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Measles: The Most Infectious Disease Known to Science – Why Adults Need an MMR Vaccine Booster

A global fight against measles faces setbacks from vaccine hesitancy, highlighting the need for increased adult vaccination to protect against outbreaks.

Measles, once controlled through widespread vaccination, is resurging due to misinformation and vaccine hesitancy. Efforts to increase adult MMR vaccination aim to restore herd immunity and prevent outbreaks.

Imagine a disease more infectious than any other known to medical science, that would kill 2.6 million young children every year and leave millions more with deafness and even brain damage. It sounds like something from pandemic horror fiction, but such a disease does exist – measles.

Yet even measles was tamed across the world, at least for a while. In the aftermath of the successful eradication of smallpox in the 1970s, a similar global vaccination effort crushed measles mortality from 2.6 million in 1980 down to 73,000 by 2014.

Measles’ R number (the average number of people someone with the virusA virus is a tiny infectious agent that is not considered a living organism. It consists of genetic material, either DNA or RNA, that is surrounded by a protein coat called a capsid. Some viruses also have an outer envelope made up of lipids that surrounds the capsid. Viruses can infect a wide range of organisms, including humans, animals, plants, and even bacteria. They rely on host cells to replicate and multiply, hijacking the cell's machinery to make copies of themselves. This process can cause damage to the host cell and lead to various diseases, ranging from mild to severe. Common viral infections include the flu, colds, HIV, and COVID-19. Vaccines and antiviral medications can help prevent and treat viral infections.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>virus will go on to infect) of 15 or more puts even the most rampant variants of SARS-CoV-2Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the official name of the virus strain that causes coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Previous to this name being adopted, it was commonly referred to as the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), the Wuhan coronavirus, or the Wuhan virus.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>SARS-CoV-2 in the shade. Because of this infectiousness, it’s never been quite possible to achieve eradication, but many countries have been declared measles-free by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This achievement isn’t necessarily permanent, however. The UK was deemed measles-free in 2016 but lost its status just two years later. And now there are rising case numbers across England, with significant outbreaks in London and the west Midlands.

The principal weapon in the war against measles has been the MMR vaccine, rolled out from 1971, which also provides immunity against mumps and rubella – two other viruses with potentially nasty long-term effects.

MMR’s global deployment was perhaps the greatest public health triumph of the last quarter of the 20th century, saving at least 56 million lives by WHO estimates.

Until, in 1998, a spanner was thrown in the works when spurious claims were made in The LancetFounded in 1823 by Thomas Wakley, The Lancet is a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal. It is one of the world's oldest, most prestigious, and best known general medical journals. The journal publishes original research articles, review articles ("seminars" and "reviews"), editorials, book reviews, correspondence, as well as news features and case reports. The Lancet has editorial offices in London, New York, and Beijing. ” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]” tabindex=”0″ role=”link”>The Lancet about a connection between the MMR vaccine and autism. In 2010, the paper was retracted by the journal and its lead author, Andrew Wakefield, struck off from practicing medicine in the UK. But by then, the damage had been done.

Despite numerous studies confirming both the efficacy and safety of MMR, and failing to find any connection whatsoever with autism, many people began to have second thoughts about bringing their children in for vaccination. Vaccine hesitancy had set in, and measles began its insidious return, with global deaths climbing to 136,000 in 2022.

Source: SciTechDaily