UPDATE! (7th May 2013)

Our thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed this out to us. On 3rd May, the website Child Health Safety posted an article that contains some interesting data, straight from the horse's mouth: the Public Health Wales Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre (CDSC).

The article shows that the high numbers of measles cases in Swansea being reported in the UK mainstream media are the 'notified' cases, i.e. those reported by healthcare professionals. In March 2013, for example, 238 measles cases were notified in the Swansea area, while the figure for 1st January to 31st March was 343. By contrast, the number of laboratory-confirmed - i.e. actual - measles cases in Swansea in March 2013 was 3. Yes, three. The overall 2013 tally was 13. Doing a quick bit of maths, that's an overdiagnosis rate of 7930% for March and 2638% for 2013.

Public Health Wales figures show that 1039 cases of measles have been notified in 2013 so far in mid- and west Wales, leading to media suggestions of 'over 1000' cases. It will be interesting to see the lab-confirmed cases for April and May when they become available, as Public Health Wales doesn't see fit to include them on the same page as notifications.

In other words, there is no measles 'epidemic' in Wales. So why is hysteria being manufactured in order to vaccinate as many Welsh citizens as possible?

Let’s keep this short, shall we? The ongoing measles and vaccination hysteria in the UK is unjustified and benefits no-one but the drug companies and government.

It’s measles, not bubonic plague!

Not too long ago, the news that a UK community was living through a measles outbreak would have elicited a collective shrug of the shoulders. An adult reaction to what is, admittedly, a potentially dangerous childhood disease – but one that generations of parents have managed effectively through rational nursing.

Today, it’s easy to forget that these same parents were, until recently, in the habit of throwing ‘measles parties’ to ensure their kids’ lifelong immunity. To study the reaction of the media and officialdom to an ongoing measles outbreak in Swansea, south Wales, anyone would think we were dealing with a resurgence in tuberculosis or bubonic plague – diseases that represent a genuine public health threat to otherwise healthy kids.

Beating the vaccination drum

Of course, the reason given for the outbreak is that insufficient people have been vaccinated for measles, which in the UK in 2013 is exclusively available as the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) triple vaccine on the National Health Service (NHS). Official NHS figures show that MMR takeup rates in the affected areas were below the 95% figure touted as necessary to achieve ‘herd immunity’ against measles, both at 2 years and 5 years of age.

Case closed? Well no, not really. There are a couple of problems with this assertion, one of which – and it’s a biggie – is that ‘herd immunity’ is an unproven theory with its basis in natural immunity, not vaccination. Not only that, but there is a certain inconsistency in the NHS’ presentation of its own data. The Swansea figures show that around 87% of children received two doses of the MMR vaccine by age 5 in 2011–12, a number that has been increasing steadily over the past few years. A map of the same data (Figure 1) confirms this, with Swansea in the ’85.0 to 87.4%’ bracket. This puts Swansea well within the 83–94% vaccine coverage range thought necessary for ‘herd immunity’ against measles by the World Health Organization (WHO) and US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Figure 1. Map of Wales showing uptake of two MMR doses by age 5 in 2011–12. Taken from http://wales.gov.uk/docs/statistics/2012/120828sdr1392012en.pdf.

But never mind all that – it’s all the fault of the non-vaccinators, we’re told, and there’s an MMR catch-up campaign in full swing in Swansea. Somehow, it is deemed 99% effective, even though it’s only been operative for a week. It appears that the UK government is intent on vaccinating every child in the country with MMR, which will make its friends in the pharma industry very happy.

Scapegoating Wakefield again

Not only that, but the media and establishment took the chance to have yet another pop at Dr Andrew Wakefield, whose 1998 research first raised still-unanswered questions over the safety of the MMR vaccine. Wakefield’s measured response to the new round of attacks (transcript here) powerfully brings home the fact that the voices of sanity in this overheated debate are coming from those who question the blanket advocacy of multiple vaccines for all children, for more and more diseases. People like Dr Jayne Donegan, whose article on measles is a must-read for every concerned parent. Hardly coincidentally, Dr Donegan was, like Wakefield, the subject of a General Medical Council witch-hunt – one that fortunately failed.

Natural immunity, anyone?

Nowhere in the mainstream media is the concept of natural immunity being seriously discussed. Effectively, their position is that the human immune system is inherently weak and inefficient, and that without the miracle of vaccines we’re all at the mercy of myriad killer bugs. At this point, it’s apt to quote Dr Donegan’s measles article directly: “Measles outbreaks in unimmunised people tend to be mild in those who do not have underlying medical conditions. In communities which generally do not immunise, the attack rate in infants less than one year of age is low because of protection by the superior maternal antibodies derived from natural infection compared to those derived from vaccination...A study conducted by the Danish epidemiologist Tove Rønneand published in the Lancet in 1985, found that having measles with a typical rash was associated with a lower incidence of developing immunoreactive diseases, sebaceous skin diseases, diseases of bone, cartilage and certain tumours in adult life...”

In short, just as with the incipient bird flu pandemic, the best protection against measles is to boost the immune systems of you and your children, and to know how to nurse measles when it occurs. Our report, The pivotal role for natural products in countering an avian influenza pandemic, contains plenty of ideas, and Dr Donegan’s article has excellent advice on measles nursing.

So before you're tempted to buy into the measles hype, take a pause to read up on the actual stats! And take heart that our bodies do have an innate and intelligent immune system that, when worked with and supported appropriately, rather than being over-burdened, offers us about the best protection we could wish for.

Call to action

  • Measles won't get a foothold if you incorporate more of the immune-boosting nutrients recommended in our report into your diet and lifestyle and those of your kids, along with a healthy, organic, genetically modified (GM) ingredient-free diet and sufficient exercise! And don't forget vitamin D, along with probiotics or fermented foods, such as kombucha, sauerkraut, natto, kimchi or kefir – and reduce that stress!
  • Read up on how to nurse measles in case your kids do come down with it