Measles and Rubella- A World Update (read this if traveling to Europe, Japan, or out of N. America)

measlesJapan has documented almost 12,000 cases of Rubella the first half of 2013, with 10 cases of the dreaded congenital Rubella syndrome.  Poland had over 21,000 cases of Rubella in the first 4 months of 2013 and 89% were in unvaccinated individuals. Rubella is relatively harmless to children and adults, but can be devastating to unborn children. Herd immunity (having most of the population immune through vaccination) has kept numbers of Rubella here in the USA and Oregon very low.  If you may be traveling outside N. America, and if you are near or at an age when you could become pregnant, I highly recommend you get the Rubella protection.  Here in the USA, this can only be done by getting the MMR. Do not get this live virus vaccine while you are pregnant.

Measles has been endemic in Japan, and in 2007-2008 they had 27,000 cases of Measles.  After this, Japan started a major catch-up immunization program, giving the MR (Measles-Rubella) vaccine, and Japan just had 228 cases in all of 2012. For the 12 months ending March 2013, there were 8,127 cases of Measles in Europe. 

The article (Read Here) refers to a “bogus association with autism” which is unfortunate as this was otherwise a well written educational piece.  Dr Andrew Wakefield was a hero, who stood up for science and first showed the association of the vaccine strain Measles virus in the lymph nodes of autistic children.  He proposed that there might be a link, and for that he was crucified academically and ultimately lost his license.  This was a high price to pay for going against big pharma and big government interests. I have hundreds of families of autistic children who know with absolute certainty that it was the MMR vaccine that triggered their child’s regression into severe autism. 

I have never seen a child regress into autism if the MMR is given after age 3 years with one exception, a child who regressed a little with the first MMR but recovered only to regress much more after the second dose of MMR was given at age 5.  

Dr. Paul


  • Jenny

    Hello Dr. Paul,

    Thanks for the alert and good summary. Do you know if there’s an “optimum window” to get the MMR? I have three young daughters who are not yet vaccinated, but can see that they will at least need the “R” part of the vaccine before they enter the childbearing years. I remember hearing of adults getting a rubella booster vaccine and it triggered arthritis. Any ideas or info?

    Thanks – very impressive blog!

    • If you have a strong family history of autism or a lot of autoimmune issues in the family history, then you might want to delay the MMR until pre-tean or early tean years. The arthritis association you speak of may be this auto-immune issue that is relatively rare and not likely an issue if your family history is negative for autoimmune disorders. In the USA we cannot get the MMR split our so you are stuck giving the full MMR or none at all.

Reply To This Post