Marco Cáceres di Iorio

The Measles Hysteria

The hysteria being fueled by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), pharmaceutical industry insiders like Dr. Paul Offit, and the media over the current measles “epidemic” in the United States is akin to the hysteria about ISIS. Every day, stories in the newspapers and magazines, and on TV and radio programs, give the impression that ISIS and “radical Islamic terrorism” (… there, I said it… happy?) in general is the most dangerous security threat since Nazi Germany, and measles are the greatest health threat since the plague.

With regard to measles, let’s look at the numbers. Here’s what the CDC says:

Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia. One out of 1,000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain, and about one out of 1,000 will die.

Carefully, allow these numbers to sink in. Out of 1,000 people who contract measles, one will die and one will suffer inflammation in the brain. That comes out to about, oh… 0.002%. When was the last time someone in the United States actually died of measles? Well, in an Associated Press article picked up by Fox News on April 25, 2014, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, was quoted as saying, “There has been no measles deaths reported in the US since 2003.”

So unless someone’s died from measles in this country during the past 10 months, there have been no deaths reported for more than a decade.

What about those people who come down with measles and suffer much less severe consequences — the 6-20%? They’ll get “an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia.” Read the warning label on the box of any number of prescription medications, and you’ll see that the common side effects are infinitely scarier than any ear infection, diarrhea, or pneumonia. The hysteria over measles is unwarranted.

If Americans want to get hysterical over a health threat, there are plenty of other places to look, starting with the more than 70% of us who are overweight, or the more than 35% of us who are obese. Are you kidding me? Now that’s what you call a truly worthy epidemic. About 30 million Americans have diabetes. One in 50 American children have autism or an autism spectrum disorder. An estimated 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. Some 10,000 children in the US are killed or injured by guns each year.

The list goes on and on, and note that these problems are all on the rise; they’re getting worse every year. That’s something to get hysterical about, because these real epidemics are unsustainable for much longer.

Each of these epidemics is a national disaster spiraling out of control, and they’re not getting the public attention or government research funding they deserve, partly because they are being overshadowed by stuff like the Disneyland measles outbreak, which has thus far accounted for a grand total of just over (… loud drum roll…) 140 reported cases — in a country of about 320 million people.

A modicum of sanity, please.

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