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Measles cases at highest point since 2006 as outbreaks continue to spread

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5141 (Published 13 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5141

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Re: Measles cases at highest point since 2006 as outbreaks continue to spread

I read the letter of Jessica Omassoli and her fellow students [1] with interest, but I wonder whether trust in the medical profession is not also dependent on listening to patients or their families if something goes wrong with a prescribed medical product -and despite the assurances of medical professionals manifestly things can go wrong even on the basis of what we can read from package inserts [2], which under the provisions of the Montgomery ruling should be made known before being administered [3]. Given that the Montgomery ruling was only in 2015 I am not sure that concept of informed consent is that outdated. I also wonder about the scientific soundness of extrapolating from the case of Andrew Wakefield - even supposing he had a fair hearing [4].

Meanwhile, I am bemused by the government/media narrative that the United Kingdom has meaningfully lost some pristine status conferred on it by the World Health Organisation [5]. If we look at government data confirmed measles cases in 2017 and 2018 (284, 991) were higher than in 2014 and 15 (122, 92) [6]. In the case of 2018 I detected an anomaly in the data which still has to be explained [7], and I can only repeat my recent criticism of the apparent lack of control in the WHO's global data (which remains undefended) [8].

There is also very considerable doubt whether even 100% uptake could eradicate measles due to waning vaccine effectiveness, well documented [9].

[1] Jessica A Omassoli, Amber Jennifer Sara Moore, Charlotte Rachel Valentine, Katherine Joanne Lewis, 'Re: Measles cases at highest point since 2006 as outbreaks continue to spread', 22 August 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5141/rr-0

[2] John Stone, 'Re: NHS chief attacks anti-vax “fake news” for falling uptake', 2 April 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l1000/rr-8

[3] Noel Thomas, 'Re: NHS chief attacks anti-vax “fake news” for falling uptake', 6 March 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l1000/rr-0

[4] John Stone, 'Re: A tale of two vaccines and the "spectre of Andrew Wakefield", 22 October 2018, https://www.bmj.com/content/363/bmj.k4152/rr-22

[5] Elisabeth Mahase, 'Measles cases at highest point since 2006 as outbreaks continue to spread'
BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5141 (Published 13 August 2019)

[6] 'Research and analysis :Confirmed cases of measles, mumps and rubella in England and Wales: 1996 to 2018
Updated 22 July 2019', Public Health England, https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measles-confirmed-cases/confi...

[7] John Stone, 'Re: Measles: Europe sees record number of cases and 37 deaths so far this year' 11 September 2018, https://www.bmj.com/content/362/bmj.k3596/rr-29

[8] John Stone, 'What controls are there on this data?', 15 August 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/366/bmj.l5141/rr

[9] John Stone, 'Measles vaccination has substituted one problem for another', 20 June 2019, https://www.bmj.com/content/365/bmj.l2359/rr-19

Competing interests: No competing interests

23 August 2019
John Stone
UK Editor
AgeofAutism.com
London N22