Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:


Measles: alarming worldwide surge seriously threatens children, says UN

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 01 March 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l981

Rapid Response:

Information and Misinformation: the Global Health Security Agenda

These trends in global politics [1] (and most particularly Italy) simply cannot be talked about without reference to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) which never gets to be mentioned in the mainstream news media. It is hopeless to lament the election of a right wing government in Italy divorcing it from the appointment of Italy and its erstwhile centre-left government to head the GHSA in 2014 [2], leading it to push vaccine compulsion. This, as a matter of record: it began in the White House [3] and was enshrined in Barack Obama's executive order of 4 November 2016 [4].

It is conceivable that the public would be less resistant to concern about measles if the quid pro quo was not in effect surrendering the right to refuse whatever vaccine products a government bureaucracy might choose to nominate, now or in the future.

Nor is it helpful to cite random "facts" about measles [1]. For instance, in Brazil, how many of the 10,262 cases for 2018 were confirmed? Is it really possible to believe there were no cases in 2017? How far is any of this real, and how much an artefact of simply looking? Brazil is a country of approximately 210m, so how many "red rashes" which might have been measles [5] did not get reported in 2017?

It is not good enough to leave it to national or global bureaucracies to decide what truth is: not in the past, not now. There is no global emergency requiring this departure.

[1] Owen Dyer, 'Measles: alarming worldwide surge seriously threatens children, says UN' BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 01 March 2019)

[2] John Stone, 'Re: MEPs devise strategy to tackle vaccine hesitancy among public -Echoes of WMD', 26 March 2018,

[3] 'Italia capofila per le strategie vaccinali a livello mondiale',

[4] Executive Order 13747, 'Advancing the Global Health Security Agenda to Achieve a World Safe and Secure From Infectious Disease Threats',

[5] WHO 'Measles – Brazil 'Disease outbreak news 11 June 2018, see figure 1,

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 March 2019
John Stone
UK Editor
London N22