Panic over 704 measles cases, silence over 59,500 flu deaths

Despite hyperventilated reporting on 704 cases of measles, there has been silence over this year's flu season that already hospitalized 630,000 and killed 59,500 Americans.   

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that from January 1 through April 26, there was a total of 704 confirmed cases of measles and no deaths across 22 states.  At the current pace, 2019 is on track for 2,112 measles cases, versus 372 in 2018. 

Measles cases date back to at least 9th-century Persia.  American outbreaks from 1912 to 1921 infected about 3–4 million and killed about 6,000 each year.  Widespread mandatory U.S. vaccinations beginning in the 1960s was thought to have eliminated the measles by 2000, but foreign visitors since 2010 have reintroduced the disease.

With President Trump backing U.S. Health & Human Services secretary Alex Azar mounting a concerted effort to convince U.S. parents to vaccinate their children, the CDC hopes to again eliminate domestic cases of the measles over the next five years.

But despite about 60 percent of Americans getting a flu shot each year, the lowest number of flu deaths in the last decade was 12,447 in 2011–2012 flu season, and the highest number of deaths was 79,400 during the 2017–2018 season.

American Thinker reported in December that the current U.S. flu season was tracking near epidemic levels.  From October 1 through April 26, there have been up to 42.4 million flu cases; 19.9 million doctor visits; 630,000 hospitalizations; and 59,500 deaths.

Annual flu outbreaks usually start in October, peak in February and March, then trend down rapidly and go dormant in May.  The 2018–2019 near-epidemic has followed a normal activity pathway by peaking in February, with 54 of the 54 national regions reporting "elevated" flu levels.  By April 26, only 23 of the 54 national regions were in "normal" activity levels, and the outbreak is on track to expire in May.  

The World Health Organization is already preparing 2019–2020 North America flu vaccines it hopes will be effective.  The scientific composition of each year's inoculations is a blend of three of four existing flu virus strains.  This year's vaccines were expected to be composed of a three-strain-virus blend of H1N1 and two B/virus.  But a fourth H3N2 strain was added on March 26, potentially delaying availability of flu shots.

The flu's sustainability is due to the relentless capability of virus strains to rapidly mutate.  In years when vaccine viruses best matched circulating strains, the chances of avoiding flu were up to 80 percent.  But the effectiveness in preventing adult doctor visits and hospitalizations has recently been just 40 percent.

Despite hyperventilated reporting on 704 cases of measles, there has been silence over this year's flu season that already hospitalized 630,000 and killed 59,500 Americans.   

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that from January 1 through April 26, there was a total of 704 confirmed cases of measles and no deaths across 22 states.  At the current pace, 2019 is on track for 2,112 measles cases, versus 372 in 2018. 

Measles cases date back to at least 9th-century Persia.  American outbreaks from 1912 to 1921 infected about 3–4 million and killed about 6,000 each year.  Widespread mandatory U.S. vaccinations beginning in the 1960s was thought to have eliminated the measles by 2000, but foreign visitors since 2010 have reintroduced the disease.

With President Trump backing U.S. Health & Human Services secretary Alex Azar mounting a concerted effort to convince U.S. parents to vaccinate their children, the CDC hopes to again eliminate domestic cases of the measles over the next five years.

But despite about 60 percent of Americans getting a flu shot each year, the lowest number of flu deaths in the last decade was 12,447 in 2011–2012 flu season, and the highest number of deaths was 79,400 during the 2017–2018 season.

American Thinker reported in December that the current U.S. flu season was tracking near epidemic levels.  From October 1 through April 26, there have been up to 42.4 million flu cases; 19.9 million doctor visits; 630,000 hospitalizations; and 59,500 deaths.

Annual flu outbreaks usually start in October, peak in February and March, then trend down rapidly and go dormant in May.  The 2018–2019 near-epidemic has followed a normal activity pathway by peaking in February, with 54 of the 54 national regions reporting "elevated" flu levels.  By April 26, only 23 of the 54 national regions were in "normal" activity levels, and the outbreak is on track to expire in May.  

The World Health Organization is already preparing 2019–2020 North America flu vaccines it hopes will be effective.  The scientific composition of each year's inoculations is a blend of three of four existing flu virus strains.  This year's vaccines were expected to be composed of a three-strain-virus blend of H1N1 and two B/virus.  But a fourth H3N2 strain was added on March 26, potentially delaying availability of flu shots.

The flu's sustainability is due to the relentless capability of virus strains to rapidly mutate.  In years when vaccine viruses best matched circulating strains, the chances of avoiding flu were up to 80 percent.  But the effectiveness in preventing adult doctor visits and hospitalizations has recently been just 40 percent.