I had measles as a kid, some time in the 1960s. I can still remember spending days lying on the lounge in a darkened room. I did not need to go to hospital, and I cannot remember how ill I was, and that is probably a good thing. Having measles was almost a rite of passage for a kid in those days. At about the same time, a vaccine was developed for the virus, and subsequently the disease largely disappeared from view.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that Europe is experiencing an alarming rise in measles cases. 941 cases were reported in all of 2022, and between January and October of 2023, over 30,000 cases were reported. The increase in cases has accelerated in recent months, and this trend is expected to continue if urgent measures are not taken across the region to prevent further spread. Of those 30,000 cases, 21,000 were hospitalised and 5 people died. Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe has said. “Vaccination is the only way to protect children from this potentially dangerous disease. Urgent vaccination efforts are needed to halt transmission and prevent further spread. It is vital that all countries are prepared to rapidly detect and timely respond to measles outbreaks, which could endanger progress towards measles elimination”1.
In the UK, the Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has logged over 300 cases since October 1, 2023, despite having eliminated the disease in 20172.
Why is this happening now? Researchers put it down to low uptake of the Measles Mumps and Rubella (MMR) vaccine. In the UK at present, about 85% of children in England have received two MMR vaccine doses by five years old, according to data from the National Health Service (NHS). This is below the vaccination rate of at least 95% needed to achieve ‘herd immunity’, which substantially reduces disease spread. Vaccination coverage for children under the age of 5 is the lowest it has been in the past 10 years2.
This decrease in vaccination rates largely seems to be because of the antivaccination activists (antivaxxers), some of whom, stupidly, believe that vaccines are more dangerous than the diseases they vaccinate against. Indeed, I have had a couple of antivaxxers suggest to me that the Covid-19 vaccines kill more people than the disease. This is a lie as any reading of the data will show. One antivaxxer also told me that the vaccines contain a Bill Gates manufactured chip with which the government wants to control the populace. This is simply ludicrous, as the needles delivering the dose were so fine such that I could barely feel them puncture the skin. Another of these vegetables told me that the mRNA vaccines would change your DNA. This is also a lie, and simply shows how ignorant these antivaxxers are. As one online wag stated: “Those who are stupid enough to think that their genetic makeup will be altered by Covid-19 vaccines should welcome the opportunity”. Touché.
Of those children contracting the disease, it is likely that about 20% will be hospitalised, and 5% will develop pneumonia, which is the most common cause of measles deaths in young children. About 0.1% of those contracting measles will develop encephalitis which may leave the child deaf or with an intellectual disability. However, perhaps the most insidious complication is that of Subacute Sclerosing Pan-Encephalitis (SSPE). It generally develops 7 to 10 years after a person contracts measles, even though they seem to have completely recovered from the disease years before. About 1 in every 10,000 people will develop SSPE, and that is likely higher in people who get measles before the age of two3.
SSPE is a progressive, disabling, and deadly brain disorder. Symptoms of SSPE occur in four stages. With each stage, the symptoms are worse than the stage before. The stages are:
Stage I. There may be personality changes, mood swings, or depression. Fever and headache may also be present. This stage may last up to 6 months.
Stage II. There may be uncontrolled movement, including jerking and muscle spasms. Other symptoms that may occur in this stage are loss of vision, dementia and seizures.
Stage III. Jerking movements are replaced by writhing (twisting) movements and rigidity. Death may occur from complications.
Stage IV. Areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure are damaged. This leads to coma and then death.
SSPE is always fatal. People with this disease die 1 to 3 years after diagnosis4.
The only known method of prevention of SSPE is vaccination against measles. And yet the antivaxxers ‘believe’ that vaccinations are dangerous. The only thing that is dangerous is the stupidity of antivaxxers, and the gullibility of the people who believe them. Some of them will pay a horrible price for this stupidity either by succumbing to SSPE, or watching their children die from it.