Measles Mystery solved: Understanding the “special powers” behind the vaccine

From NPR:

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

“In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80 percent,” says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

“So it’s really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine,” he says.

Mina and his colleagues think they now might have an explanation. And they published their evidence Thursday in the journal Science.

Now there’s an obvious answer to the mystery: Children who get the measles vaccine are probably more likely to get better health care in general — maybe more antibiotics and other vaccines. And it’s true, health care in the U.S. has improved since the 1960s.

But Mina and his colleagues have found there’s more going on than that simple answer.

The team obtained epidemiological data from the U.S., Denmark, Wales and England dating back to the 1940s. Using computer models, they found that the number of measles cases in these countries predicted the number of deaths from other infections two to three years later.

“We found measles predisposes children to all other infectious diseases for up to a few years,” Mina says.

And the virus seems to do it in a sneaky way.

Like many viruses, measles is known to suppress the immune system for a few weeks after an infection. But previous studies in monkeys have suggested that measles takes this suppression to a whole new level: It erases immune protection to other diseases, Mina says. Continue reading

#Science Quotable: Peter Hotez on measles and vaccine hesitancy @peterhotez @PLOSCurrentsOut

[tweet https://twitter.com/PLOSCurrentsOut/status/570657070099202049]

Measles was eliminated from the United States in 2000 – with elimination defined as “the absence of continuous disease transmission for 12 months or more in a specific geographic area”.  But in 2014 things began to unravel when the US experienced its largest number of measles cases ever, and later at the beginning of 2015 when a measles outbreak began in Disneyland and subsequently spread to multiple states.  The primary cause of the California measles outbreak was parents who chose not to vaccinate their children because of unwarranted fears that vaccines were linked to autism, despite the fact that such connections have been disproven in the scientific literature.  As both a parent of a child who is severely disabled by autism and other mental disabilities and a vaccine researcher and head of a non-profit vaccine product development partnership, I like to also point out the absence of any scientific plausibility for connecting autism to vaccines  (Thoughts on World Autism Awareness Day).

I am troubled – the world looks to the United States as a trend setter in many different fields ranging from cinema to the sciences.  Vaccine hesitancy is a trend that should never be imitated.

Peter Hotez, President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Developmentannouncing the launch of PLOS Currents Outbreaks collection on Vaccine Hesitancy

FDA commisionner Margaret Hamburg schools us on measles and the measles vaccine!! #science

hamburgMargaret A. Hamburg, M.D., the Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the FDA, has written a terrific piece in response to the recent measles outbreak. Check it out here at the FDA blog. Hamburg emphasizes the importance of high vaccination rates, the safety of the vaccines, and the effectiveness of the vaccine!

In recent weeks we’ve seen an alarming outbreak of measles; a highly contagious and serious virus, especially in babies and young children who have not been vaccinated. This outbreak is particularly disturbing because measles was effectively eliminated from the United States in 2000 thanks to nearly universal vaccination, the single best way to prevent the spread of this disease.

Vaccination works with the body’s natural defenses to help it safely develop immunity to the measles. When more people are vaccinated, there are fewer opportunities for the disease to spread. A community generally needs more than ninety per cent of its members to be immunized against the virus in order to protect those who can’t be.

Before the first measles vaccine was approved in 1963, hundreds died from the disease each year. Others developed pneumonia, lifelong brain damage or deafness.

Let’s not return to these grim statistics. There is no shortage of measles vaccine. It should be used by everyone who has not been vaccinated to prevent measles and the potentially tragic consequences of the disease.

Video: 7 Biggest measles myths debunked!! #vaccine @ColumbiaMSPH

Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health – Seven Myths About Measles

Melissa Stockwell, MD, MPH, a pediatrician and assistant professor of Population and Family Health at the Mailman School of Public Health and assistant professor of Pediatrics at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, both at Columbia University, debunks seven common myths about measles and vaccination.

#Science Quotable: Shepard Smith – anti-vaccinators = SCIENCE DENIERS #AMAZING #IAmTheHerd

HELLO SCIENCE!! A lot of you want to talk about science deniers, that’s what you are people! You non-vaxxers, you’re science deniers. That’s it!

A small minority of parents refuse vaccines for their children citing all kinds of weirdness, including a possible link to autism, which science says DOES NOT EXIST. And according to the CDC, there is absolutely no link to autism. And anti-vaxxers are hurting all the other little children by not letting little Johnny and little Janey get their shots. Get your shots, come’ on now!

– Shepard Smith

Honestly… I think this is my favorite #Science Quotable ever!! Video below.

Fox Host Shep Smith To Anti-Vaxxers: ‘You’re Science Deniers!’

2014 had the most cases of measles since eradication. 2015 on track to be worse. #Vaccine #science

cdcmeasles

For lots of information on the current outbreak of measles, check out the CDC page here. It is truly alarming that last year had so many cases of a fully PREVENTABLE disease through vaccination. It is even more alarming that this year is likely on track to be worse. The outbreaks of measles have already resulted in a public outcry and debate over vaccines. Including President Obama commenting on the importance of vaccination and highlighting that anti-vaccination sentiment is not based on science. Hopefully the science will prevail!

The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 644 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.

– The majority of the 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.

#Science Quotable: President Obama on the measles outbreak – Get kids vaccinated

[tweet https://twitter.com/WhiteHouse/status/562027506321330177]

And the fact is that, a major success of our civilization has the ability to prevent diseases that in the past have devastated folks. And measles is preventable. And I understand that there are families that, in some cases, are concerned about the effect of vaccinations. The science is, you know, pretty indisputable. We’ve looked at this again and again. There is every reason to get vaccinated, but there aren’t reasons to not.

You should get your kids vaccinated. It’s good for them and the challenge you have is if you have a certain group of kids who don’t get vaccinated, and if it grows large enough that a percentage of the population doesn’t get vaccinated and they’re the folks who can’t get vaccinated, small infants, for example, or people with certain vulnerabilities that can’t vaccinated, they suddenly become much more vulnerable.

President Obama interview with .