The messy measles in Wales and Nigeria

Anti-vaccine activists will tell you that “vaccines didn’t save us” or that it was advances in hygiene and sanitation that caused the decline of what we in the real world call vaccine-preventable diseases. Yes, it is very possible that hygiene and sanitation have prevented some VPDs, but not all VPDs, and not the majority of VPDs. Proof? Look at what is happening in Wales right now.

“Public health officials say confirmed measles cases have risen to 588 in the south Wales outbreak, which is centered on Swansea. The latest figure shows 47 new cases of the disease since Wednesday, although this is less than half the increase of the previous week.”

In case you’re geologically geographically challenged, Wales is part of the United Kingdom on the island known as Great Britain. It is part of the European Union. In short, it’s not the Third World. According to the CIA World Factbook:

“The UK, a leading trading power and financial center, is the third largest economy in Europe after Germany and France.”

Yeah, they’re well off, and their hygiene and sanitation services must be pretty good as well. (Although, to be fair, I’ve never been to Wales.) Nevertheless, we have that huge outbreak of measles in Wales. Why? Continue reading