Four weeks ago, on March 20th, we reported (HERE) that the Disneyland measles outbreak was (unofficially) over based on the last new measles infection reported by The California Department of Public Health (CDPH). We predicted that the onset of that last measles rash was March 2nd, based on a viral spread that probably occurred around February 20th. CDPH subsequently confirmed that estimate. A week later, we reported on the last case from that outbreak (a case with an earlier onset but delayed detection) had entered the CDPH tallies.
In their March 20th report, CDPH made the following statement
“The outbreak will be considered over when 42 days have elapsed from the end of the infectious period of the last known B3 measles cases that was a not a new importation. As of today, that date will be April 17, 2015.”
Today, April 17th, no new measles cases have been found in California (the new measles case outside of California was reported on March 3rd). CDPH has now made our unofficial prediction official.
In California, 40 individuals came down with measles based on a visit to the Disneyland theme park between December 17th and 20th. An additional 41 individuals were closely connected to those park visitors, either through household exposure or close personal exposure in a community setting. Not directly linked, but presumed linked were another 50. Everyone recovered. No one died. Some went to a hospital but as far as we know these individuals had no lasting effects.
Public health officials are now busy taking credit for the end of the outbreak. The Associated Press cited unnamed doctors who said “the outbreak could have been worse if it wasn't for the aggressive public health response, which included tracking down thousands of people potentially exposed to measles-stricken patients and isolating the sick until they were no longer contagious.”
Perhaps. But the outbreak of hysterical media coverage around the outbreak and the associated epidemic of state bills couldn’t have been much worse. The only thing that could have made the hype any more intense was if a death occurred. Many wondered privately if at least a few public health officials were rooting for at least one tragedy to strengthen their case.
As it turned out, the more meaningful response elicited by the outbreak may have been the widespread public mobilization across the country to defend vaccine exemption rights, in states from Oregon to North Carolina to Vermont. This week in the state where the outbreak was centered, over a thousand parents showed up to express their opposition on the record to California State Senator Richard Pan’s bill, SB277, which would decimate parental rights to opt out of vaccine mandates of any kind. Long-time Sacramento residents say they’ve never seen anything like it.
Mark Blaxill is Editor-At-Large for Age of Autism and the author of threel books including The Age of Autism Mercury Medicine and a Man made Epidemic and Vaccines 2.0.