Thanks Andrew Wakefield. Thanks for making measles great again.

Yesterday was busy, and it actually didn’t leave me time for one of my 2,000+ word doses of Insolence, be it Respectful or not-so-Respectful. I thought about leaving today blank, but then I saw this story from the BBC and realized that, although it’s probably not worth expounding on for my usual length, I can’t miss mentioning it, because it allows me to sarcastically thank Andrew Wakefield again for all the illness and death his scientific fraud has resulted in. So thanks Andrew Wakefield. Thanks for the measles. Again:

Cases of measles in Europe have hit a record high, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

More than 41,000 people have been infected in the first six months of 2018, leading to 37 deaths.

Last year there were 23,927 cases and the year before 5,273. Experts blame this surge in infections on a drop in the number of people being vaccinated.

In England, there have been 807 cases so far this year. The WHO is calling on European countries to take action.

Public Health England say the outbreaks in England are largely due to people who have travelled to areas of mainland Europe that have had outbreaks.

Of course, I’ve said “Thanks Andrew Wakefield” before for his efforts to make measles great again, not just in the UK, but here in the US and world-wide. I began ten years ago. That same year, I thanked not just him, but Jenny McCarthy and her then-boyfriend Jim Carrey as well. Most recently, it was the Somali immigrants in Minnesota that led me to “thank” Wakefield, given the tireless efforts of his acolytes (and him as well, given that he made an appearance in Minneapolis at the height of the 2012 measles outbreak there). Of course, it’s not just Andrew Wakefield. It’s the hordes of antivaxers inspired by Andrew Wakefield who have promoted all this disease and death.

Sadly, it’s not just Europe, but the US as well, although admittedly (and fortunately), for now our situation is not nearly as bad as it is in Europe. According to the CDC:

So far in 2018, 107 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The states that have reported cases to CDC are Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington. Current as of July 14, 2018

In 2017, 118 people from 15 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. In 2016, 86 people from 19 states were reported to have measles. In 2015, 188 people from 24 states and the District of Columbia were reported to have measles. In 2014, the United States experienced a record number of measles cases, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD); this is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000.

That includes my state:

More than 100 people in 21 states have become sick with measles since the beginning of 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Michigan was included in the 21 states where measles has been confirmed in 2018, where four cases have been confirmed.

The most recent cases, identified at the end of July, were residents of Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

Neither of these cases are related to the two previous Michigan cases in 2018, however, all four cases were the result of exposure outside of the country, emphasizing the higher risk of measles during international travel and the importance of being protected by vaccination.

So Europe is a hotbed of measles, and our unvaccinated children bring it back after traveling to Europe. As the CDC notes:

  • The majority of people who got measles were unvaccinated.
  • Measles is still common in many parts of the world including some countries in Europe, Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.
  • Travelers with measles continue to bring the disease into the U.S.
  • Measles can spread when it reaches a community in the U.S. where groups of people are unvaccinated.

Given our homegrown antivaxers and their efforts to make measles great again in states like my home state of Michigan, in Texas, and several other states, I fear that the news will only get worse.

For that, we have Andrew Wakefield and his acolytes to thank for it all.