minute discussion on the debate over vaccinations, parental choice and public health. Watch it here.

The devastating impact of vaccine deniers, in one measles chart

By Christopher Ingrham

If you want to quantify the alarming impact of the anti-vaccine movement, the chart above is a good place to start. It plots the cumulative number of new measles cases by month, for each year from 2001 to 2014.

There were 644 new measles cases in 27 states last year, according to the CDC. That’s the biggest annual number we’ve seen in nearly a quarter-century. The vast majority of people who contracted the disease were unvaccinated, including the dozens of cases related to an outbreak at Disneyland in Orange County, California, which is basically Ground Zero in our current epidemic of anti-vaccine hysteria.

A 2014 AP-GfK survey found that only 51 percent of Americans were confident that vaccines are safe and effective, which is similar to the proportion who believe that houses can be haunted by ghosts. I don’t need to make the case about how harmful these beliefs are – it’s been done plenty of times before, and moreover studies show that arguing with anti-vaxxers only makes them more confident in their beliefs.

But the latest CDC data illustrate the troubling resurgence of a disease that, as of 2000, had been declared eliminated. Anti-vaxxers are quite literally turning back the clock on decades of public health progress.

(From The Washington Post)
Thanks, Anti-Vaxxers. You Just Brought Back Measles in NYC.

Measles was considered eliminated at the turn of the millenium. Now it’s back, thanks to the loons to refuse to vaccinate their children.

“Over a dozen people around Los Angeles have been diagnosed with measles already this year, nearly half of them intentionally unvaccinated.”

We hate to be the kind of folks who say, “We told you so,” but. We told you so.