Fact Check: False Reports Claiming Calif. Measles Outbreak “Killed Children”

Recent reporting has implied or stated that the California measles outbreak resulted in many deaths. Further, many reports and blogs have implied there have been many U.S. measles deaths in recent years.

One notable example is an article published in Examiner.com by Paul Hamaker who is described as a “chemist and mathematician” (and also is referred to as “Bryan” Hamaker on the applicable web page).

In an article dated April 21, 2015, Hamaker writes “The point of the [MMR] vaccine is to prevent deaths from measles, mumps, and rubella like the recent episode of child deaths in California.” [emphasis added]

But were there actually any child deaths in California?

It was a fact that we easily checked by consulting the Centers for Disease Control. According to CDC, there have been no deaths associated with the California measles outbreak; neither children nor adults.

Furthermore, CDC reports state there have been no deaths associated with any of the dozens of measles outbreaks in the U.S. in recent years.

Hamaker’s article continues by blaming the spread of measles on those who discuss a link between vaccines and autism, and again incorrectly claims that “actually resulted in killing children” in the California outbreak. He further “wonders” if those people “should not be held liable for the recent deaths of children from measles due to the lack of vaccination.” [emphasis added]

[As an aside, Hamaker’s article also incorrectly characterized findings of a study, which it summarized as, “Vaccine for measles, mumps, and rubella proven not to cause autism again.” In fact, neither the study Hamaker referred to nor any other study claims to have “proven” that MMR vaccine does not cause autism. Some studies have observed no association (which is not defined as “proof”), while other studies have found associations (which, likewise, is not defined as “proof”).]

The evidence shows:

1. According to CDC, there are no child deaths reported as a result of the California outbreak.

2. CDC reports there were no deaths among adults, either.

3. These facts can be easily learned with one contact to CDC.


Clearly, CDC considers reports which claim or imply deaths as a result of measles from the California outbreak to be factually incorrect.

For the false information regarding a topic of public health importance, the claims receive Three Little Devils.





 Other recent Fact Checks: 

Washington Post’s Alyssa Rosenberg’s Errors

Anne Schuchat’s Claim That Vaccines Can’t Cause Brain Damage

Read more info on measles outbreak  



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2 Responses to “Fact Check: False Reports Claiming Calif. Measles Outbreak “Killed Children””

  1. Michael
    June 16, 2016 at 2:47 am #

    It’s been how many years since there’s been a measles death in the United States? Well, how many children have died from SIDS, which many parents blame on the DPT or DTaP shot? I have Asperger Syndrome/Tourette Syndrome and I would not wish this on anyone. I’ll take measles in a heartbeat. Drink water and take Vitamin C.


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