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What If The Measles Epidemic Was Global? | Unveiled

December 11, 2019

What if the Measles Outbreak Was Worldwide? Thanks to increasingly advanced science and
medicine, we’ve prevented and almost eradicated various deadly contagions that have historically
killed millions of people. But even the best science isn’t foolproof,
and outbreaks of old diseases we thought we’d conquered may indicate a backwards step. This is Unveiled, and today we’re answering
the extraordinary question; what if the measles outbreak was worldwide? Are you a fiend for facts? Are you constantly curious? Then why not subscribe to Unveiled for more
clips like this one? And ring the bell for more fascinating content! In the year 2000, the Centers for Disease
Control – the CDC – declared measles was completely eradicated in the United States. Fast forward to 2019, though, and by late
April it had already become the worst year for measles outbreaks since 1994. Within four months, the number of measles
cases in the US doubled on figures for the whole of 2018, with similar trends seen in
Europe. The US has an estimated 2.5 million unvaccinated
children, while European countries including Serbia and Ukraine also post extremely high
rates of measles infection. In the US, the Pacific Northwestern Measles
Outbreak is the worst offender, but there have been reports of other major outbreaks
in Rockland County, Brooklyn, and parts of Texas and Arizona. The main cause of the influx in measles cases
is the anti-vaccine movement gaining traction in both Europe and North America, which the
World Health Organization listed as one of the top 10 global health threats of 2019. A major catalyst for the movement was a study
from 1998 carried out by struck-off and discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield who, from a sample
of only 12 people, drew a false link between vaccines and autism. Despite zero scientific evidence for this
and Wakefield having his medical license revoked, the study sparked fears in parents and has
slowly led to more and more children not getting vital vaccinations as infants. Since 2001, the number of children under the
age of two who aren’t getting the MMR vaccine – which also protects against mumps and
rubella – has quadrupled in the US, with similar results in Europe. The measles vaccine is needed to create herd
immunity (a widespread resistance across an entire population), with a minimum of 95%
of people needing to be vaccinated for it to work. But, Wakefield’s misguided warning plus
fears about vaccines giving other adverse side-effects, especially anaphylactic shock,
have spurred many parents to refuse to have them administered. It’s a deadly situation because it puts
those who can’t be vaccinated – that is, new-born babies, people with autoimmune disorders,
and those who do have adverse reactions to vaccines – at huge risk were they to contract
measles. The threat levels even for those who are vaccinated
have also increased. And, while the effectiveness of the jab is
as high as 97%, the contagion is still unpleasant and highly infectious. But there have been various versions of the
jab, and immunity wanes over time. Those vaccinated before 1989 – going back
to the original vaccine’s introduced in 1963 – are encouraged to seek medical advice
about being re-vaccinated. Second vaccinations may be a key first step
in curbing a worldwide outbreak, serving to essentially ‘top up’ our herd immunity. In fact, even those who got the jab after
1989 should double-check with their doctor that they’re up to date. Regardless, measles remains a deadly and very
common threat in developing countries, particularly across Asia and Africa. Even in a world where vaccines are available,
it’s estimated that roughly 20 million people contract measles every year, and around 100,000
of them die, primarily unvaccinated children. In the case of a global contagion, unfortunately
it’d be young children and babies at the highest risk. Even when measles sufferers survive it can
lead to other serious and equally fatal conditions like pneumonia and meningitis. In a worldwide catastrophe, we’d see general
disease and sickness on the rise and infant mortality rates skyrocketing to levels comparable
to before modern medicine. We only need to glance at deadly past cases
to see what an outbreak in the future could look like. First described in the 9th century by a Persian
doctor, measles didn’t affect areas outside of Europe and Asia until the 1500s, when European
colonists invaded the Americas. It was just one of many diseases the settlers
brought with them, with devastating effects. Upwards of 50% of the Native American population
may have been wiped out because of European diseases, and as recently as 1951 a Danish
traveller mistakenly brought measles to an isolated settlement in Greenland. The result was a 99.9% infection rate, with
only 5 of the 4,262 natives showing no signs of illness. The last major measles outbreak in the Americas
was in 1997 in Sao Paulo, where there were 42,000 recorded cases. But, it’s feared that similarly severe outbreaks
could be close for as long as the number of unvaccinated children continues to rise. Quarantines are usually the first method employed
when trying to contain any contagion. For example, in a 2007 measles outbreak in
Tokyo, schools and colleges were closed to avoid it spreading. If the problem in the US worsens, then screening
methods could soon be put in place to at least try and control it. In April 2019, in Rockland Country New York,
unvaccinated children were barred from public spaces. It’s also been suggested that unvaccinated
kids shouldn’t attend school, while in some countries there are already various jobs where
vaccinations are compulsory for all workers. In a worst-case scenario, we’d also see
strict regulations when crossing borders between countries, as every airport in the world vets
for vaccines. But, there are ongoing ethical concerns here
as well, as we could then see a world where unvaccinated children are forced into isolation. Mandatory vaccines are common in lots of European
countries, but efforts to force parents in the US into vaccinating their sons and daughters
haven’t always been well-received – with claims it would violate personal freedom. Regardless, mandatory jabs have proven to
work well as a short-term solution to other epidemics – ensuring a lot of people are immunised
quickly. So, it could simply become a law and order
matter, with governments enforcing vaccinations – no exemptions, no opting out. It’d be another controversial move, made
in an increasingly tense and active situation. No matter how fast or firm the response was,
though, should measles become a global epidemic, it would result in hundreds-of-thousands possibly
millions of people dying. The 100,000 deaths a year current figure would
quickly spike upwards, not least because the doctors and nurses striving to stop the outbreak
could be most at risk of an incredibly infectious condition. With hospitals turning into hotbeds, even
the best medical care could fall short, because the unsettling reality is that measles doesn’t
have a standard ‘cure’. Much like the various strains of the ‘common
cold’, the body needs to fight it off for itself. Which is why the anti-vax movement is so dangerous,
because that’s so much harder to do if you aren’t immunized. A measles outbreak would be a huge backwards
step away from so many medical advancements made over centuries. It’d be history repeating itself in terms
of human suffering, only this time it’d be in-part the consequence of a choice not
to vaccinate. Perhaps, in the long-term, it’d convince
people to once again trust the MMR jab. But, not before some very dark times. And that’s what would happen if the measles
outbreak was worldwide. What do you think? Is there anything we missed? Let us know in the comments, check out these
other clips from Unveiled, and make sure you subscribe and ring the bell for our latest


  • Reply Alistair jones May 2, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    We must use unvaccinated children as sacrifices to Apollo and
    Asclepius, it's the only way to stem the tide of infection.

  • Reply Kami Tenchi May 2, 2019 at 5:56 pm

    I commit suicide.

  • Reply Unveiled May 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    What do you think? Could the measles virus become a global epidemic?

  • Reply ItsClemenceau May 2, 2019 at 6:28 pm

    i'd say anti-vax jokes are unoriginal now but, they never get old.

  • Reply Rachel Light May 2, 2019 at 6:31 pm

    FYI;infected is infected no matter how u get it; either u get the vaccine or not, ur still infected and can still spread it to others both ways with vaccine or naturally. Ur damned both ways.

  • Reply Ali107 May 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    It's all Karen's Fault!

  • Reply Archaeoptery X May 2, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    I had it when I was four. It wasn't considered a big deal at all

  • Reply Goldy Lime May 2, 2019 at 7:45 pm

    Anti-Vax parents need to go back to fifth grade

  • Reply Elvir Smajlovic May 2, 2019 at 8:05 pm

    We would all be dead just like they all died before 😉

  • Reply Cartier231 May 3, 2019 at 12:04 am

    What If Humans used 100% of their brain?

  • Reply Zukos Honor May 3, 2019 at 12:33 am

    Im gonna go play some plague inc now

  • Reply CARLOS A SOSA May 3, 2019 at 3:36 am

    It is a big problem in Mexico with the Central Americans entering in masses , eventually if not yet, North America the US will suffer the consecuens

  • Reply Aquamarine May 3, 2019 at 5:12 am

    Too bad there is no vaccine for dumb.

  • Reply Darrell Ray Hunt May 3, 2019 at 7:43 am

    seriously, too fucking many needles think about how this can be so offensive that I never watch another unveiled video ever! Idiots!

  • Reply username May 5, 2019 at 12:03 am

    If anti-biotic resistant bacteria are becoming a thing then why don't vacine resistant viruses happen?

  • Reply Coastal Gardener May 12, 2019 at 3:36 am

    You can't stop crazy.

  • Reply Jwb52z May 13, 2019 at 2:02 am

    We cannot allow people who are afraid of something bad happening to their children in trying to prevent something we know is deadly or at least physically debilitating to endanger others simply because of fears of autism, which isn't the end of the world.

  • Reply Kaylea Fisher May 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm

    This video has misinformation. The cdc never declared measles eradicated. Never.

  • Reply Sore Knees May 22, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Help, i got it like 4 days ago should I wait for it to go away on its own?

  • Reply superdupergrover May 27, 2019 at 12:59 am

    That damn study. >(

  • Reply Peter Coleman September 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Bill Gates again.

  • Reply Kane Andedu November 20, 2019 at 9:02 pm

    I’m the USA we believe in natural selection! If you don’t get vaccinated that’s natural selection.

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