Most of would like to think that diseases like measles and whooping cough are a thing of the past. But thanks to the rising sentiment against vaccines from the past decade fueled by pseudoscience and charlatans, these diseases are making a comeback in Europe and even the U.S.
An interactive map released by the Council on Foreign Relations shows how diseases easily prevented by vaccines have made a comeback over the last several years.
According to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, two trends have clearly emerged:
Measles has surged back in Europe, while whooping cough is has become a problem here in the U.S. Childhood immunization rates plummeted in parts of Europe and the U.K. after a 1998 study falsely claimed that the vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella was linked to autism.
That study has since been found to be fraudulent. But fears about vaccine safety have stuck around in Europe and here in the U.S. Viruses and bacteria have taken full advantage of the immunization gaps.
In 2011, France reported a massive measles outbreak with nearly 15,000 cases. Only the Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Somalia suffered larger measles outbreaks that year. In 2012, the U.K. reported more than 2,000 measles cases, the largest number since 1994.
Here in the U.S., the prevalence of whooping cough shot up in 2012 to nearly 50,000 cases. Last year cases declined to about 24,000 — which is still more than tenfold the number reported back in the early ’80s when the bacteria infected less than 2,000 people.