More Anti-Vaccine Myths and Misinformation

Vaxopedia

Have you read our 50 Anti-Vax Myths That Keep People From Vaccinating Their Kids.

Still not vaccinating your kids?

Which anti-vaccine myths are you stuck on? Do you think Wakefield was proven right, that modern-day vaccines have their roots in Nazi medical experiments, or that you can protect your kids from measles and pertussis using natural immunity boosters?

Just like the previous anti-vax myths we talked about, these anti-vaccine myths and misinformation are easy to debunk and explain away.

1
Contaminated Measles Vaccines in Syria?

Check your vials 3 times to make sure you are giving the correct vaccine.
It is important to check your vaccine and vaccine diluent 3 times to avoid errors. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Health Services

Did a contaminated or bad measles vaccine kill 15 children in Syria?

That is what many in the media are continuing to report, even as we now know that the children likely died when the measles vaccine they were given was improperly mixed with a high-dose muscle relaxant. Some vaccines must be mixed or reconstituted before they can be given.

While certainly tragic, that is certainly different that the idea of something being wrong with the vaccine itself. If the muscle relaxant or anesthetic, atracurium, was improperly kept in the same refrigerator as the solution that is used to mix the vaccine (the vaccine diluent), then hopefully procedures can be fixed to make vaccinating kids in the area safer again.

Human error killed the 15 children in Syria, not a bad vaccine.

In addition to storing vaccines, the vaccine diluent, and other medications in different areas, it is important that all medications have very different looking labels, especially if they might be used in the same setting. The labels for the measles vaccine diluent and atracurium reportedly look similar and so could be easily mixed up. (Since we don't know which measles vaccine these children were given, which brand, and which concentration of atracurium might have been mixed into the vaccines, it is hard to know exactly what the labels looked like...)

In help prevent these types of tragedies, which can rarely even happen in the United States, a presentation by the Immunization Action Coalition, "To Err is Human; Not To Err is Better!," recommended that health care providers:

  • store vaccine vials separate from other medications or biologics
  • open only one vial at a time
  • ensure staff is adequately trained
  • check the vial 3 times to avoid errors

Developing more pre-filled auto-disable syringes and/or dual chamber vials or syringes (can keep the vaccine and diluent together) can also help to prevent these types of errors from occurring. For example, ViATIM is a combination Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine that is approved for use in Europe and comes in a dual chamber syringe that is mixed when you shake and slowly advance the plunger.

2
CNN has reported on a CDC Whistleblower who Uncovered Fraud in a Vaccine Study

Anti-vaccine folks continue to hype up the CDC Whistleblower conspiracy.
The CDC Whistleblower story was not the big bombshell that anti-vaccine folks have been waiting for. Photo courtesy of Refutations to Anti-Vaccine Memes

The latest from the anti-vaccine folks, including Andrew Wakefield, is that a "top research scientist" at the CDC helped to uncover fraud and widespread data manipulation in a study that helped to prove that vaccines don't cause autism.

Was the whistleblower report on CNN? No, it was a CNN iReport, which anyone can write and publish. Besides most of the anti-vax websites, no reputable news, media, or health sites covered the "story."

Why wouldn't everyone jump on a story about a whistleblower and fraud?

Probably because the story doesn't make any sense and the main people involved have always had a clear anti-vaccine agenda, including Brian Hooker and Andrew Wakefield. Wakefield released a few YouTube videos to get publicity for the study and the coverup.

Dr. Hooker, he has a PhD in biochemical engineering and an autistic son, published a study in the journal Translational Neurodegeneration using the original data from another study that he claims to have gotten using a Freedom of Information Act request. That study has already been taken down by the journal.

This is the same Dr. Hooker who claimed to have caught the CDC lying about hiding data that showed that the mercury in vaccines causes autism (the Verstraeten study) and that they knew about it way back in 1999.

In his latest conspiracy theory, he claims to found evidence of a coverup and he "proves" that the risk of autism is 340% higher in blacks infants who got their MMR vaccine on time. The original study that used this data found no evidence that the MMR vaccine causes autism (the DeStefano study).

When you think about that claim, you can quickly see why no one is taking his study seriously. The latest reports on autism prevalence from the CDC have found lower rates of autism in blacks:

Estimated ASD prevalence also varied by race/ethnicity. When data from all sites were combined, the estimated prevalence among white children (15.8 per 1,000) was significantly greater than that among black (12.3 per 1,000) and Hispanic children (10.8 per 1,000). All 11 sites reported higher prevalence estimates among white children than among black or Hispanic children.

If Hooker's study is to be believed, why aren't the autism prevalence rates higher for black children?

A study that Hooker cites even contradicts what he is trying to prove. His "peer-reviewed" study states that "It should be noted that a recent publication has shown that the prevalence of autism in African Americans is nearly 25% higher than that of whites." That study, "Socioeconomic Inequality in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence from a U.S. Cross-Sectional Study," which was published in PLOS One, actually found that "the overall ASD prevalence was higher among non-Hispanic White and Asian children than among non-Hispanic Black or African-America and Hispanic children." That study only found that for kids with autism in the highest socioeconomic status did rates of autism go up higher in blacks.

There have been many responses to the latest conspiracy theory from Dr. Hooker, but the gist of the story is that Hooker didn't get any closer in trying to prove that vaccines cause autism (because they don't):

The AAP has also responded to the Wakefield Hooker Conspiracy:

The American Academy of Pediatrics has full confidence in the immunization schedule and the numerous studies that have not found a link between vaccines and autism. The AAP encourages parents to vaccinate their children according to the approved schedule.

The CDC has also responded, explaining the study, and once again emphasizing that "additional studies and a more recent rigorous review by the Institute of Medicine have found that MMR vaccine does not increase the risk of autism."

And the whistleblower, who was recorded without his permission, has issued a statement too. Although he did have concerns with the way the CDC handled findings in the DeStefano study, he states that he wants:

to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

CNN did finally report on the issue, and highlights all of the information we already know - the new Hooker study was pulled already, the CDC stands by the original study, and the press release statements from Thompson.

The AAP stands by the study too:

The journal takes allegations of the use of fraudulent data seriously. The journal investigated the allegations in accordance with the Committee on Publication Ethics guidelines and has decided that a retraction is not warranted.

So while anti-vaccine folks continue to push the idea of a #CDCwhistleblower that is some kind of smoking gun revelation of vaccine fraud, as usual, they are really only left with conspiracy theories.

3
Wakefield has been proven right.

Dr. Andrew Wakefield
Dr. Andrew Wakefield was one of the first to suggest a link between the MMR vaccine and autism. Photo by Getty Images

Andrew Wakefield has not been proven right.

There have been no landmark events to prove that Wakefield was right.

There was no government concession in US Vaccine Court. The Ryan Mojabi case was about encephalitis, not autism. So vaccines still don't cause autism... except when Dr. Bob Sears states that they do, but they still don't.

There was no groundbreaking scientific paper.

In fact, the latest study, "Vaccines are not associated with autism: An evidence-based meta-analysis of case-control and cohort studies," again said that vaccines are not associated with autism.

Andrew Wakefield has not been proven right.

Vaccines still don't cause autism.

And everyone still thinks that Wakefield's article linking the MMR vaccine and autism was fraudulent.

4
Most of the cases in measles outbreaks are vaccinated.

Almost all of the people who develop measles during outbreaks are unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated.

The statistics on this are easily verified and are consistently each year and in most every country, including:

  • Japan 2014: 375 cases - only 9% of cases were completely vaccinated with 2 doses of a measles-containing vaccine and at least 67% were completely unvaccinated.
  • Australia 2014: 227 cases - most were unvaccinated. Only 6 people were known to be completely vaccinated.
  • United States January to May 2014: 288 cases - most were unvaccinated. Only 30 were known to be completely vaccinated.
  • Europe 2013: 10,271 cases - most were unvaccinated. Only 7 were known to be completely vaccinated with two or more doses of a measles-containing vaccine! Complications of these large outbreaks in Europe included 8 cases of measles encephalitis and 3 measles-related deaths.
  • Netherlands May 2013 to March 2014: over 2,600 cases - almost all cases were unvaccinated as the outbreak occurred in the Dutch bible belt among members of a Dutch Reformed denomination where vaccination coverage is below 90%. One child died and 182 children were hospitalized during the outbreak.
  • Europe 2011: at least 30,567 cases - most were unvaccinated. About 920 (3%) were known to have received two or more doses of a measles-containing vaccine. Complications of these large outbreaks in Europe included 27 cases of measles encephalitis and 8 measles-related deaths.

Most of the cases in measles outbreaks are not vaccinated. Almost all of the people who develop measles during these outbreaks are either intentionally unvaccinated, too young to be vaccinated, or have a medical exemption to getting their measles vaccine, etc.

5
Modern-day vaccines have their roots in Nazi medical experiments.

Modern-day vaccines do not have their roots in Nazi medical experiments.

That the anti-vaccine "experts" actually push such ignorant misinformation should tell you a lot about their morals and ideals.

Comedian Rob Schneider even compared school vaccine mandates to the Nuremberg Laws, which the Nazis passed in 1935.

And there have been plenty of times when anti-vax folks have used Nazi and Holocaust imagery in their arguments.

You can find other information about the Nazis and vaccines on Natural News, Whale, and other anti-vaccine sites. Sadly, they don't even seem to be talking about the real ethical issues of Nazi medical experimentation, but instead, ​have just created new conspiracy theories.

Some of this propaganda comes from the website of Mike Adams (the Health Ranger). Most have been thoroughly debunked already.

Instead of rehashing these conspiracy theories, let's learn about some of the real experts who developed the vaccines that have saved millions of lives around the world:

  • Dr. Jonas Salk developed the inactivated polio vaccine in 1955, the first polio vaccine used in the United States. He was born in New York City in 1914 to Jewish immigrant parents. His mother had emigrated to the United States from Russia when she was 12-year-old. His father was a first generation American, born in New Jersey to immigrant parents who had come from Eastern Europe.
  • Dr. Albert Sabin was also Jewish. He developed the oral polio vaccine, which replaced Salk's inactivated polio vaccine. He was born in Poland in 1906 and emigrated to the Paterson, New Jersey with his parents in 1921.
  • Dr. Baruch Samuel Blumberg discovered the hepatitis B surface antigen, helped develop a blood test to identify the hepatitis B virus, and with Irving Millman (the son of a Jewish immigrant from Russia), developed the first hepatitis B vaccine. His grandparents had emigrated from Europe at the end of the 19th century.
  • Dr. Maurice Hilleman was involved in the development of 36 vaccines, including 14 vaccines that are still in use today. He wasn't Jewish. He was born in Montana and raised in a Lutheran family.

These doctors and many other doctors and scientists have worked hard to develop vaccines to protect us from vaccine-preventable diseases.

The anti-vax folks need to "play the Hitler card" is a simple testament to the fact that their arguments are so weak. Remember, according to Godwin's Law, "It is generally accepted that whoever is the first to play the "Hitler card" has lost the argument as well as any trace of respect, as having to resort to comparing your adversary to the most infamous mass-murdering dictator in history generally means you've run out of better arguments."

6
Vaccine Pushers always push vaccines

People who advocate to protect children from vaccine-preventable diseases are sometimes called vaccine pushers by anti-vax folks.

They will push vaccines on people in all situations, right?

The anti-vaccine folks when pushing their own myths of a Big-Pharma conspiracy likely won't tell you that:

  • In 1976, Dr. Albert Sabin, who developed the oral polio vaccine, actually came out against a plan to universally vaccinate everyone against swine flu and instead recommended that only "high risk and older population" get vaccinated
  • Dr. Paul Offit was against plans to "vaccinate lots of people" against smallpox in 2002

Why didn't these vaccine advocates, who had each worked to develop their own vaccine, not "push" for these vaccines?

And why are so many vaccines left off of the routine childhood immunization schedule? Vaccine pushers aren't doing that great a job if they couldn't push to get these vaccines on the routine schedule:

  • Japanese encephalitis
  • BCG
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever
  • MenC

Several of these are actually on the routine childhood immunization schedules in other countries.

People who advocate that children and adults be protected from vaccine-preventable diseases are not "vaccine pushers."

7
Breastfeeding will protect my baby from dangerous infections.

Breastfeeding in a reclining position while mom is lying down.
Breastfeeding in a reclining position while mom is lying down. Photo © Maxim Tupikov

Breastfeeding is great. It has a lot of benefits and it would be wonderful if all babies were breastfed for at least a year (current AAP recommendations).

Among the benefits are added protected against infections and a boost to your baby's immune system because breast milk has:

  • secretory IgA (sIgA)
  • lactoferrin
  • lysozyme
  • oligosaccharides (help protective bacteria grow)
  • cytokines
  • glutathione peroxidase
  • antioxidants
  • glutamine
  • lipids
  • nucleotides

These and other factors in breast milk can help breastfed babies have decreased episodes of diarrhea illnesses, respiratory infections, ear infections, UTIs, and bacterial sepsis, etc.

Unfortunately, the antibodies that provide long-term immunity against vaccine-preventable diseases, like measles and pertussis, can't be absorbed by a baby's intestine. Babies instead get these IgG antibodies before they are born as they pass through the placenta, giving them passive immunity against many diseases for a few months.

Of course, that isn't a reason not to breastfeed.

Breastmilk does have lots of secretory IgA, in addition to all of the other factors listed above. These sIgA antibodies can bind to and actually prevent viruses and bacteria from even reaching your child's mucous membranes - the lining of your child's nose, eyelids, mouth, etc. Secretory IgA antibodies aren't usually directed against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Getting a flu shot in pregnancy does increase the amount of anti-influenza sIgA antibodies in breastmilk, but only for up to 6 months.

Breastfeeding is great, but it does not provide long-term protection against vaccine-preventable diseases and is not a substitute for getting your infant or toddler vaccinated on time.

8
Vaccines don't stay in your system for a lifetime.

This is just a variation of the "vaccines don't work" myth, with a side of the "how can herd immunity be real if most adults aren't up to date on their boosters and so aren't immune to anything" myth.

Lifetime is a subjective term, but most vaccines do provide long lasting immunity that will protect you throughout your whole life.

For many vaccines, long-term studies are still being done to see how long their immunity will last. Why don't we know exactly already? Many vaccines haven't been around for a "lifetime" yet.

Of course, tetanus and pertussis vaccines don't provide lifetime protection. That's why we get boosters.

Neither do flu vaccines, but that has more to do with the fact that different strains of flu cause outbreaks each year.

However, what we do know about vaccines and their duration of immunity or protection includes that, for example:

  • the hepatitis B vaccine provides protection for at least 20 years
  • the hepatitis A vaccine provides protection for at least 14 years
  • the measles vaccine provides protection for at least 35 years
  • the chicken pox vaccine provides protection for at least 20 years
  • both the oral and inactivated polio vaccines provide long lasting protection
  • the rubella vaccine provides protection for at least 21 years
  • Gardasil (HPV4 vaccine) provides protection for at least 8 years

So in most cases, vaccines do provide long-lasting protection, and as studies continue, we will likely find that they provide life-long protection, especially when you are talking about live vaccines (rubella, oral polio, and measles, etc.)

For others, like rotavirus and Hib, the vaccines provide protection during the time when children are most at risk, even if they don't provide life-long protection.

9
Vaccines aren't the only way to boost your immune system.

Actually, this is true. Vaccines aren't the only way to boost your immune system.

For example, Dr. Oz offers plenty of ways to help you "say goodbye to sickness."

From larch and mushrooms to ginger, Dr. Oz suggests plenty of natural ways to boost your immune system.

If those don't work for you, why not try some essential oils?

Most health experts don't actually think that most of those things actually work to boost your immune system.

When you get done eating larch, you could try some things that health experts say can actually work to naturally boost your immune system, including that you:

  • get a good night's sleep
  • stay active and exercise regularly
  • don't smoke and only drink alcohol in moderation
  • eat healthy foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.)

What about vitamins and supplements? That's the whole part about eating healthy foods. Unless you are malnourished, you shouldn't usually need extra vitamins and minerals to supplement or support your immune system.

And anyway, none of these methods are going to boost your immune system enough to ward off a case of measles, pertussis, or meningococcal disease.

Vaccines might not be the only way to boost your immune system, but vaccines are what will help your immune system prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.

10
You can't vaccinate away bacteria.

Although many vaccines protect against viral infections, there are others that do "vaccinate away bacteria," including vaccines for:

  • anthrax - caused by the Bacillus anthracis bacteria
  • diphtheria - caused by the Corynebacterium diphtheriae bacteria
  • Hib - caused by the Haemophilus influenzae type b bacteria
  • meningococcal disease - caused by the Neisseria meningitidis bacteria
  • pertussis - caused by the Bordetella pertussis bacteria
  • pneumococcal disease - caused by the Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria
  • tetanus - caused by the Clostridium tetani bacteria
  • Typhoid fever - caused by the Salmonella serotype Typhi bacteria

And although it is no longer available, the Lyme disease vaccine worked against Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.

So yes, you can prevent or "vaccinate away bacteria."

11
Immigrants are responsible for most outbreaks in the US

Undocumented immigrants are not responsible for most, or any, outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in the US.

This seems to be more a political argument, rather than an anti-vax argument. From swine flu to leprosy, some in the media seem to love to blame undocumented immigrants for many of our health problems, even when their talking points aren't true.

Either way, unvaccinated undocumented immigrants are not responsible for the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States.

It has been easy to see who starts most measles outbreaks in the United States and in other industrial countries - unvaccinated children and adults who import the diseases when traveling to parts of the world where the diseases are more common.

What about the pertussis outbreaks in California? Ten infants died during the 2010 outbreaks of pertussis and it led some to question "what role have illegal immigrants played in spreading whooping cough in California?" As the LA Times reported at the time, "a spokesman for the California Department of Public Health, said state officials do not believe there is any connection between immigration and the whooping cough outbreak."

That there is no connection is not surprising, as vaccination rates are quite high in Mexico and countries in Central America. In fact, in 2011, when we were seeing high numbers of measles cases in the United States, Mexico had about three cases. All three were imported by travelers who had left Mexico - imported from France, London, and the United States.

Undocumented immigrants are not responsible for the outbreaks of vaccine-preventable disease in the United States.

12
Pediatricians make a lot of money on vaccines.

Show me the money!

Pediatricians make a lot of money on vaccines, right? That must be why they are such "pushers" of vaccines whenever your kids walk in the door, right?

This is part of the Big-Pharma vaccine conspiracy theory.

While most doctors do try to make a profit on the things that they do so that they can stay in business and pay their expenses, including paying for vaccines, office space, and staff salaries, etc., many often lose money on vaccines.

A more recent study in Pediatrics, "Vaccine Financing From the Perspective of Primary Care Physicians," has found that "Many primary care physicians are dissatisfied with payment for vaccine purchase and administration from third-party payers, particularly public insurance for vaccine administration."

Another big concern is that vaccines are "one of the top overhead expenses" in a pediatrician's office. Considering the amount of money they have to spend on their vaccine inventory and that they then have to wait weeks or months to get paid, hoping to break even or make a little extra on the cost of the vaccine and costs to administer the vaccine, it is hardly a good way to make a lot of money.

Also consider that vaccines actually work to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases, which keep kids from getting sick and going to their pediatrician. Again, that hardly makes giving vaccines part of a good business plan if you are just out to make money. The rotavirus vaccine for example, in addition to decreasing hospitalizations and ER visits, decreased office visits by 86%!

Giving vaccines is not like selling vitamins or supplements, a much better recipe for getting rich.

13
How can vaccines target different viruses?

Vaccines don't actually target "different" viruses.

For example, we don't yet have a universal flu vaccine that can target and protect us from every single strain of flu virus. Instead, a new flu vaccine is made each year that targets the three (trivalent) or four (quadrivalent) flu virus strains that are most likely to get us sick that year.

Or when a vaccine does need to target multiple variants of a virus or bacteria, it will likely include multiple antigens to target each strain or variant, such as:

  • Prevnar - includes multiple antigens to help it target 13 strains of Streptococcus pneumonia that are most common to cause serious infections in children
  • IPV - the inactivated polio vaccine provides protection against three types of polioviruses. There are also trivalent and monovalent oral polio vaccines that protect against 3, 2, or just 1 poliovirus serotype.
  • Meningococcal vaccines - the vaccines that are currently licensed in the United States, Menactra and Menveo, protect against serogroups A,B,C, Y, and W-135, but not type B (Bexesero should be approved soon and will protect kids against this type of meningococcal bacteria).

In other cases, like for measles and tetanus, you don't have to worry about multiple strains or types and a single vaccine is all that is necessary to get protection.

So vaccines target the viruses and bacteria that they are developed to target. They aren't expected to target other viral infections or strains of the same virus that aren't included in the vaccine.

14
There haven't been any double blind placebo controlled studies about vaccines.

Yes, the double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial  is considered the "gold standard" when you do medical research.

And while the usual answer is that it would be unethical to do double-blind, placebo-controlled studies about vaccines, that isn't always true.

There actually have been more than a few vaccine-related double-blind, placebo-controlled studies, including studies evaluating:

  • flu shots
  • pneumonia shots
  • HPV vaccines
  • potential HIV vaccines
  • malaria vaccines
  • rotavirus vaccines

So why aren't they done more routinely? Why isn't every vaccine on the immunization schedule or every combination of vaccines tested using a double-blind, placebo-controlled studies?

Of course, the answer is that in order to do this type of study, you would have to have a very good justification for leaving many of the kids unprotected and at risk for a vaccine-preventable disease. Instead, as is discussed in the article "Current topics in research ethics in vaccine studies," if a vaccine is "already in use in some other country or community which is more or less comparable to site where the trial is planned, that vaccine should be used as the comparator."

Instead of a placebo vaccine, it is more common "to give another vaccine that provides comparable benefit against another disease, or more willingly, against similar disease caused by different agents."

That is why you don't routinely see vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies.

When can you use a placebo control? The article states that "placebo controls are ethically acceptable when there is no proven vaccine for the indication for which the candidate vaccine is to be tested."

But couldn't parents just volunteer their children to participate in a  double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial about MMR, for example? That would hardly be representative of children everywhere, but also brings up another point - if the anti-vaccine folks want this study so bad, and they think that it can be done ethically, then why don't they try and do it?

For those who think about the vaccinated vs unvaccinated study in ethical and legal terms, there is also a question of how practical it would be to do the study.

For the anti-vax folks to believe the study, the children would have to be completely unvaccinated and not just partially vaccinated or selectively vaccinated. It is also likely that their mothers wouldn't be able to get any vaccines just before or after pregnancy. (When a popular anti-vax blogger had a third, this time unvaccinated child with autism, she blamed it on a maternal vaccine.)

And then there is the idea that even if a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial were done and showed that vaccines didn't cause autism or any other "vaccine induced diseases," would any anti-vax folks actually believe them? You somehow found enough completely unvaccinated kids to make the study powerful and sensitive enough to answer the question, you spend all of the money to do the study, and you convinced an Institutional Review Board to actually let you do the study, would the anti-vax folks shout 'Big-Pharma' or use some other conspiracy theory to try and explain away the results?

15
A few cases of measles are nothing to worry about.

A few cases of measles is probably nothing to worry about unless you think about the long-term goal of eliminating measles. We eliminated smallpox, and eliminating polio and measles are the next goals.

Still, a few cases are better than a lot of cases.

And that is what we had in most parts of the United States for a while. For a good stretch of time, once the endemic spread of measles was eliminated in the United States, there were just 37 to 66 total cases of measles each year.

Now, we are seeing single outbreaks with 58 to 85 cases and yearly totals that reach record highs.

Still, most measles outbreaks are small, with 1 or 2 cases, or maybe 5 cases. They may add up to a major health problem, but on their own, are these small outbreaks anything to worry about?

When thinking about this question, it is important to understand that even these small outbreaks don't just fade out on their own, as most anti-vaccine folks suspect. Health experts work hard to control and contain each and every outbreak. 

Containing measles outbreaks comes at a cost. To contain fewer than half of the measles outbreaks in 2011, "the corresponding total estimated costs for the public response accrued to local and state public health departments ranged from $2.7 million to $5.3 million US dollars."

With recording breaking numbers of measles cases in 2014, it wouldn't be surprising if the cost to contain them reached at least $10 to $20 million US dollars.

Of course, money isn't the main concern. Measles is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease.

Even in developed countries, people die of measles. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, between 2005 and 2013, "in developed and industrialized European countries," there were:

  • nearly or more than 20,000 hospitalizations in Ukraine, Romania, and Bulgaria, 5,239 hospitalizations in France, 1,607 in the UK, 1,216 in Spain
  • 24 deaths in Bulgaria, 17 in Romania, 10 in France, 4 in Italy, 3 each in the UK and Germany

That reflects the larger outbreaks that have been occurring in Europe.

Even if you don't want to worry about a few cases of measles, we are way past the days when we only have a few cases of measles in the United States. And these larger outbreaks are certainly something to worry about.

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