“You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”

— William Wilberforce

Front Page » Opinion » The Measles Hysteria
Text size:

The Measles Hysteria

The hysteria being fueled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pharmaceutical industry insiders like Dr. Paul Offit, and the media over the current measles “epidemic” in the United States is akin to the hysteria about ISIS. Every day, stories in the newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio programs, give the impression that ISIS and “radical Islamic terrorism” (… there, I said it… happy?) in general is the most dangerous security threat since Nazi Germany, and measles are the greatest health threat since the plague.

With regard to measles, let’s look at the numbers. According to information provided by the CDC, “Six to 20% of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia. One out of 1,000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain, and about one out of 1,000 will die.”1

Carefully, allow these numbers to sink in. Out of 1,000 people who contract measles, one will die and one will suffer inflammation in the brain. That comes out to about, oh… 0.002%. When was the last time someone in the United States actually died of measles? Well, in a recent Associated Press article picked up by Fox News, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was quoted as saying, “There has been no measles deaths reported in the US since 2003.”2

So unless someone’s died from measles in this country during the past 10 months, there have been no deaths reported for more than a decade.

What about those people who come down with measles and suffer much less severe consequences—the 6-20%? They’ll get “an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia.”1 Read the warning label on the box of any number of prescription medications, and you’ll see that the common side effects are infinitely scarier than any ear infection, diarrhea, or pneumonia. The hysteria over measles is unwarranted.

If we want to get hysterical over a health threat, there are plenty of other places to look, starting with the nearly three-quarters of American men and 60% of American women who are overweight or obese.3 Now that’s what you call a worthy epidemic. More than 29 million Americans have diabetes.4 One in 50 American children have autism or an autism spectrum disorder.5 An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s.6  Some 10,000 children in the US are killed or injured by guns each year.7

The list goes on and on, and note that these problems are all on the rise; they’re getting worse every year. That’s something to get hysterical about, because these real epidemics are unsustainable for much longer.

Each of these epidemics is a national disaster spiraling out of control, and they’re not getting the public attention or government research funding they deserve, partly because they are being overshadowed by stuff like the Disneyland measles outbreak, which has thus far accounted for a grand total of just over 140 reported cases—in a country of about 320 million people.

A modicum of sanity, please.


1 Swanson A. Japan’s Birth Rate Problem is Way Worse than Anyone Imagined. The Washington Post Jan. 7, 2015.
1 NetWellness Consumer Health Information. Measles—Q&A about Disease & Vaccine.
2 Associated Press. Deaths from Measles Outbreak May Be ‘Inevitable’ as Cases Surge in U.S. Fox News Apr. 25, 2015
3 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The Vast Majority of American Adults are Overweight or Obese, and Weight is a Growing Problem Among US Children.
4 American Diabetes Association. Overall Numbers, Diabetes and Prediabetes.
5 Willingham Emily. Autism Prevalence is Now at 1 in 50 Children. Forbes Mar 20, 2013
6 Alzheimer’s Association. 2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures.
7 Kim Clare. Nearly 10,000 American Children are Injured or Killed by Guns Every Year. MSNBC Jan. 27, 2014

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>