Sunday 8 February 2015

Putting Measles into Perspective: Numbers don't lie

This article was originally written in 2012, but was updated this month to respond to several questions that have been asked about the original material covered in the first article from 2012.

This article is not about whether you should, or shouldn't, vaccinate your child for measles- as I've said previously, it's up to every parent to make an informed choice and stand in full responsibility for that choice.  This article takes a very close look at the fear porn aspect of the numbers that are being given out by the main stream media and the "fear mongurers".  Simple numbers don't lie.


Putting Measles Into Perspective

Note from VaxTruth:  We have received many comments about this article. The author has submitted an update (2/3/15) in response to some of the questions that have been raised. Please see the EDIT at the end of this post.
Before the MMR vaccine, measles was at epidemic proportions. Before the vaccine, the US had 3-4 million cases of measles! That’s insane! Thank goodness for vaccines.
The end.
Aw, now you didn’t think I’d let vaccines get off  THAT easy did you?
Prior to the vaccine, 3-4 million cases of measles occured in the United States each year. <—True.
Also true, however, is that of those 3-4 million cases, only about 450 people died each year from it in the years before the vaccine.
That still seems like a lot? Instead of running out to make sure your vaccinations are up to date, how about a shot of perspective instead?
In the screen shot below, I have figured out the percentage of people who died from measles of all of the measles cases back then.  0.015%.  Suddenly, measles seems a little less scary doesn’t it? The CDC claims that around 1 or 2 out of a thousand people who get measles will die from measles. Their math doesn’t add up though. I guess they use the term “about” lightly.
measles vaccination statistics
Also, consider that in 1963, the population was 189,241,798. That means that prior to the vaccine, the percentage of the entire US population that died from measles was .000237%. (Remember this figure, because it will be important in about two paragraphs.)
Now, if you read the little excerpt above, you might be scared, because even with vaccines, the global death count for children from measles is 197,000 in the stats above!  That’s a scare tactic and it makes me mad. First of all, it wasn’t 197,000 children. It was 197,000 people and some of them were children.
Then the excerpt above goes on to talk about present day figures. There are over 6 billion people on the planet. That’s shown as  6,000,000,000 numerically. Correct me if you disagree, but when over 150,000 people die each day total,  is 540 people dying of measles each day really that outrageous?  They’re counting on us not comprehending the vast population of our global society. 240,000 children in low income countries alone die each year of neonatal infection. 1.26 million people die each year from diabetes and yet they’re still pushing the high fructose corn syrup in school lunches.
With vaccines, the US went from a .000237 PERCENT death rate  among the general population from measles in 1963 to a 0.000000% measles death rate. It’s a different story around the world though (as the WHO points out to scare the crap out of you.) Currently, around 197,000 people die each year from measles… out of 6 billion. Want to know percent that equals? The calculator showed: 3.28e-5.
***pencil scratches on paper, moving the decimal point to the left five places because of the -e***
***calculator clicking***
Which brings the percentage of people who die globally from measles today to:
0.00328%. (Remember when I told you to remember that figure above?)

0.000237% < 0.00328%

So, comparing the two figures, as a country, we Americans did better in 1963 at not dying from measles than the general population of the world is doing RIGHT NOW.
But in fairness to vaccines, when compared to our own progress as a country, we no longer have that .0002% of our population dying of measles. Right?
But I digress, let’s compare measles death rates in 1963 to other death rates in 1963.
In 1963, there were about 450 deaths from measles. Meanwhile, about 12,000 people died from stomach ulcers and the likes.  Just over 43,000 people died from car accidents in 1963. Over 700,000 people died from heart disease.
In 1963, you were more likely to be one of the 9200 people murdered that year than to die of measles. If you were born in 1963, you were more likely to die from a congenital disease than from measles. In 1963, it was about 46 times more likely for a child to die from a congenital malformation than for someone to die from the measles.
Frankly, in 1963, you were about 46 times more likely to kill yourself than you were to die from measles.



And at any rate, and I just know this makes pro-vax people upset to hear, measles was already declining prior to the vaccination. The US graphs you can find indicate a huge visual decline, but the way the numbers are set up in the vertical axis is misleading.  Check out how the axis representing the difference between 0 and 1 is represented by the same space as the difference between 2 and 20? I highlighted it in yellow for you.  Another vaccine awareness group added the dotted red line, but I think that the vertical axis manipulation is even more crucial. So, visually, it looks like a huge decline after the vaccine was introduced:

Unfortunately, finding the specific numbers per year has proved challenging for me, but thankfully, I found a similar graph (similar numbers, but unofficial source) that has not included an exponentially growing vertical axis so that you can see the trend in declining measles rates prior to and including after the vaccine introduction more accurately:

See that tiny blip right around 1967? That’s when vaccines “drastically” reduced measles deaths.


Well, as early as 1932, doctors began using cod-liver oil (high in vitamin A) to treat measles and ended up lowering the mortality rate significantly.  In 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed that vitamin A supplements significantly reduce measles complications and death rates.  It would be interesting to know what kind of impact essential oils such as oil of oregano with antiviral qualities or better yet, homeopathy, would have had on measles as well. At the very least though, you don’t have to stress as much, 0.015%mortality rate among measles infected people is just not very scary.
Not nearly as scary as the monster under the bed.

Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System 
1-800-922-7967 or
National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program
1-800-338-2382 or 
February 3, 2015:  EDIT: The following was submitted by the author as an addendum to answer some of the questions raised in the comments to this article.
The above article was written only to convey a more accurate picture of the death toll of measles prior to the vaccine. It was not an attempt to change anyone’s decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate. It was to shed light on the actual statistics. See. I wrote it at a time when parents were being told how deadly measles is by using articles that cited worldwide measles death rates as though those represented the likelihood of death rates in the United States.
Measles infections were going away, but I was not clear in my explanation, because it was not the focus of the article. Death rates were. Plus, I believed it was glaringly obvious since I was specifically discussing population growth when examining deaths from measles. I’d like to address my claim now that it is apparent that people are also interested in how I could state that measles infections were on their way out.
The CDC uses the number of cases, as opposed to the rate of cases of measles infections, making no attempt to adjust for the drastic population growth in the decade just before the first vaccine was licensed: The Baby Boom. In addition, they do not address the historic 2-3 year cycle of measles.
Our population rose from 139.9M in 1945 to 189.5M in 1963:  That’s almost FIFTY MILLION new Americans. Greater than an additional 1/3 of the population was added to the U.S., but it is not even considered when presenting measles data.
In 1958, we saw a large spike in the actual  number measles cases (nearly 800K), that is true.  This would be expected, given that the Baby Boomers were highly susceptible because they were children, previously unexposed and almost exclusively fed formula (and did not get measles antibodies during infancy from their mothers’ milk.)  After that spike, we would expect to see another spike in two to three years, because that is the historic cycle. But that never happened. The number of cases held at around the 400K level, despite the population continuing to increase.
Though the first measles vaccines (which was deemed a failure in ability to create antibodies) was not licensed until the later part of the measles season on the sixth year of the cycle, there was still no major spike. The next measles vaccine was licensed near the end of that measles season that same year. Meanwhile, in the five year span between the 1958 spike and the first vaccines, the population grew by 14.6 million.
In 1957, the AAP’s new committee on nutrition released the new guidelines that doctors would use. In 1958 and 59, when almost every single baby was drinking formula instead of breastmilk, commercial infant formulas were finally fortified with iron.  In 1960, Miles Laboratory developed Chocks, the first chewable multivitamin aimed at children. Flinstones followed shortly thereafter. In January of 1961 Kennedy’s first executive order mandated that the USDA donations to the poor include a variety of fresh foods rather than whatever was at a surplus that year. Later, that same year, the USDA was required to donate foods to schools for children who could not afford food. Kennedy continued to support initiatives that helped the poor and minorities until his death in November 1963. The work he began continued after his death. In 1964, President Johnson launched the “War on Poverty.” 1964 brought on the “Food Stamp Act.” Medicare and Medicaid were offered to Americans in 1965. Additionally, by 1965 the proportion of people living in poverty decreased by about 1/3 when compared to the numbers in 1950.
Another great way to show that measles cases had been declining is to look at military records. They used actual rates, kept great records and focused in one one specific age range. In the Civil War,  which was in the 1860, the cases reported were 32.2 per 1000 person years.  The rate drops to 26.1 in the Spanish American War. During World War I, it was 23.8.  And in the second world war, it was down to 4.7 per 1000 man years. It was the same rate decline in the Royal Navy records as well, which recorded a little differently, but still showed a decline.  In WWI, the rate of measles was 16.0 per patients admitted for the entire duration. In WWII, the case rate was 2.9 per patients admitted.

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