Is the Measles Outbreak New?

The following information is an example of a period of time in the past pertaining to the number of measles cases in the United States, which includes details of the specific cases that were reported to the CDC. Measles has been in the U.S., as well as most other countries in the world, for many years. (See Morbidity and Mortality Report).

The time frame highlighted in this blog is from January 1, 2013-August 24, 2013. During that time, measles cases existed in the United States, as reported by the CDC. However, what is interesting to note is that these cases, as well as many other measles cases prior and subsequent to this aforementioned time frame, have not been aggressively publicized. It is only recently, since the “Disneyland Outbreak” that the media has been actively reporting the measles story.

From January 1, 2013-August 24, 2013, 159 measles cases were reported from 16 U.S. States. The ages of those who contracted measles ranged from 0 -61 years old. 18 people were under 12 months old. 40 people were 1-4 years old. 58 people were 5-19 years old. 43 people were older than 20 years old.

Out of the 159 cases, 157 were import-associated and 2 had an unknown source. “Import-associated” includes people who were returning U.S. Citizens and visitors to the U.S. from 18 countries.

131 people of the 159 cases had unknown vaccine status. However, 13 of those patients did, in fact, have both recommended doses of the MMR vaccine.  Of the entire cohort of 159 cases, there were 17 hospitalizations and zero deaths. Further, in 2014, there were also zero deaths and zero encephalopathy incidents from the measles for the entire year.

These statistics are interesting for several reasons. One of which, is that the vaccine status of the measles cases is unknown. The CDC did not report that these people are unvaccinated. Another important aspect of these statistics is that 58 of the 159 cases, the highest group number, are of children who are between 5 and 19 years old, which is after the first and second dose of the MMR would have been administered (for those who were vaccinated). Since the vaccine status is unknown, the data does not reflect that those infected in this age group were definitely unvaccinated (or, conversely, vaccinated).

Another striking point is that there were no deaths during this time frame. Nor were there any deaths, or encephalopathy cases, in all of 2014 from the measles.  However, the vaccine court has awarded money to those who have suffered encephalopathy from the MMR vaccine.

Further, it is important to examine the fact that 157 of the 159 measles case were import-associated. Disneyland attracts many tourists from all over the world.  In fact, the Director of the CDC stated that the Disneyland cases were all import-associated.

Measles in the United States is not new.  It is not as though there were zero measles cases and then all of a sudden, within a particular few days in Disneyland, the measles virus appeared. That type of thinking might be the way it is portrayed in the media, however, when broken down and examined, the facts tell a different story.

The statistics can be found on the CDC website under morbidity and mortality.

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