MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd

We have repeatedly discussed on this blog the fact that many alternative practitioners are advising their patients against vaccinations, e. g.:

There is little doubt that this phenomenon contributes to low immunisation rates. This, in turn, is a contributing factor to outbreaks of measles and other infectious diseases. The website of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recently published data on measles outbreaks in Europe:

Bulgaria: There is an increase by three cases since 21 July 2017. Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 16 July, Bulgaria reported 166 cases. During the same time period in 2016 Bulgaria reported one case.

France: On 27 July 2017 media quoting the French Minister of Health reported the death of a 16-year-old unvaccinated girl. She had fallen sick in Nice and died on 27 June 2017 in Marseille.

Germany: There is an increase by four cases since the last report on 21 July 2017. Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 26 July, Germany reported 801 cases. During the same time period in 2016 Germany reported 187 cases.

Italy: There is an increase by 170 cases since 21 July 2017. Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 25 July, Italy reported 3 842 cases, including three deaths. Among the cases, 271 are healthcare workers. The median age is 27 years, 89% of the cases were not vaccinated and 6% received only one dose of vaccine.

Romania: There is an increase by 229 cases, including one additional death, since 21 July 2017. Since 1 January 2016 and as of 21 July 2017, Romania reported 8 246 cases, including 32 deaths. Cases are either laboratory-confirmed or have an epidemiological link to a laboratory-confirmed case. Infants and young children are the most affected groups. Timis, in the western part of the country closest to the border with Serbia, is the most affected district with 1 215 cases. Vaccination activities are ongoing in order to cover communities with suboptimal vaccination coverage.

Spain: There is an increase by seven cases since 14 July 2017. Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 25 July, Spain reported 145  measles cases.

United Kingdom: Public Health Wales reported two additional cases related to the outbreak in Newport and Torfaen, bringing the total to ten cases related to this outbreak. In England and Wales there is an increase by 76 cases since 21 July 2017. Since the beginning of 2017 and as of 23 July 2017, England and Wales reported 922 cases. In the same time period in 2016, they reported 946 cases.

In addition to the updates listed above ECDC produces a monthly measles and rubella monitoring report with surveillance data provided by the member states through TESSy. The last report was published on 11 July 2017 with data up to 31 May 2017.

Measles outbreaks continue to occur in EU/EEA countries. There is a risk of spread and sustained transmission in areas with susceptible populations. The national vaccination coverage remains less than 95% for the second dose of MMR in the majority of EU/EEA countries. The progress towards elimination of measles in the WHO European Region is assessed by the European Regional Verification Commission for Measles and Rubella Elimination (RVC). Member States of the WHO European Region are making steady progress towards the elimination of measles. At the fifth meeting of the RVC for Measles and Rubella in October 2016, of 53 countries in the WHO European Region, 24 (15 of which are in the EU/EEA) were declared to have reached the elimination goal for measles, and 13 countries (nine in the EU/EEA) were deemed to have interrupted endemic transmission for between 12 and 36 months, meaning they are on their way to achieving the elimination goal. However, six EU/EEA countries were judged to still have endemic transmission: Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Romania. More information on strain sequences would allow further insight into the epidemiological investigation.

All EU/EEA countries report measles cases on a monthly basis to ECDC and these data are published every month. Since 10 March 2017, ECDC has been reporting measles outbreaks in Europe on a weekly basis and monitoring worldwide outbreaks on a monthly basis through epidemic intelligence activities. ECDC published a rapid risk assessment on 6 March.

END OF QUOTE

Personally, I believe that it is high time to stop the rhetoric and actions of the anti-vaccination movements. This includes educating alternative practitioners and their patients. If necessary, we need regulation that prohibits their dangerous and unethical activities.

6 Responses to Measles outbreaks – time to stop the madness of the anti-vaccinationists

  • Maybe I don’t understand the issue correctly, but the way I see it is that many of these anti-vaxers are also peddlers of CAM products. As long as they can legally sell their stuff, they will continue to create suspicion and sometimes outright fear in peoples minds regarding conventional medicine, including vaccinations. To tackle the issue, governments should stop supporting many CAM products and services eg homeoapthy etc, and in my view, make it illegal to sell it to the public.

    • As I copy from the post, since 21 July, the cases reported per country were:
      Bulgaria: 3
      France: 1
      Germany: 4
      Italy: 170
      Romania: 229
      Spain: ~7
      England & Wales: 76

      Now, considering the approximate population of these countries (approximated), let’s produce an “incidence-like” measure:

      Bulgaria: ~ 0.43 per million (3 cases for ~7,000,000 people)
      France: ~ 0.02 per million (1 case for ~65,000,000 people)
      Germany: ~ 0.05 per million (4 cases for ~83,000,000 people)
      Italy: ~ 2.83 per million (170 cases for ~60,000,000 people)
      Romania: ~ 11.45 per million (229 cases for ~20,000,000 people)
      Spain: ~ 0.15 per million (7 cases for ~46,000,000 people)
      England & Wales: ~ 1.31 per million (76 cases for ~58,000,000 people)

      Flying over to https://www.vithoulkas.com/vithoulkas/curriculum-vitae, I must quote the paragraph with the academic distinctions…
      QUOTE:

      George Vithoulkas is today Honorary Professor at the University of the Aegean, Greece, Honorary Professor at the Moscow Medical Academy (Academy of Medical Sciences), Honorary Professor at the State Medical University of Chuvash Republic, (Russia), Professor at the Kiev Medical Academy, Honorary Professor at the PHEE “Kyiv Medical University”, Collaborating Professor at the Basque Medical University (2001-2004), Doctor Honoris Causa of “Dr. Viktor Babes” University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Timisoara (Romania) and Doctor Honoris Causa of “Iuliu Hatieganu University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

      Does it come as a surprise that the highest incidence (more than 4 times higher than the second highest and at least 10 and up to 100 times higher than those of other countries) comes from a country that has awarded free Doctorship (“honoris causa” no less) from not one but TWO universities (of MEDICINE, how about that?) to the man who (quoting precisely from http://www.vithoulkas.com) “is recognized around the world as the personality who re-established homeopathy in the 20th century”.

      Besides, as the next paragraph says: “He set scientific standards on the theory and practice of homeopathy, trained thousands of homeopaths and medical doctors and many of the world’s best known classical homeopaths.”

      I guess re-establishing homeopathy comes with a number of tolls, and the state of affairs in Romania seems to be seriously in favor of homeopathy. Perhaps these are the results of homeopathic immunisation. I wonder what the measles outbreak measures for these last few weeks are with respect to Russia, Ukraine and Greece.

    • I agree Frank, but too many governments are blind to science and ethically based medical facts and /or appreciate the money from the Alternative’s lobbyists more than fact based health care.

      • I sometimes wonder if some lessons can’t be learned from the tobacco industry. Tobacco’s long term health effects is well known, and yet, they may continue to sell their products legally. Strangely, it is socially unacceptable for Universities to accept funding from the tobacco industry. Now take homeopathy for example. Prescribing homeopathic malaria prophylaxis can (indirectly) cause someone to die within a matter of days/weeks whereas tobacco’s (direct) influence is over a much longer time frame – outcome is the same, people die. And yet, some Universities do accept money from homeopaths and the like.

        Both are bad, in different ways, but governments will only run campaigns to warn the public against tobacco and of course, slam them with Tax. So, it is still your choice to buy tobacco, but you are going to pay for it (that makes governments happy) and you are made well aware of the dangers associated with it. (So it is an informed, and expensive, decision that the public can make). Shouldn’t governments take the same stance against all unproven/disproven CAM’s ? They will make a lot of Tax money out of it, and that is apparently what they are interested in, and people will be informed about the dangers involved, in the same way as with tobacco.

  • more on this subject (http://outbreaknewstoday.com/romania-measles-count-nears-9000-iraqi-girl-is-33rd-death-95531/):
    A 10-year-old Iraqi girl who arrived in Romania in July has become the 33rd measles fatality in the country since 2016, according to a local media account (computer translated).

    Measles/CDC
    The National Center for Surveillance and Control of Communicable Diseases puts the total case count at 8937 from 41 counties through Aug. 25.
    The counties most affected include Timis county (1,226), Caras-Severin (1,111) and 1,014 in Arad.
    The Romanian Government adopted earlier this month a draft bill on the organization and financing of population vaccination, according a Romania-Insider report. The project was sent to the Parliament for approval and could come into force in January 2018.
    Measles is caused by a virus belonging to the paramyxovirus. The disease is one of the most infectious diseases that exists. Measles virus excreted by breathing the air and spread through air droplets (aerosols). Susceptible people infected via the respiratory tract or mucous membranes of the eyes.
    The incubation period is 7-18 days, usually about 10 days.

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