Dr. Binyamin Rothstein, D.O.

Considering the recent outbreaks of measles, it is important to put things into perspective.

Measles is a viral infection that spreads easily through coughing and sneezing. It was typically known as a “self-limited, usual childhood disease”. Since the onset of the MMR vaccine, the disease is virtually unknown, with occasional outbreaks in unvaccinated or non-responder populations. In the previous century, with poor healthcare, poor nutrition, and inadequate sanitation, measles outbreaks could result in death in about 14 in 100,000 children. Deaths were and still are, usually due to poor nutrition, Vitamin A deficiency, poor hygiene, severe stress, or immunosuppression. A recent report revealed that so far, in 2018, there were over 41,000 reported cases of measles in Europe with 37 deaths. (Bear in mind that since the reported number of cases of measles represent only about 10% of the actual cases of measles, which means there were 37 deaths per 410,000 cases.) By means of contrast, in 2015, in the US, 5,376 people died crossing the street. For 99.999% of children, measles is an inconvenience for about a week with low-grade fever, aches and pains, and a rash. In contrast, the reported side effects of the MMR range from ear infections to auto-immune diseases to Autism and Autism spectrum diseases (ASD).

Notice in the following chart that the death rate from measles in the US declined from a high of 14 per 100,000 to less than 0.5 per 100,000 more than 10 years before the vaccine came out and the death rate has remained about the same.


The incidence of the disease, however has decreased substantially, beginning with the vaccine.


The question remains, with the already negligible mortality rate prior to vaccination (less than 5 per million) how necessary is the vaccine? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to promote good health practices in our population than to compel vaccines on an unwilling population that is concerned about vaccine side-effects?

For those who have not been vaccinated, have not responded to vaccination, do not want to get vaccinated, or have not had a booster, the best prevention is Vitamin A. (Vitamin A is also a known treatment for measles.) The dose is 200,000 to 400,000 units once every 6 months, which comes out to less than a drop of the liquid formula. It is oral, so you just swallow it and several studies have shown a protective effect against measles or at the very least will lessen the severity . (In addition, it is my experience with over 20 years of practice that you are also protected from getting the flu for the entire flu season.) It is safe for children and adults but is not safe for women who are or who might get pregnant within 2 months as it may cause birth defects in the developing fetus.

[1] Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD001479. Vitamin A for treating measles in children. D'Souza RM1, D'Souza R.