Well, it’s finally happened. What I’ve dreaded is finally in my backyard. Measles has come to the Detroit area in the form of a measles outbreak in Oakland County:
A measles outbreak in southeast Michigan has grown to 22 confirmed cases, with one reported in Wayne County, since March 13, local and state health authorities said Tuesday.
Oakland County has 21 cases and Wayne County has one, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
Infected individuals range in age from 11 to 63, officials said.
This is exactly the part of the tri-county area where I would have predicted outbreaks. The reason is that Oakland County is antivax central, and, as I discussed before in the context of discussing a 2018 study that looked at rates of vaccine uptake to predict what areas of the US were most at risk for outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases based on their rates of nonemedical/personal belief exemptions to school vaccine mandates. Guess where one of the “hot spots” reported in the study was?
You guessed it: Oakland County.
According to the news story:
The number of cases surpasses last year’s record. Michigan had 19 cases last year, the highest amount since 1994. Oakland County has a higher amount of vaccine waiver rates, Angela Minicuci, spokeswoman for the state health department said Friday.
None of this is surprising. Of course, the study included all three counties in the metro Detroit area: Wayne County (which includes Detroit and some of its western and southern suburbs), Oakland County (which includes then northern and northwestern suburbs), and Macomb County, which includes the north and northeastern suburbs included Grosse Pointe. Oakland County has all the characteristics of an area with a lot of antivaxers, too. It’s affluent, with a lot of professionals.
Not surprisingly, the biggest antivaccine group in Michigan, Michigan for Vaccine Choice (which I’ve written about before), is based in Troy, which is in Oakland County. When Del Bigtree came to town in 2016 to promote his antivaccine propaganda movie disguised as a documentary, VAXXED, and do some fundraising for antivaccine groups, where did he go? Ferndale. And where is Ferndale? You guessed it! It’s in Oakland County. Where else did they appear? Troy. Yes, you might think that hippy dippy college towns like Ann Arbor are the hotbeds of antivaccine sentiment in Michigan, but in reality it’s suburbs in Oakland and Macomb Counties.
There have also been some fairly high profile cases involving vaccines in Oakland County. Remember, for instance, Elijah Daniel French? I wrote about the case four years ago. Basically, Elijah, unfortunately, was a victim of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Of course, the mother blamed it all on vaccines. As tragic as any death of an infant or toddler is, the scientific evidence does not support a link between vaccines and SIDS.
Another example is a story from 2015 about a mother in Birmingham. Birmingham, for those of you not familiar with the Detroit area, is a suburb of Detroit known for old money and, these days, one of the most hoity-toity downtowns in the state of Michigan. Basically, a mother there was furious after her sixth-grade son was sent home from class today because he wasn’t not fully vaccinated against chickenpox. Revisiting this story, of course, reminds me of the time that my former state senator and representative co-sponsored a bill that would have prohibited schools from keeping unvaccinated children during an outbreak. I kid you not. As recently as 2017 and 2018, my elected representatives were doing their best to make measles great again in Michigan. In fairness, I live in Wayne County, not Oakland County, but the political sentiment to loosen school vaccine mandates is arguably most powerful in Oakland County. Indeed, there’s a reason why a campaign to increase vaccination rates originated in Oakland County after parents lost their child to whooping cough.
It also seems that, whenever there’s a story about antivaxers in Michigan, it’s about antivaxers in Oakland County. Yes, I realize that that could just be confirmation bias on my part, but it doesn’t change the fact that there’s a lot of antivaccine sentiment in Oakland County.
So, measles is in southeast Michigan. What now? I don’t know. However, I fear that we’re only seeing the beginning of what could turn into a huge outbreak. I’m not the only one who thinks so, either:
Wow, this is looking like it might become a pretty big #measles outbreak. Oakland County MI = one of a dozen “hotspot” areas @PLOSMedicine we predicted measles might erupt from low #vaccine coverage. Point being this outbreak was predicted + predictable. https://t.co/4F7nQ8B70e
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) March 26, 2019
I fear for the children in the Detroit area.
70 replies on “Oakland County, Michigan: Measles arrives close to home”
As evil as it sounds, part of me hopes that a number of antivaxxers’ children wind up in Hospital. That might get them to face reality.
The better part of me realises that the children would suffer for their parents’ choice.
I both want antivaxxers to be impacted by the consequences of their decisions, and want to spare their children unneeded suffering. So I’ve decided I just want the antivaxxers to get shingles.
@Terrie, I’ve been wanting that for years, but because I feel particularly vindictive, I want them to get shingles whilst spending 24 hours in an iron lung.
As all these evil physicians and scientists predicted during the past three decades, if the vaccination coverage goes down, the illnesses will come back.
The vaccination coverage went down, and the illnesses are back here.
Yesterday in my corner of the world, 16 cases of measles in a private school in Saint-Tropez- actually 6 confirmed and 11 probable (1 case is from another school).
One of the children is the one who entered Costa Rica last February while sick, re-introducing measles into the country.
Affluent parents, lot of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children in this school. A familiar pattern, isn’t it?
Among the 16 sick children, only one was up-to-date on measles vaccination. To top it, in some cases the family physicians didn’t notify the health services, as required by the law. So plenty more time for the virus to spread. Our useless Ordre des Médecins sent recently a strongly-worded letter to remind their colleagues of the seriousness of the situation. A bit too late.
One mother sent the healthcare workers packing, refusing to answer questions about cousins who may have visited her sick child. I do hope she at least contacted them herself.
Article (in French, sorry)
“Our useless Ordre des Médecins”
I concur most strongly on this assertion.
Measles outbreaks everywhere
I’m afraid the link is broken or obsolete.
But, yes, looking at the news this morning, I noticed measles outbreaks are found everywhere. Madagascar, Russia, Brasil, Poland…
This one should work
It was just reporting on a measles outbreak in Hong Kong with a number of Cathay Pacific staff including flight crew getting measles.
Meanwhile in Poland a 6-year-old girl died because of sepsis, which was a result of chickenpox infection. Unfortunately, in Poland chickenpox vaccine is not mandatory, only recommended, so it means it’s not covered by insurance. So it’s highly probable her parents could not afford the vaccine (it’s expensive) or simply thought that if it is not mandatory, it’s not that important.
Ann Arbor? We have a big hospital here. I thought you’d heard. Actually it’s more like 10 hospitals. I can’t find a list. Then there’s the other two big hospitals. And the research labs. And BIG PHARMA. And Jonas Salk announcing “The Shot Heard Round the World.”
I also noticed the preemptive dig at Ann Arbor, and while I have never visited that city (I have been to Michigan only once, and that because of a missed connection at DTW), in my experience hippy types have gotten priced out of a lot of university towns, and not just on the coasts. That’s no guarantee that those towns will be free of alt-med loons (as Orac has noted in other posts, quackademic medicine is a thing), but the sort of person who seeks out a university town is less likely to be under the illusion that their kids are special snowflakes.
What we have is a number of wealthy mature people with questionable ideas about health care. Some of them do flutter around the fringes at the hospital, and Orac has complained about them. I wouldn’t call them hippies. This is a very expensive place to live. Yes, we have a Birkenstock store. Have you priced Birkenstocks lately?
Lighter note, one of my favorite Ann Arbor memories (before I was born).
The riot for the vaccine.
How bad would it have to get in Michigan before local authorities banned unvaccinated minors from public places, like Rockland County (N.Y.) just did?
I’m anticipating yelps of horror from antivaxers, who’ll probably drag out allusions to yellow badges and the Holocaust.
Ironically, antivaxxers have long claimed that it’s simply a case of people staying home to prevent spread of these illnesses, no vaccines required.
I don’t know how well “yellow badges and the Holocaust” would go over in Rockland because many of its inhabitants are Jewish- Orthodox or not – but I can see anti-vaxxers saying that nevertheless. I think though many of kids who have got measles were from Orthodox schools or Waldorfians. Rockland has a mix of various Jewish communities, hippies and yuppies
as well as ethnic diversity- US Black, Haitian, Jamaican, Central American.
OMFG! I just looked at AoA which calls for “another Passover miracle” for Rockland
Funny how all anti-vaxxers claim they are responsible and keep their sick children at home (yet claim their children are never sick, whatever) and it’s the sickly vaccinated children that are sent to school. Yet here we are when held to isolation, anti-vaxxers are caterwauling about accepting responsibility for their actions even though they have claimed they would voluntarily do so. Yeah right.
Here’s a list of times and places where people may have been exposed to measles.
It’s painfully obvious that the majority involved are Jewish. No Steiner kids unless for some reason they haven’t been in school or they picked it up at Aldi.
Would a Passover miracle be all the vaccinated babies dying? Because that’s about all I can think of…
Christine Rose, well, the 6th plague is “boils” (right after “pestilence of livestock”), so maybe if you squint real hard you could see the measles outbreak as a re-enactment of God’s wrath?
(Why oh why are there several makers of plush ten plague toys?)
Do you ever wonder how much of AoA’ s traffic is people like us just there to read the mad posts? I recon that visiting thoes sites is the internet’s equivalent of slowing down at a traffic accident.?
Do you ever wonder what percentage of AoA’s traffic is people like us who just drop in to read the mad posts? I reckon it’s the internet equivalent of slowing down to gawk at a traffic accident. ?
JustaTech, items representing the plagues are part of Seder observances. The items I’ve seen tend toward the toyish. I agree that plush seems a bit odd, but Seders can drag on, so I guess having something amusing for the kids makes sense.
They’ve already started.
“I’m anticipating yelps of horror from antivaxers, who’ll probably drag out allusions to yellow badges and the Holocaust.”
Since the outbreak is among the Chasidic community, I don’t think that comparison will get much traction with them.
Its all over the AV cult echo chamber, some wag has photoshoped ‘No Vax’ on top of a Holocaust Star of David is the same style the Nazis used, and countless idiots are using for their profile picture.
Words fail me its so disgusting.
It already ballooned really fast. I hope they can contain it, but it doesn’t look good.
Oakland county was also the site of the two family law court cases of parents fighting over whether to vaccinate.
No, it doesn’t. We’ve already had our first case in Wayne County, and given that Macomb County, which is just east of Oakland County, is nearly as rife with antivaxers, I fear that it won’t be long until cases are reported in Macomb County as well.
Add Northern California to the list.
I was on the phone today with a client of mine who is associated with a university health service and has a bunch of RNs on their staff, and I mentioned the NY outbreak topping 150.
She said there are a handful of cases now reported in Northern California, Sonoma County and north of there (presumably Mendocino). I didn’t have time to write down what she said, but you could find the figures easily.
Sonoma is affluent and lefty, Mendocino is economically diverse and anti-government libertarian. The BS is an equal-opportunity destroyer. (The lefties and hippie-sympathizers I know are all good with science-based medicine & up-to-date on their shots.)
Also recently read that a lot of Silicon Valley ultra-richies are sending their kids to the dreaded Waldorf schools because they’re Ayn Rand fans and don’t believe in “government schools.” They are probably thinking that there’s no risk to their kids, who probably have their shots, but what they don’t know about is the small percentage who get their shots but the immunity doesn’t occur.
2019 looks like it’s going to be a bad year for measles outbreaks.
Michigan for Vaccine Choice is predictably silent over this though prolly soon they start lying and saying all the cases are vaccinated or “shedding”. Too bad the folks in the health depts can’t just call them out directly on it.
Yeah, it won’t be long. This outbreak was all over the local news last night and this morning.
I have a question I’m sure one of you knows the answer to: Many “childhood diseases” are much worse for adults than for children. Doesn’t vaccine refusal make it more likely that more adults will get the diseases, since they may not be exposed until later in life? Isn’t that a serious added danger? What diseases are worse for adults?
That’s three questions, but sarcasm aside:
Chicken Pox is known to be worse. My brother in law got vaccinated for it as he never had it as a child. I don’t know about the others.
Chickenpox is horrible in adults. I’ve cared for adults who got sepsis from it. It was awful.
Whooping cough is another disease in adults that is really bad. So is diptheria. I’ve seen the former, not the latter.
Thankfully I’ve never seen a case of measles, mumps or rubella. That’s sheer luck though. We had a mumps outbreak in my area this time last year (Ohio).
The dance to get complications from measles also rises with age
The chance of measles complications (especially SSPE) is also higher in the below 5 group. SSPE’s risk is higher the younger the measles victim is.
My daughter had whooping cough in her late 20s (before we knew that a booster was necessary). When she started a coughing spasm, she learned to either sit down quickly, or just drop to the floor, because she had coughed so hard she had fallen a couple of times. It was really awful, and seemed to last forever and indeed, it was weeks before she was better. She had a young child, who fortunately, had all vaccines up to date.
What needs to “go viral” is cases of children who die or are blinded by measles. With pictures. Way too many people think it’s just a fairly harmless childhood rite-of-passage. People do tons of things to protect their children from rare events (such as abduction), but they are more than willing to risk measles complications? I think mostly they don’t know much about the complications.
“I don’t know how well “yellow badges and the Holocaust” would go over in Rockland because many of its inhabitants are Jewish”
That’s partly the reason I was expecting such rhetoric.
Antivaxers have a history of trying to mobilize sentiment based on ethnic resentments (such as the linkup with the Nation of Islam over the CDC supposedly covering up evidence that vaccination selectively caused autism in black children). Some antivaxers might well figure that Nazi/Holocaust references would appeal to Jews.
Not a winning strategy, but that’s how these people think.
Oh I know.
But anti-vaxxers will say anything to get people to listen to their crap.
Rockland is actually a very nice place- ethnically and economically diverse, well educated ( despite having anti-vaxxers), “artsy” with park land and river views. It has great shopping and a restaurant culture which make me think that the ban on unvaccinated kids makes sense because of these facilities- lots of people shop/ eat along a strip of highway that goes east-west.
Welp. That was the shove I needed to get my titers tested. (I’ll be in MI in May, and my childhood vaccination may not have been effective.)
Make measles great again
Howled my betters with disdain
..Until infected you are
..And share it with others afar
Thus expanding our community of pain.
On the West Coast, California State Senator Pan (the man who introduced SB277 – the bill that limited vaccine exemptions to medical exemptions only, eliminating religious and personal philosophy exemptions) has reportedly introduced a bill that will limit medical exemptions to those approved by the State, abolishing the “I’m a doctor so I can sell you an exemption” business that has seen all too many medical exemptions issued without justification. This would bring CA into line with WV, where I believe someone in the county health department has to sign off on a medical exemption; I don’t know about MS, which is the third state that has only medical exemptions. I haven’t seen details, perhaps Dorit can tell us more. I’d also like to see the California Medical Board taking action against antivax and exemption-selling doctors; but this will do.
Bob Sears has openly mocked the medical board and nothing has happened. CAMB is amazingly spineless
Dr Pan seems to have gutted a bill he wrote earlier this year and amended it into this; see https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB27 . The key features appear to be requiring a surgeon as well as a physician, and that the exemption requires approval by the state department of public health.
Anthony, you mistakenly truncated the link. Here’s what you want:
I am curious about the phrasing “licensed physician and surgeon “.
Does it mean two people need to sign off on the exemption or does it just add another category?
Perhaps Dorit might clarify.
Thank you Anthony and brian.
To squirrelelite below: “licensed physician and surgeon” just translates into doctor (i.e. MD or DO) licensed in the state of California – for probably historic reasons, CA law uses the term “physician and surgeon” rather than just “physician”.
Derek beat me to it.
However, this distinction is important. It explicitly excludes naturopaths, chiropractors, and other alt med types.
It will make it harder for quacks like Jay Gordon or Bob Sears to write medical exemptions. No more internet exemptions. They have to justify the exemption and they can be overruled.
Too many get over ruled, and I bet the medical board starts taking a harder look at them; some accountability at last.
Out here doctors have a MBBS – bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery. I think it reflects the fact that medical doctors graduate with a double major, one in surgery and one in medicine.
OT – well, autism-related, so I guess antivaxer-related.
Just read on a news website that the US budget proposal put forward by Devos is planning to slash a number of programs aimed at supporting special need and disabled children, among others.
p49 here, if i’m correct. I’m not familiar with US programs, it may be ‘just’ two or three items on the whole list.
Most of the special needs $ is from local school budgets. What’s not said is there is a problem about how the money is allocated: a few kids can get $250,000 per annum spent on them, while others who don’t fall into a bureaucratically defined category get nothing for their particular needs, and the kids without a label who are just as much in need of a sound school experience get whatever is convenient.
There’s definitely a need for special programs for the autistic, but even that relatively well-funded category has gotten the clever treatment, as Asperger’s has been officially defined out of existence.
it’s funny that the anti-vaxxers mention Passover which has plagues – usually meaning an infestation ( lice, locusts, frogs) or pestilence- like infectious disease . Which vaccines prevent. The Hebrews marked their fidelity in blood IIRC thus protecting themselves.
It might be easier to use Passover as a symbol for public health and vaccination, taking action in advance to prevent ills, rather than what they suggest
I suppose the “plagues” to be avoided are autism, ADHD, allergies, infertility, death et al.TO THEM anyway.
Antivax continues to get more (largely negative) coverage in the national press. Daily Beast today focuses on RFKJ’s apparently successful efforts to organize and coordinate diverse antivax groups into a politically active national coalition, his group known as Children’s Health Defense.
While RFKJ himself is presumably still some kind of ‘liberal’ (??), plenty of the action (i.e. the money) is coming from the right:
As if anyone needed another reason to despise Ted Cruz.
As to RFKJ’s perfidy:
Facebook, of course, but Amazon? Sheesh… Well, that’s capitalism for ya’. That and Betsy DeVos.
Forgot the Daily Beast link:
“As if anyone needed another reason to despise Ted Cruz.”
He is the considered the least liked Senator by his colleagues. Or, as Samantha Bee called him, “the only unlikable Canadian”.
If you need to know more, check out Sen. Michael Bennet’s takedown from a few weeks ago. Yes, only one T in his name, and it’s on YouTube. Watch the full 25 minute version. Some of the sound drops out because he was so worked up he stood up from his seat without his microphone but he managed to make himself well-heard over all.
OMG – Arizona police had to be called to rescue an unvaccinated child with a high fever (his parents refused proper medical care).
It’s here: the Police State that AoA and Mikey have been warning us about! Remember, parents own the children!!!
Oh, and that state rep Kelly Townsend quoted in the story has called mandatory vaccinations “Communist” and compared them to forced tattoos (obligatory Nazi/Holocaust reference).
More on Mikey:
ON Tuesday, he ranted about Rockland and revealed how it is because of the globalists’ de-population agenda.Forced vaccination which will include the “kill shot” so we’ll get world population down to a more manageable 500 000, not 7 billion.
“Liberal run” states first want to take your guns so it’s easier to come for your children. ( two videos)
Simultaneously, AoA allows Ginger Taylor run on about a possible new law that will remove non-medical exemptions in Maine.
Anti-vaxxers are seemingly aiming for a rightist audience from their rhetoric and catch phrases.
The bizarre thing about the Arizona story is I read it was a Nephropath, not a doctor, who was the one alerting the authorities about the kids being gravely ill with a temp well above 40 C. If that’s true, you know its bad when your crank pretend doctor call in the cavalry to rescue your kid from your stupidity.
Naturopath, but yes that’s correct. I suspect this one is aware of the high profile cases involves deaths and when they suspected meningitis, wanted no part of that kind of attention.
Rep. Townsend is a real piece of work. She pushed legislation requiring warrants to remove kids from homes, and is now complaining that the police didn’t have an emergency because they followed the law and got a warrant.
Not all naturopaths are bad. There are only percentages here, not absolutes. For example, just as there are some anti-vax MDs, there are pro-vax naturopaths. In fact, a naturo from Washington named Elias Kass has been prominent in fighting the outbreak in the Pacific NW, been honored by the CDC for getting reluctant parents to vax their kids, and as a result become one of the prime targets of the AV’s online harassment.
BTW, the death of Ezekial Stephan from meningitis was entirely the responsibility of his scum-bag parents, and it was only errors in reporting that led many to suspect a naturopath’s advice played a roie. In fact, I would guess the vast majority of naturopaths are both knowledgeable enough and caring enough to stay in their lane when confronted with a kid having a fever of 105, and refer the case to the nearest ER.
The problem with naturopathy is there’s no standard of care. Not that MD who do follow a standard are infallible, or without those who have gone to quackery. It’s just that your odds are far better with a ‘real doctor’, IANAP, but I gather a fever that high isn’t exactly a tricky diagnoses. We should expect typical naturos to do the right thing there. It’s other presentations, especially the non-specific symptoms that might or might not be dangerous, and /or might fit some common bogus/mistaken diagnosis –– where naturos might not know where their lanes are –– where things get dicey.
Sorry, sadmar but I have to disagree about naturopaths not being “all bad”.
Nothing about what they do is based in science or evidence. They play at being doctors, and aren’t doctors. They don’t get a pass because they encourage parents to vaccinate their children, or to take obviously sick kids to real doctors.
Human health is too important for dilettantes or incompetents. This is why states began licensing physicians and nurses over 100 years ago: to protect the public.
Dumbest quote of the week from an antivaxer (yes, I know the competition is fierce for this “honor”): Measles “is just a skin rash”.
This person also claimed the only people who get sick from measles are those with immune systems damaged by vaccines.
Irony meter blowout of the week: AoA’s article in which Del Bigtree “fact checks” an interview with Peter Hotez.
@Dangerous Bacon – How in the name of multiple little red dots, does she think people were sick from measles BEFORE vaccines??
@Ellie: No thinking about history is involved. That claim is trolling, which is to say it’s not about ‘truth’ but about defiance. ‘Yes, I will outrage you, and you can’t stop me!!!”
@sadmar, I’m afraid that antivaxxer is almost certainly not trolling. They believe this crap. They start from the premise that “vaccines are bad”, and then use any argument they can, even obviously false (to us) ones, to prop that premise up.
@Julien Trolling isn’t a question of whether the commenters believe what they post or not. The whole purpose of posting on an opponent’s site is to express defiance, militance, etc. As you say, AV activists “start from the premise that ‘vaccines are bad'”. They just KNOW that. They don’t need to prop themselves up with any kind of argument. Nor are they concerned to prop up an argument that will appeal to the uncommitted. Not with crap like “the only people who get sick from measles are those with immune systems damaged by vaccines”. No, the only place that prop is going is into DB’s ribs. Which leads the other AVs to do virtual high-fives, ‘Yeah, that stuck ’em a good one!”
This is basically the modus operendi of all denialism, most readily on display in the the Trumpist entires in threads on news sites…
I saw the above-mentioned comments by the antivaxer in an online commentary on a book review. They weren’t directed at me.
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