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The Sciences

Wow! Measles outbreaks eliminated in Australia!

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitFebruary 16, 2009 10:13 AM

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This is incredible: Australia has eliminated the risk of large measles outbreaks for the next few years. At least, this is the prediction based on past cases, and by lowering the age for children to get the second inoculation from four years old to 18 months. In 2005 and 2007, Australia had less than one case per million people. 2006 had an uptick with 6 cases per million, but half those cases are claimed to be attributed to an "outbreak linked to the tour of a foreign spiritual group". Spiritual group, eh? Hmmm. Antivaxxers? Bet on it. So it's predicted that large outbreaks will be eliminated. They'll have fewer than 100 cases per year across the continent, and those will be due to unvaccinated foreigners, who love to ruin everyone's day. The key here is to maintain the number of people getting the second shot, so that herd immunity rules the day and outbreaks are minimized or eliminated. Australians continue to amaze me. They do seem to be infected with our own nuttiness -- creationism is getting a toehold there, for example, and homeopathy is a plague -- but in general they seem to be a pragmatic and bonzer group of blokes. Australia: good on ya!

Tip o' the syringe to Dr. Joe Albietz.

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