This Thursday, the CDC announced that measles cases in the U.S. have tripled in 2013. The national average is usually about 60 cases a year, whereas in 2013 there have been 175 cases so far.

Three high-profile stories were tied to the outbreak: In March of this year, 58 cases were reported in an Orthodox Jewish community that refused vaccinations; A megachurch in Texas that is known for preaching anti-vaccination views was tied to at least 20 cases; in a Hare Krishna community in North Carolina that was largely unvaccinated, at least 23 cases were reported.

The CDC makes it clear that all the outbreaks are directly related to people choosing not to vaccinate.

In the years before the U.S. vaccination program started in 1963, about 500 people died from measles every year. Tens of thousands more were hospitalized. Today, that number has dropped to almost zero directly as a result of vaccines.

The current wave of anti-vaccine hysteria can be traced back to a single study that appeared in the Lancet medical journal — a study that was outright debunked in the science world.

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In a 2011 issue of BMJ (the British Medical Journal), investigative reporter Brian Deer slammed the infamous Lancet study linking vaccines to autism as fraudulent, pointing out that key facts were distorted to support the autism link.

The 15 year-old study claimed that 8 children developed “regressive autism” after getting a combination of vaccines to prevent mumps and rubella. The study was led by Andrew Wakefield, a British doctor who had his license revoked in May of 2011 as a result of “serious professional misconduct.”

It was well known that Wakefield’s conclusions were questionable from the beginning. But the Lancet study is now widely believed to be the source of what eventually sparked widespread anti-vaccination paranoia — now being blamed for the recurrence of diseases that were once brought under control by the proper vaccinations.