Measles Down Worldwide

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ACSH staffers are very impressed with the progress of the Red Cross Measles Initiative. Their website reports, "[M]easles deaths worldwide fell by 78% between 2000 and 2008, from an estimated 733,000 in 2000 to 164,000 in 2008. However, global immunization experts warn of a resurgence in measles deaths if vaccination efforts are not sustained."

"Measles is a serious killer, especially in areas where state-of-the-art healthcare isn't available," says ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross. "We forget that since we saw measles decline thanks to the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine, but in countries where the MMR shot is not being used, there are still serious complications that are caused by this disease, including pneumonia, diarrhea, and encephalitis. And, of course, there was a decline in MMR vaccine use thanks to a paper published in The Lancet in 1998 by Dr. Wakefield, which claimed that the MMR shot caused neurological disorders. This story has been analyzed and soundly refuted. There is no evidence that neurological disease has any link to the MMR vaccine."

For other vaccination facts, see ACSH's publication on adult immunization.