MEASLES outbreaks are in the news again. In the US, local health departments and media reported about 16 cases between December 2023 and January. In the United Kingdom, the UK Health Security Agency reported 209 cases between January and November 2023 and about 319 cases between October 2023 and the present.
Media blamed international travel and declining vaccination rates among children as probably’ behind the outbreaks.
But Dr Liz Mumper, a paediatrician, told the Defender it doesn’t make sense to assume the unvaccinated are to blame. She said cyclical outbreaks still occur even in populations with nearly 100 per cent vaccination, such as college students.
Dr Paul Thomas, a retired paediatrician and author of The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health-from Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years, told the Defender some cases of measles are reported every year. Despite the hype around the recent outbreaks, he said, ‘There have not been any significant measles outbreaks in the US for decades.’
The largest recent national spike in measles cases occurred in 2019 when 1,274 cases were reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It was the worst year for measles in the US since 1992.
Since 2019, the number of cases reported has been significantly lower: In 2020, there were 13 cases, 2021/49 cases, 2022/121, 2023/56. The post-2019 numbers also tend to be lower than the numbers from 2000-2018, which averaged around 200 per year.