The anti-vaccine movement is not limited just to the United States. Anti-vaxxers are influential in Europe, and the results have been entirely predictable: Europe is in the grip of a measles outbreak.

Most disappointingly, 2016 saw a record low for measles on the continent, according to the BBC. That year, there were 5,273 cases; in 2017, the number surged 400% to more than 20,000. Thirty-five people died.

One of the persistent myths about measles is that it is a mild childhood illness. It absolutely is not. Not only is it perhaps the most contagious disease known, it can also be lethal. Worldwide, nearly 90,000 people died...

It's a shocking number. Last year, nearly 90,000 people around the world died from measles. This is the same disease that anti-vaxxers mocked as "Mickey Mouse measles" following the Disneyland outbreak, implying that the viral infection isn't serious.

But it is serious. Deadly serious. As recently as the year 2000, more than 500,000 people died from measles every single year. The reason for the dramatic decrease in deaths is because of a concerted global effort to eradicate the virus through vaccination. And it is clearly paying off.

To demonstrate the benefit of vaccination, the CDC calculated the number of deaths that are still occurring worldwide due to measles and the number of deaths that would have occurred had there been no global eradication program from 2000 to...

Measles outbreaks create a lot of fear (and frustration) in people. 

That is, in part, because measles 1) is extremely contagious - one person will spread it to 90% of non-immunized people that they contact 2) can spread quickly in a population that is under-vaccinated 3) can lead to long-term health complications and/or death 4) is completely preventable due to an effective vaccine.

People suffering from measles seems ridiculous, given that the United States declared that measles was eliminated in 2000. 

However, falling vaccination rates in the United States have caused several recent outbreaks. In 2015, a nationwide spread that originated at the Disneyland Resort Theme Parks in California led to 147 cases. From these, there was one reported death - the first...

Even though his original article on the supposed connection between the MMR vaccine and autism has been retracted, and Andrew Wakefield has lost his medical license for his fraudulent data, he continues to spread his poisonous opinions about the supposed dangers of vaccines. And an object lesson about the dangers of listening to such messages is the new outbreak of measles among a Somali community in Minnesota — this follows an earlier one which we wrote about 6 years ago.

Wakefield and other anti-vaccine activists have visited the community, and he has met with the parents of autistic children at least 3 times, according to a recent...

Although there are measles outbreaks occurring all over the world at the moment (sigh), Italy's outbreak is of particular concern. 

This year, the country has reported 1603 measles cases (through April 16th) according to the Ministero della Salute. To put into perspective how above average that number is - there were 840 cases in all of 2016 and 250 in 2015.

Most cases have occurred in people older than 15 (the median age is 27 for people affected.) It is hypothesized that the effects of people not vaccinating their babies 20 years ago are now coming to light in these adults who are susceptible to measles. 

Italy is a hot destination for travelers...

Good news. Important information on vaccines is getting through to Americans – and that's a big win for science and public health in the United States.

New data released today shows that more than eight in ten "support requiring all healthy schoolchildren to be vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella." In addition, an overwhelming number of adults – 88 percent – "believe that the benefits of these inoculations outweigh the risks."

Results of a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center before the November elections show that 82 percent of Americans believe in the benefits of childhood vaccinations. Additionally, the survey revealed that...

When a measles outbreak occurred at Disneyland roughly two years ago, anti-vaccine activists mocked it. They derided the infectious disease, caused by perhaps the most contagious human virus known, as "Mickey Mouse measles." Many claimed that measles is no big deal. As proof, they cited memories of getting measles as a child and recovering.

If only every person was so lucky. The World Health Organization estimates that, in 2015, there were 134,200 deaths caused by measles, or 367 deaths every single day. In 1980, a staggering 2.6 million people died from measles. That is why measles really is a big deal; it's a highly infectious virus that is potentially deadly. And it is why global public health...

Vaccines via shutterstock Vaccines via shutterstock

Perhaps it’s because many of us old enough to make decisions regarding immunizations for our children are also too young to remember what it was like to live through the days of measles, diphtheria or whooping cough, that we make stupid decisions.

Recently, the United States has seen waves of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. A recent JAMA study sought to provide concrete epidemiological evidence for how...

Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 4.00.55 PMOK, everyone, let's take an informal poll.

Do you want to experience the following?

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the area of your liver on your right side beneath your lower ribs
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever
  • Dark urine
  • Joint pain
  • Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

Going out on a limb, I going to guess that the answer is ... no.

These are the symptoms of hepatitis A. It doesn't...

HPV vaccine one-shot now!Although it may seem that when California legislators and governors relate to public health they get it wrong (for example with Proposition 65), but sometimes they really do the right thing. As for example, with vaccinations. The California legislature has passed a law removing the option for parents to refuse vaccinating their kids for philosophical...