Measles Outbreak

704 Measles cases for this year were reported on April 30th. It is likely to climb much higher. More than 40,000 cases were reported in Europe in the first 6 months of 2018.

Related article: NY Times: Should Adults Get a Measles Booster Shot?

Related blog posts:

8 thoughts on “Measles Outbreak

    • I have not been doing this. If children have received all of their immunizations, this offers a high level of protection for measles (per CDC: Two doses of MMR vaccine are 97% effective against measles). In addition, to this point, there have been very few cases in Georgia.

  1. What’s the most rational claim you ever heard “moderate” antivaxxer give to oppose MMR vaccination? Not talking about rabid MRR-causes-autism crowd, but talking about the most rational end of the spectrum opposing MMR vaccination.

    Just curious to know your take on that.

    • I have not heard a rational reason to avoid MMR vaccine. In medicine, we try to compare the risks and benefits in making decisions. The protection that vaccination offers to individuals and their communities (some of whom cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons like young age or immunocompromise) is an important benefit and in my view, far outweighs the risks.

      • I understand what you are saying all too well. I just wish to point out that you misunderstood me: I was wondering about the most “rational claim”, not a “rational reason to avoid MMR vaccine”. I understand that science evaluates risk/benefit of individual medical acts. I’m just wondering what is “most rational claim” that pushes up the risk part of that balance. Not more, nor less.

        In science, you’re supposed to evaluate what are the strongest claims against your case (not only the ones in favor of your case). I’m therefore wondering what is the strongest claim against the MMR vaccination.

      • More than one month has elapsed since my post.

        I must say I’m still looking for a pro-vaccination advocate that is willing to engage in discussing with rabid antivaxxers in the most rational fashion. The closest I found from that description is Didier Raoult in France. Unfortunately, it still is in the rhetorical mode “I assert my opinion” and not “I discuss why my opponents make irrational claims in a civil debate”.

        Curious to see how medicine will grow out of this culture, if it ever will.

      • This blog is focused mainly on issues related to pediatric gastroenterology. Since pediatric GIs are trained as pediatricians and many of our patients are more susceptible to infections, articles about vaccines are of interest to those who follow this blog. That being said, there are many others who are experts on vaccines and parental vaccine resistance (like Paul Offit). And they may provide greater insight.

        I have noted on a previous post, “Parental Immunity (to Education) and Vaccine Decision-Making,” how ‘people frequently resist information that contradicts their views, such as corrective information— for example, by bringing to mind reasons to maintain their belief — and in some cases actually end up believing it more strongly as a result.’ That is, many people are reluctant to change their views no matter the evidence presented to them. And, individuals with stronger intellectual backgrounds have been shown to be more adept at finding alternative rationales if their original rationale for rejecting a vaccine is challenged.

      • “This blog is focused mainly on issues related to pediatric gastroenterology. Since pediatric GIs are trained as pediatricians and many of our patients are more susceptible to infections, articles about vaccines are of interest to those who follow this blog.”

        I understand your position and your rationale. I’m just trying to find places where rational discussion occur. The state of the “debate” is appalling. And I find none.

        (I won’t comment anymore on this thread after this post).

        “That being said, there are many others who are experts on vaccines and parental vaccine resistance (like Paul Offit). And they may provide greater insight.”

        I’ve seen Paul Offit on numerous videos. Not one is a “debate”. It’s only “communication”. In the end, the only real argument boils down to “I know better” and “you should fear infectious diseases”. That won’t cut it.

        Only debate is a “virtual” debate: “Haley vs Offit: A Virtual Debate”. That’s pathetic.

        “That is, many people are reluctant to change their views no matter the evidence presented to them.”

        It’s because of the way the evidence is presented. That’s why “debates” would be useful. There are lots of epistemological issues, like the proper way to hierarchize various facts of different nature (toxicology vs. epidemiology), and various statistical tools, like survival analysis to explain. As things currently stand, the way evidence is presented unfortunately is through “arguments from authority”. They’re not inherently fallacious, but if they’re practically unquestionable, people will reject them.

        https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10410236.2013.831685

        We need good debaters, with good rhetorical skills, and a good mastery of epistemology more than a mastery of the medical topic at hand (which would also be required).

        “And, individuals with stronger intellectual backgrounds have been shown to be more adept at finding alternative rationales if their original rationale for rejecting a vaccine is challenged.”

        That’s true. I experience it in many areas when I try to explain a few things. Doesn’t change the fact that debates are necessary. Because people do evolve over time. Experts just won’t cut it if they continue like this. The situation will just get worse.

        And it’s not just vaccines. Far. From. It. That’s why a change of mentality from medical doctors is required.

        And even if the evidence presented by the medical world is not as convincing as we believe it should be, we should also educate the public as to what it means to engage into public policies in a state of uncertainty about the data. Health authorities do that all time, so we should be upfront about it.

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