You are on page 1of 6

Who is right about measles - vaccine sceptics or proponents?

Measles data 1940 to 2008


Notifications
1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983

409,521
409,715
286,341
376,104
158,479
446,796
160,402
393,787
399,606
385,935
367,725
616,182
389,502
545050
146,995
693,803
160,556
633,678
259,308
539,524
159,364
763,531
184,895
601,255
306,801
502,209
343,642
460,407
236,154
142,111
307,408
135,241
145,916
152,578
109,636
143,072
55,502
173,361
124,067
77,363
139,487
52,979
94,195
103,700

Comments
Total
Deaths
857
1,145
458
773
243
729
204
644
327
307
221
317
141
242
45
174
28
94
49
98
31
152
39
127
73
115
80
99
51
36
42
28
29
33
20
16
14
23
20
17
26
15
13
16

Deaths %
0.21
0.28
0.16
0.21
0.15
0.16
0.13
0.16
0.08
0.08
0.06
0.05
0.04
0.04
0.03
0.03
0.02
0.01
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.03
0.01
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.01
0.03
0.01
0.02
0.02
0.02
0.03
0.01
0.02

Vaccine sceptics suggest


measles cases have decreased
at a rate corresponding to
improvements in sanitary
conditions and nutrition.
They also claim that the
decrease in notifications of
measles cases over time is not
as steep as the data shows. It
is not as steep mainly due to:
- overdiagnosis of measles
prior to the introduction of
the vaccine (in 1966) and to
diagnosis by laboratory
testing (from 1996), and to
- underdiagnosis of measles
after the introduction of the
vaccine up to laboratory
testing (1966 to 1996).
Sceptics say diagnoses
methods tilt the data in favour
of vaccine proponents
(however consciously this
happens). Well, could
diagnoses methods have
something to do with the
decline?
Two observations might
support that diagnoses
methods play some role:
- during II World War and
immediately after, reported
cases were much fewer than
in the 1950s. Could that be
due to less stringent reporting
under/just after the war?
- in 1996 there is a quite sharp
drop in notifications. Could
that be due to introduction of
diagnosis by laboratory
testing?
You can argue both ways: Yes,
the sharp decline in cases is
due to the vaccine; or no, the

1984
62,079
10
1985
97,408
11
1986
82,054
10
1987
42,158
6
1988
86,001
16
1989
26,222
3
1990
13,302
1
1991
9,680
1
1992
10,268
2
1993
9,612
4
1994
16,375
0
1995
7,447
1
1996
5,614
0
1997
3,962
3
1998
3,728
3
1999
2,438
3
2000
2,378
1
2001
2,250
1
2002
3,232
0
2003
2,488
0
2004
2,356
1
2005
2,089
0
2006
3,705
1
2007
3,670
1
2008
5,088
2
Source: Office for National Statistics

0.02
0.01
0.01
0.01
0.02
0.01
0.01
0.01
0.02
0.04
0.00
0.01
0.00
0.08
0.08
0.12
0.04
0.04
0.00
0.00
0.04
0.00
0.03
0.03
0.04

the sharp decline in cases is


due to the vaccine; or no, the
sharp decline is the result of
* 2008 is provisional data
poor diagnoses methods,
meaning that the actual
decline is much more smooth
and "natural".
Note, by the way, the decline
in deathrate (deaths per
hundred notifications).
Sceptics would say that this
decline also reflects changes
in diagnosis methods over
time. The more correct
diagnosis, the lower the death
rate is.

So, what do you think?


posted by Hans andersen
email: hgna@icloud.com