Getting the Measles in Modern-Day America—Not Nearly as Dangerous as Portrayed
By Dr. Alan Palmer, CHD Contributing Writer
Throughout the 20th century, the U.S. and other Western nations made progress tackling problems related to nutrition, sanitation, hygiene, water, garbage and pests. With these improvements, the death rates from childhood infectious diseases plummeted—long before the advent of vaccines for those illnesses. U.S. vital statistics affirm that the measles mortality (death) rate had dropped 99.4% before introduction of the first measles vaccine in 1963.
Fuzzy measles math
Prior to the measles vaccine’s U.S. introduction, the estimated number of measles cases annually was between 4 and 6.5 million (depending on the source). The government-reported mortality rate—pre-vaccine—was approximately 1 in 10,000 cases. So why do today’s media often report it as 1 in 1,000 cases? This appears to be an attempt to exaggerate the facts and promote fear to drive the vaccine mandate agenda. Ninety percent or more of all measles cases were so mild that they were never reported because parents never took their children to the doctor. Only 10% of overall cases were severe enough to warrant seeking medical care, but even in that subgroup, not all cases were reported. It was only among the 10% that sought medical care and were reported that the fatality rate was about 1 in 1,000. Modern news outlets get away with inaccurately reporting the death rate as 1 in 1,000 by leaving out the crucial word “reported” and referring only to “cases.”
But even a death rate of 1 in 10,000 cases does not accurately reflect the situation for the majority of the population, for whom measles mortality was far less. Socioeconomic factors are very important in this discussion but often overlooked. In the middle of the last century, U.S. children living in poverty had poorer nutrition, less sanitary living conditions and less access to medical care. As one might expect, this resulted in less viable and resilient immune systems that made them more vulnerable to measles complications and death.
Two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studies support the observation that poorer children suffered more serious complications and a higher measles mortality rate. One study, titled “Measles mortality: a retrospective look at the vaccine era” (authored for the CDC’s Bureau of Epidemiology and published in 1975 in the American Journal of Epidemiology), reviewed statistics from 1958-1963. A 1980 study from the CDC’s Immunization Division, titled “Measles mortality in the United States 1971-1975” and published in the American Journal of Public Health, reviewed records from 1971-1975. Both studies showed that children who lived at or below the poverty level, and especially in rural settings, were significantly more likely to die from measles than those in the higher income brackets. In fact, the second study found a ten times (1,000%) higher death rate for those below the poverty level than for the more affluent population.
As I thought about those numbers and the 1000% greater incidence of death in poverty-stricken children, I became curious as to how disproportionate those numbers might be when considering the population as a whole. Remember, the overall mortality rate for the entire country was reported as approximately 1 death for every 10,000 cases of measles. In the pre-measles-vaccine era from 1959-1962, the total U.S. population was from 178 million (1959) to 189 million (1963), and the percentage of families living at or below the poverty level was about 8% (approximately 14 million). If that 8% had a 1,000% higher mortality rate than the more affluent population, it would stand to reason that the mortality rate for that affluent segment must be far less than 1 in 10,000 cases. Here are the CDC measles mortality numbers for 1971-1975 reported in the American Journal of Public Health:
- Families with incomes of less than or equal to $5,000/year: 1 death in 237,467 (population)
- Families with incomes between $5,000 and $10,000/year: 1 death in 1,009,437 (population)
- Families with incomes over $10,000/year: 1 death in 2,190,837 (population)
In other words, for higher-income households, there was less than a one in two million measles fatality rate.
Even lower mortality today
In modern-day America, there are many variables that would contribute to a dramatically lower measles mortality rate. What follow are but a handful:
- The percentage of people living in poverty in the United States has decreased about 50% since the early 1960s (dropping from 8% to 4%). This alone would translate into a much lower measles mortality rate today.
- Individuals living in poverty today have better access to sanitary water, nutrient-enriched foods, vitamins and medical care than 60 years ago.
- Today, rural America has better access to medical care and doctors than in the middle of the last century.
- Knowledge of personal hygiene and its importance has become part of the fabric of society. This helps to reduce the spread of disease and improves outcomes.
- Since 1960, much has been learned about the power of vitamin A in reducing complications and deaths from measles. The World Health Organization (WHO) has touted the success of its vitamin A campaign in developing countries for reducing measles-related complications and deaths.
- Many other herbal and natural antiviral compounds have been discovered in the last 60 years.
- Immunoglobulin therapy is available today for individuals who are vulnerable to measles complications.
When it comes to advances in quality of living and easier access to all the resources that can promote better health, wouldn’t you agree that most people in the U.S. are experiencing the polar opposite of what people living in abject poverty in low-income nations experience? Today, more American families and children benefit from a higher standard of living than ever before; more are able to afford nutritious food and even nutritional supplements; more enjoy clean living conditions; more have access to better medical and social services; and more are knowledgeable about key health principles. In this context, it only makes sense that measles morbidity and mortality rates would plummet.
Contrary to what the pharma-controlled media would have us believe, the United States today is not equivalent to an impoverished low-income country. Yes, measles can be a deadly illness in those parts of the world where living conditions are similar to those that prevailed in large overcrowded U.S. and European cities in the 1800s and early 1900s—yet big pharma would have everyone in the U.S. and the West believe that if they don’t take all the vaccines that officials can muster, they will be in danger of sliding back to the Dark Ages, with millions of people ravaged by infection and hanging on by an extremely fine and frayed thread.
The MMR vaccine’s history and risks
It is impossible to say for sure what the mortality rate would be if measles were to return to the U.S. on a wider scale, but the evidence just described and the continued advances in treating infectious diseases both holistically and medically indicate that the rate could well be one death per 200,000 cases—or less. If there were four million measles cases, that would amount to around 20 deaths.
Many will say that one death is one too many—and I would agree. But we must contrast the complications and deaths that might be caused by natural measles infection with the rates of injuries and deaths attributed to the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine. We must also consider the probability that the MMR vaccine—along with the ever-increasing childhood vaccine schedule—may well play a role in the meteoric rise of neurodevelopmental disorders, autism, learning and behavioral problems, gastrointestinal disorders, reproductive disorders and autoimmune and other chronic diseases. All of these conditions are at epidemic levels, and the human and financial costs are becoming astronomical!
In a historical look at the adverse reactions and deaths due to the measles and MMR vaccines, titled “Can measles vaccine cause injury and death?,” we learn the following: “As of May 31, 2019, there have been more than 94,972 reports of measles vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following measles vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), including 468 related deaths, 7,127 hospitalizations, and 1,820 related disabilities.” And these statistics are most certainly just a drop in the bucket. According to CDC-sponsored research, less than 1% of the adverse reactions from vaccines are ever reported to VAERS. The report describing the widespread problem of underreporting was titled Electronic Support for Public Health-Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (ESP:VAERS) and is often referred to as the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care study. Multiply the May 31 statistics about adverse reactions and vaccine injuries just from the measles/MMR vaccines by 100 (or add two zeros to those numbers), and you are closer to the actual number of measles-vaccine-related adverse reactions. Given that VAERS receives total reports of somewhere in the neighborhood of 60,000 adverse reactions annually, the true number of vaccine-related adverse events in the U.S. alone is more likely to be around six million annually.
While the media portray the MMR vaccine as the 21st-century “holy grail” of vaccines, the MMR has many skeletons in its closet. For example, a 215-page internal Merck document recently came to light thanks to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. on behalf of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN). It reports on the pre-licensure studies that were performed on the MMR vaccine. Among many interesting observations, one of the most glaring is a summary of findings on page 43 where it states: “Upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections were reported in about 55% and 40% of vaccinees respectively.” Oh, the irony—it appears that Dr. Andrew Wakefield’s findings regarding the pathological changes in the gastrointestinal tracts of the children in his famous since-retracted 1998 study have been vindicated by Merck’s own pre-licensure studies! In other words, Merck and the vaccine industry knew about the evidence that Dr. Wakefield presented all along, yet they ruined his career to protect their investment in the MMR vaccine.
In addition, there are several scandals surrounding the MMR’s pre-licensure and post-licensure studies. First, two whistleblower scientists (Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski) who worked on the pre-licensure studies to gain FDA approval for the mumps component of the vaccine have accused Merck of “spiking” samples of human blood with mumps antibodies from rabbit’s blood. They brought a case under the False Claims Act, alleging fraud against Merck that is still working its way through the courts. According to an article in Global Research titled “Merck senior management tried to pay off its own vaccine scientists to remain silent about scientific fraud,” the filing accuses Merck of lying about the safety and effectiveness of MMR vaccines, tampering with study data, defrauding the U.S. government and various other high-level crimes.
Second, Dr. William Thompson, a senior CDC scientist working on a major study to determine whether the MMR vaccine was associated with increased rates of autism, came forward in 2014 alleging CDC fraud. Dr. Thompson stated that when the data showed a significant vaccine-autism association, supervisors ordered the CDC researchers working on the study to bring all of their notes and study-related documents to a meeting to deposit them into a large trash can to be destroyed. Suspecting foul play, Dr. Thompson kept a full copy of all the records. Several years later, compelled by his conscience, he contacted Brian Hooker, PhD with a full confession. Dr. Thompson provided Dr. Hooker with over 10,000 pages of documents supporting his allegations and other examples of malfeasance.
On September 10, 2019, Children’s Health Defense published a response by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to a misleading article in The New Yorker—which The New Yorker itself refused to publish—that made several more critical points about vaccine risks:
- Merck’s MMR pre-licensure studies found that 40% of children receiving the MMR suffered gastrointestinal illnesses within 42 days of the injection, and 55% suffered respiratory illnesses. These are symptoms that might persuade rational consumers to choose the infections over the vaccine.
- The MMR’s package insert includes an almost two-page listing of over 60 adverse reactions ranging from vomiting and irritability to permanent brain damage and anaphylaxis. The Institute of Medicine has repeatedly pointed out the CDC’s failure to perform the studies necessary to confirm whether the MMR vaccine is causing these injuries.
- Merck acknowledges that an astonishing 26% of post-pubertal females might develop arthritis and arthralgia from the MMR vaccine.
- A 2017 letter published in The BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) cited research showing that children receiving the MMR vaccine had five times the seizure rate of children with measles infections. A 2004 JAMA study found that an additional 1 in 640 children has seizures after MMR vaccination compared to unvaccinated children; about 5% of these will progress to epilepsy.
For further information, download my free eBook, 1200 Studies: Truth will Prevail. It has easy search and navigation features and links directly to article abstracts on PubMed or the source journal. These features make it an invaluable research and reference tool. Now 718 pages long, the eBook covers over 1,400 published studies—authored by thousands of scientists and researchers—that contradict what officials are telling the public about vaccine safety and efficacy.