Why Measles? Why Now? - Mothering Forums

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Old 06-28-2014, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Why Measles? Why Now?

There are two narratives that I'm hearing to explain the recent measles outbreaks in the United States, and neither of them fully make sense.

The first is that they are caused by "growing numbers" of parents refusing to vaccinate. But here in the U.S., there are no "growing numbers."
http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/1/28/the-logic-of-reciprocity-and-the-illogic-of-empirically-unin.html

The second is that unvaccinated people are traveling to countries where measles is endemic and then bringing it home to the U.S.

It sounds plausible on the surface. But hasn't there been international travel for quite awhile? I have found no evidence to support the notion, for example, that there has been a dramatic increase in international travel since, say, 1999, when we didn't see measles outbreaks to the extent that we see them today. Are more unvaccinated people traveling since that time? Are more people traveling to measles-endemic countries? And can anybody provide evidence either way?

A third explanation that I've heard that may make a little more sense is that we simply need a new measles vaccine. http://www.edwardjennersociety.org/wp-content/uploads/The-re-emergence-of-measles1.pdf

What are your thoughts?

In God we trust; all others must show data. selectivevax.gifsurf.gifteapot2.GIFintactivist.gif
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Old 06-29-2014, 08:36 AM
 
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Hmmm….#2 or 3?

There are outbreaks in Europe and the Phillipines. The outbreaks there are said to be due to low vaccination rates - but really, we would need to confirm this with figures. We would also need to know if the outbreaks are new. If there have always been outbreaks, then travel does not explain it away.

In any event, I do think it is plausible that travellers bring measles back from wherever they go. Measles is not endemic in N. America, and aside from the rather unlikely possibility of shedding causing the disease, travel is the most likely reason for the importation. The disease taking hold here is another thing. I suspect the vaccine is not working as well as most would like, and IMHO, that is really where the focus needs to be. Non-vaxxers do not really owe you anything - not a vaccine and not to curtail travel. The vaccine manufacturers and promoters owes you immunity at the advertised efficacy rate - and I do not think MMR is delivering.

Do we have any good data on attack rates in vaccinated verus unvaccinated in any of the current outbreaks?

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Last edited by kathymuggle; 06-29-2014 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 06-29-2014, 09:48 AM
 
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-Perhaps it is because the group with natural immunity, i.e. those born after 1970 here in Canada and I think the year used in the States is 1957, is getting smaller.

- It could be that these cases really aren't measles but one of the several other viruses that present like measles.

-Or they are looking to start adult doses of the vaccine.
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Old 06-29-2014, 11:13 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post
There are two narratives that I'm hearing to explain the recent measles outbreaks in the United States, and neither of them fully make sense.

The first is that they are caused by "growing numbers" of parents refusing to vaccinate. But here in the U.S., there are no "growing numbers."
http://www.culturalcognition.net/blog/2014/1/28/the-logic-of-reciprocity-and-the-illogic-of-empirically-unin.html
The problem with looking at overall rates it that vaccine exemptions tend to cluster in certain communities. If the exemptions were evenly spread throughout the US, the numbers wouldn't be a huge problem.

See this link on the states with the best and worst coverage. Colorado, for example, is at 85% for MMR in kindergarteners. While the "best" states are at 98-99 percent, bringing the overall average up.

http://www.advisory.com/daily-briefi...ccine-coverage

They conclude on that link : "High vaccination coverage levels at the national and state levels might mask clustering of unvaccinated children at local levels where vaccine-preventable diseases might be transmitted," CDC researchers wrote, adding that health departments and schools can use the data "to identify schools with low vaccination coverage and high exemption levels"

Basically, a nationwide statistic like that doesn't mean as much in terms of outbreaks. Outbreaks tend to occur where there are pockets of people who do not vaccinate. The nationwide stat is I believe around 92% for the MMR. But there are large pockets and areas in the US where the rate is well below the threshold needed for herd immunity, which is 95% for MMR if I remember correctly.

If 90% of the country vaccinated, and the 10% that don't were widely and evenly spread across the country, it is less likely that a disease with a single entry point will hit many people. But if 92% of the country vaccinated, with some areas reaching 99% and others reaching 85%, the areas with only an 85% rate are extremely vulnerable to outbreaks, both as compared to the areas with 99% and even the areas with 92%.

An immunocompromised person or baby in a community with only a 60% MMR vaccine uptake isn't going to care what the national rate is if someone carrying the measles virus comes through.

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” ~ Neil deGrasse Tyson

Last edited by teacozy; 06-29-2014 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 06-29-2014, 12:03 PM
 
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But tea, there have always been non-vaccine clusters. "Why measles and why now" is a good question.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 06-29-2014, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes! And following the data that we have, those clusters were probably even bigger years ago.

The cluster argument also doesn't explain why we're seeing outbreaks in non-cluster areas, like New York City.

Of course, if all 50 states had philosophical exemptions, we'd see fewer clusters because parents who don't vaccinate on schedule would have more options of where to live and be able to spread out more.

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Old 06-29-2014, 06:08 PM
 
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Yes, the harassment of people who don't want to vaccinate actually creates the clusters.

The vaccination rates are actually at the highest they have ever been. The CDC keeps raising the bar. And then complaining because people are not complying with their demands.
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Old 06-30-2014, 06:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samaxtics View Post
-Perhaps it is because the group with natural immunity, i.e. those born after 1970 here in Canada and I think the year used in the States is 1957, is getting smaller.

- It could be that these cases really aren't measles but one of the several other viruses that present like measles.

-Or they are looking to start adult doses of the vaccine.

I'd like to add to the first point by saying that the only reason the vaccine seemed to work as well as it appeared in the past was because so much of the population had natural immunity. As the naturally immune portion gets smaller, the shortcomings of the vaccine are becoming clearer.

Also, the media coverage is designed to make outbreaks seem as bad as possible.
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Old 06-30-2014, 09:19 AM
 
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Adult vaccines are the next opportunity to expand the market, and hence income, with vaccines. So it would make sense that making a huge noise about measles works well on several levels.

Intimidate parents who don't comply.

Rile up the "good" parents who vax and get them to harass parents who don't comply.

Get adults to go and get vaccines.
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