Shining a light on measles 

Can childhood illness have a benefit? 

Editor’s note: This article is about measles alone. The combination MMR shot will be discussed separately. 


  • A long-held notion asserts that normal childhood illnesses ultimately strengthens the immune system; could that be true? 
  • We’ve been taught to fear illness, but should we? 
  • Shockingly, some scientists question what measles is. 
  • What does it mean to stop or eliminate measles? Do we really want to? 
  • Public health officials had come to a consensus that measles was a mild disease we should live with, but then decided measles was “important” when the vaccine was licensed, for the sole reason that we now had a product to sell for it.  
What if childhood illnesses are like training wheels for our immune system?  

It’s a basic premise of modern medicine that getting sick is bad. The human brain is hard-wired to look for threats, so it’s a lot easier to imagine what could go wrong than what can go right, especially when we’ve been taught and conditioned to think the worst about illness. “[T]he wisdom of the culture broadcasts that disease is an unmitigated evil, a dangerous enemy that must be attacked and destroyed. Vaccines are miracle weapons that rout the invaders and save us from being conquered by them. They are one of the heroes in man’s eternal struggle against the terrifying threat of disease, disability, and death.”1

But what if there are benefits to illness that aren’t immediately apparent? “In our culture healing and health have become practically synonymous with the practice of medicine and its administration of drugs, surgery, radiation, and vaccination.”2

What are the potential benefits of childhood illness? 

  1. Lifelong immunity. 
  2. Prevention of more serious adult illness. 
  3. Most illnesses tend to be milder in children than in adolescents or adults. 
What is measles? 

Measles is classified as a viral infection that can be transmitted via contact or through the air.3 Once exposed, the incubation period before symptoms appear is around two weeks. Symptoms include a high fever, white spots inside the mouth, a skin rash, sensitive eyes, a dry cough, a runny nose, and sore throat. 4

Dr. Richard Moscowitz explained his understanding in 1984 in a now famous article titled The Case Against Immunization: “By the time that the first symptoms of measles appear, circulating antibodies are already detectable in the blood, and the height of the symptomatology coincides with the peak of the antibody response. In other words, the ‘illness’ is simply the definitive effort of the immune system to clear the virus from the blood.” In layman’s terms, the symptoms mean the body is showing signs that it is in the final stages of healing the body. What is typically called illness or being sick is known by some as detoxification.

How serious can the infection get and how often does it happen? 

In 1969, the Brady Bunch was in its first season, and they aired a show where all the kids came down with measles. The show is a sitcom, a “situational comedy,” so don’t worry about the Brady’s, they were fine. The episode was called “Is there a Doctor in the House,” and Americans laughed as the kids enjoyed some time off school while Mom called her female doctor and Dad called his male doctor to the house for consultation. If you’ve heard of this episode, you’ve probably heard the line from Marcia Brady, “If you have to get sick, you sure can’t beat the measles.” Maureen McCormick, the actress who played Marcia, and others associated with the cast have expressed their displeasure that this episode has been used by “anti-vaxxers” to downplay the seriousness of this important illness.5 Interestingly, the show can’t be found on streaming services, which skip the 13th episode of the first season like an elevator skips the 13th floor. People have their theories on why we can’t find this episode, but official statements hold that it has not been removed because of its use by the health freedom movement. 6

Measles can have serious complications, including death. But the chances of serious outcomes in the U.S. are rare. By the 1960s, before a vaccine was available, top CDC scientists referred to measles as a “self-limiting infection of short duration, moderate severity, and low fatality.”7 Complications from measles generally come from secondary infections and malnourishment. The Pan American Health Organization explained, “Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases. In populations with high levels of malnutrition, particularly vitamin A deficiency and a lack of adequate health care, about 3-6% of measles cases result in death, and in displaced groups, up to 30% of cases result in death.”8

As reported on “Elena Conis, a historian of medicine, said measles has always had two different reputations — where some people say it’s mild and others say it’s severe. The reputation usually depended on access to resources and healthcare. In the 1960s, measles was a much more serious disease in places that faced poverty and malnutrition. ’It’s really important to know that its reputation of being a ‘mild’ disease emerged in this country in the early 20th century when standards of living began to improve and measles was endemic,’ Conis said. ’In these cases, children who were infected had access to pediatric care and other regular medical care. They could get treatments, like measles immunoglobulin, which could help them actually recover and be spared of any serious effects.’”9

Below is a table from a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) report titled “Public Health: A Health Status Indicator for Targeting Federal Aid to States,” with data from 1993 that gives us a picture of the threat Americans face of dying from measles as compared to other threats.10

In 1962, the year before a vaccine was licensed, the American Public Health Association published a paper called “The Importance of Measles as a Health Problem.” Top CDC scientists of the day proclaimed, “This self-limiting infection of short duration, moderate severity, and low fatality has maintained a remarkably stable biological balance over centuries.” It went on to say, it had become consensus that it was best to “learn to live with this parasite rather than hope to eradicate it.” The authors went on to look at the “importance of disease” and compared measles to things like heart disease, arthritis, “mental disease,” and polio. They concluded, “The importance of measles cannot be compared with any of the diseases mentioned so far, but it should still be classed as an important health problem on two main counts.” The reasons were, to stop parents from having to see their child suffer “even for a few days,” and because the first measles vaccine was about to be licensed.  

This bears repeating: CDC epidemiologists had come to a consensus that for centuries measles had been known as short-lived and generally of moderate severity, so we should simply live with it. Those same scientists suddenly decided we should try to up-end the “solidly based, stable biological balance” when vaccine licensure was in sight. Measles was deemed of inferior importance to other diseases, including mental illness, but the idea that we could buy a pharmaceutical product suddenly escalated it to “important.” And they didn’t hide their flip-flop; they bragged about it. In their words: 

Vitamin A deficiency 

Many doctors and researchers have attributed measles to Vitamin A deficiency. A comprehensive case is made by Dr. Suzanne Humphries and Roman Bystrianyk in their book “Dissolving Illusions,” which cites primary sources from medical literature, newspapers, and more, reaching back through the 1800s. Scientific literature and reporting is full of references to malnourishment leading to measles and its complications. The link is so well understood that it’s standard practice for the WHO and UNICEF to administer Vitamin A at the same time they are distributing measles shots.11

Fear factor 

Measles is framed by many as “very contagious” or even, “the most infectious disease” we know.12 Fear around the measles infiltrated popular culture after the introduction of the vaccine. Prior to that, medical literature of the day shows a mixture of commonality peppered with fear, but most acknowledge that complicating factors (secondary infections, unsanitary conditions, malnutrition) or even the treatment attempts themselves were the reasons for the worst possible outcomes. (One doctor in 1872 described how he risked his livelihood to combat the long-standing local common knowledge that children with measles should sweat it out indoors and be refused cold water).13

A systemic review published in 2017 determined that it was common scientific consensus that the “basic case reproduction rate” (known as R0 and pronounced “R naught”) was that for every one person infected with measles there would be 12-18 additional infections.14 A subsequent publication in 2019, however, categorized that consensus as obsolete with this statement: “The oft-reported measles R0 values of 12–18 are based on data acquired during 1912–1928 in the United States (R0 of 12.5) and 1944–1979 in England and Wales (R0 of 13.7–18.0), even though more recent estimates of the R0 for measles highlight a much greater numeric range and variation across settings.”15 In other words, the data being used for current scientific consensus is a century old and pertains to specific geographies, so it isn’t universally applicable. You’ll still find that outdated “R naught” echoed in papers published today. 

That same 2019 publication notes that the basic case reproduction rate determination “does not indicate whether new cases will occur within 24 hours after the initial case or months later, just as R0 does not indicate whether the disease produced by the infection is severe.” So even though the words “contagious” or “highly infectious” strike a chord of fear, simply having the measles isn’t the same as having a worst-case scenario, so it doesn’t matter how quickly it moves. In fact, one would wonder if the flash-in-the-pan nature of measles in a community could have given a bit of solace at a time when people knew the “self-limiting” illness would burn itself out quickly, or to those who are just not afraid of the illness. Indeed, how many of us have heard of mothers seeking out the infection for their child? The 2019 outbreak in New York has been attributed to “measles parties,” and if some people want intentional exposure after years of being told to fear, it’s a reflection of the massive chasm between that fear we are told to have by establishment medicine, and the faith, trust, and confidence others have in their bodies, nature, and even God. 

Thinking critically about measles news 

Here’s an example of the fearmongering during the infamous 2015 “Disneyland outbreak.” This excerpt was part of a post on the Today Show blog provocatively called “6 reasons why doctors are so afraid of measles”16

At first glance, that’s scary. This is an infection that kills! And look at how many tens of thousands were hospitalized. And on top of that, thousands got a brain injury that killed up to 500 of them. It’s so bad even doctors are afraid!  

But wait, did all the 500 people cited as killed per year in the United States, die from encephalopathy? On the surface of this statement, it seems like these statistics are not consistent. We have the range of 400-500 claimed to be killed by encephalopathy in the same sentence as a claim of 500 killed in the U.S. The U.S. statistic is linked to a CDC site which, thanks to the Wayback Machine website, we can review as the source of this statement at the time it was written17

When you compare the blog to the source, it’s clear, at the very least, that the reporting was sloppy. First, the referenced data comes from before 1963. This is significant because we are told – ad nauseum — that incidence of measles dropped after the introduction of the vaccine, continuing the downward trend to near elimination that started decades before the vaccine.18 What were the numbers at the time of reporting in 2015, and why did this author choose not to report them? The CDC monitors measles cases and deaths each year,19 so more up-to-date information would have been available than found on the “Measles History” page.

So from the outset, the data is disingenuous. One might even call it misinformation. The author declined to note that the 48,000 annual historic hospitalizations came from 3 to 4 million cases that were known and not hospitalized. In other words, we could call them mild and able to confer natural immunity. Also, 667 cases in 2014, while certainly a spike, absolutely pales in comparison to dropping 48,000 as a reference point. 

The second mention of a death count, which seems to be pointing only to encephalopathy, is the total annual death count in the U.S. and is unnecessary at best since the top end of that range was mentioned already or, at worst, was misleading fearmongering.  

Interestingly, that sentence is found on today’s CDC website about measles history, exactly as written except for one detail: Today the number of claimed encephalopathy cases is 1,000. The CDC doesn’t source their data on this, so we can’t tell what made them change that number. A quick scan of the Wayback Machine tells us the change happened March 2018 (by comparing captured sites).20

But the icing on the cake is the first sentence, which primes the reader to unquestioningly attribute scary looking numbers to a lack of vaccination.  

We need to remember there’s a distinction between getting the measles and dying from it. If an illness has a very high survival rate, low hospitalizations, and confers natural immunity for life after illness, it stands to reason that a high transmission rate would ultimately lead to the extinction of the disease. But, as pointed out by top epidemiologists before the vaccine was introduced, measles struck a “stable biological balance” with humans. Why would that be? We may not have enjoyed it, but we were coexisting with measles, and as you’ll read later, some believe contracting measles at an early age can help the immune system.  

An environment of fear is created when our CDC and news media focus on the worst-case scenarios of hospitalizations and death counts, without the context of number of cases, or how quickly that case count is changing. To be fair to the CDC, they have an almost impossible job counting cases, because all they can count is what’s reported, and if an illness is mild, many people don’t call their doctor or go to the hospital. But before you panic about underreporting, you can ground yourself in the realization that if an illness is not reported, then a doctor doesn’t need to be afraid of it, and neither do we. 

How was the measles vaccine developed?  

When you search for the story of how the measles vaccine was developed, you’ll likely find it starting with Dr. John Enders, after the introduction of the polio vaccine. This was not the beginning of the story, however. The Army Epidemiological Board (AEB) was researching and testing vaccines for measles as early as the 1940s. The AEB was not successful in finding a measles vaccine, but it was not for lack of trying. Dr. Joseph Stokes was assigned to lead the Commission on Measles and Mumps, which was tasked with creation and testing of a measles vaccine. As was common practice at the time, they tested the experimental shots on children in schools. 

Source: Woodward, “The Armed Forces Epidemiological Board, It’s First Fifty Years,” 1942 Commission report, 1990.21

Using schools as centers for medical experimentation was prevalent in the 20th century. A 2018 article in the American Journal for Public Health called “Human Experimentation in Public Schools: How Schools Served as Sites of Vaccine Trials in the 20th Century” describes the well-known “polio pioneers,” as well as an overview of measles vaccine experiments. Our sister organization, Stand for Health Freedom, described how foster children housed at Junior Village in Washington D.C. were used to test the notoriously unsafe RSV vaccine experiments in the article, “RSV Roulette.” Researcher Sydney Halpern wrote about consent issues surrounding the medical experimentation in the book “Lesser Harms.”22

Medicalizing patriotism started during World War II and continued into the Cold War as American scientists raced to create new technologies before Communist scientists could. (For more on this topic, check out our articles on polio and influenza). Dr. Halpern sums up the fervor well:  

The AEB Commission on Measles and Mumps was not successful in identifying a measles vaccine fit for licensure. That distinction fell to Enders. He was a part of the AEB, and he developed the vaccine along with Dr. Thomas Peebles, a Fellow at Children’s Hospital Boston in Massachusetts. During an outbreak of measles in Boston, Peebles went to a local boarding school and asked sick students for blood samples and swabs of their throats. Back at the lab, he worked to isolate a strain that would eventually be turned into a vaccine by Enders. 

The strain became known as the Edmonson strain, after the boy who contributed the sample that was turned into a vaccine.23 Decades later, though he says he’s proud of his unexpected place in medical history, Edmonson agreed not to vaccinate his son with the measles vaccine at the behest of his now-deceased wife, a public health educator.24

Enders shared the 1954 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954 with Thomas Huckle Weller and Frederick Chapman Robbins “for their discovery of the ability of poliomyelitis viruses to grow in cultures of various types of tissue.”25 This was a key discovery that enabled the creation of the polio vaccine by Jonas Salk. 

It’s an open secret that Salk stole Enders’ research to create the polio vaccine. Researcher Arthur Allen states in his book “Vaccine” that “Salk liked to say that Enders had ‘thrown the football and I caught it and ran downfield.’” Notably, Enders was not attempting to make a vaccine with his technique and ended up speaking out against Salk’s vaccine as being rushed and unsafe – and he was right. Enders shared a Nobel associated with his work on polio, but Salk was never given one. 

Enders appeared to feel the same pressure to out-do the Soviet Union in the creation of the measles vaccine that Salk felt for polio. In a 1957 presentation to the American Public Health Association, he summarized that measles vaccine research had been inconclusive and seemingly stalled until it came to the attention of the Americans that the Soviet Union was working on the problem.26 Was that why Enders took the leap to create the measles vaccine after opposing the hasty development of the polio vaccine? 

To develop the first measles vaccine, Enders chose to use the technology he created that enabled the polio vaccine. He began his experiments in 1954 with Peebles. 

“Dissolving Illusions” points to reporting of the day27:  

Source: “Thaler to Hold State Senate Hearing to Find Fastest Way to Expedite Plan,” New York Times, February 24, 1965, page 43.28 

Unfortunately, Enders’ vaccine endured the same fate as Salk’s, in that the live virus vaccine caused injuries and had too many side effects. Ultimately Maurice Hillman formulated an attenuated (weakened) vaccine that was considered safer, which was licensed in 1968. Hillman’s measles vaccine was ultimately folded into the MMR (which will be addressed in its own SHF article).  

Scientists keep researching the measles vaccine 

We are still using the Hillman vaccine.29 But the scientists who want to one-up Mother Nature with “science” end up trying to simply keep up with her. The vaccine advertised to be one-shot-for-life needs boosters, and while nature can take its course, pharmaceuticals need to push their way to universal coverage. Mother Nature already has a way to give all people lifelong immunity through childhood illness. Here are a couple of ways science is trying to mimic nature: 

  • By looking for more effective vaccines30
  • By looking for more vaccine distribution:31 

Dry powder, or aerosolized measles vaccine delivery, has been researched as far back as 2001.

Did a German court declare the measles virus didn’t exist? 

German doctor Stefan Lanka made headlines around the world in 2011, when he offered a €100,000 prize for a publication from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) which proved the existence of the measles virus.  

Lanka recounted:  

“The background of the measles virus trial, which began in 2011, was to prevent the planned compulsory measles vaccinations [in Germany]. A former Federal Justice minister had called me and asked for scientific data to help stop the introduction of mandatory vaccination. A leading senior state prosecutor gave us the idea to offer a prize for the proof of the ‘measles virus’ and, in the subsequent civil trial, to legally establish that there is no scientific evidence for the claims that the measles virus exists and that vaccines were safe and effective. Our plan was entirely successful.”32

One young doctor, Dr. David Bardens, took him up on the offer, presenting Enders’ original peer-reviewed publication from 1954, along with five others (however none were from RKI). Bardens described these papers as “key publications,”33 the best papers to prove the measles virus existed. Lanka persisted in saying none of the publications showed ‘identifiable viral structure, but rather easily recognizable typical cellular particles and structures.’” He was basically saying, all those papers show is stuff normally found in cells, and he refused to pay the prize. 

The scientist took the bait and went to court to enforce the deal. According to Lanka, the six papers were never entered into the court’s record, and the plaintiff admitted to never having read them. Still, the court decided against Lanka. This was expected, as there were no expert witnesses at that level of court. 

Lanka appealed to the higher court in February 2016 and won. Bardens appealed this ruling, but his appeal was dismissed in December 2016. The court did not declare measles virus does not exist, but instead upheld Lanka’s right to decide the “key publications” offered did not meet his criteria for the contest, sidestepping the question.

From February 16, 2016, court decision, Wayback Machine, translated by Google into English.34

Despite this public exposure, measles vaccination was made mandatory in Germany in 2020 and called the “Measles Protection Act.” While this effort to raise awareness around common medical practices, and to give people a forum to ask difficult questions was noble, ultimately it showed the court system is not designed to protect health freedom, even when there are wins. The places we can best take a stand are in our communities, in our doctor’s offices, in our elections, and in our lawmaking processes.

Does vaccination stop spread of measles? 

Many of the vaccines on our childhood schedule, including measles in the MMR, were introduced at a time in history when we were seeing an overall drop in morbidity (cases) and mortalities (deaths). One of the most definitive collections of evidence of this data was compiled in “Dissolving Illusions.” 


Humphries had a successful medical career when she noticed her patients who got the influenza vaccine didn’t do as well. She brought this to the attention of her hospital and was rewarded by being fired. She continued her research, which culminated in “Dissolving Illusions.” Unfortunately for her, she spoke out after our culture had been steeped in the fervor of a story of vaccine success. But we can look back to the days right before the licensure of the measles vaccine for an opinion from a different era. Measles was on the decline and perhaps so mild that it was something we should “live with.” But for the moment of change, we can point back to those boasting CDC scientists who said they’d make a measles vaccine simply because they could. 

Langmuir, et. al., “The Importance of Measles as a Health Problem” American Journal of Public Health and National Health, February 1962.35 CDC scientists wrote, “Note the stability of the morbidity [case] rate and the steady downward trend in the mortality rate” [before the vaccine].

From “The Importance of Measles as a Health Problem”: 

It is well documented that reported outbreaks include highly vaccinated populations, despite generally being attributed to the “unvaccinated.” The book “Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies,” by Dr. Neil Z. Miller, is a good jumping off point for perusing this literature. The book states, “Scientists also know that people who are vaccinated against measles can still contract the disease. In fact, an important paper by Rosen and colleagues provides strong evidence that measles can be transmitted form a fully vaccinated person to other fully vaccinated people. Other studies in this section confirm that loss of unsusceptibility to measles after MMR, and the respiratory shedding of the virus, can allow the disease to spread, hindering the prospect of permanent long-term population-wide immunity.”36 

A federal GAO report from 1998 on the “Soundness of World Health Organization Estimates for Eradication or Elimination” notes that “the vaccine is not 100% effective. Outbreaks can occur even in areas with high routine vaccination coverage.”37 The report states that a global vaccination coverage of 95% or higher is required to eliminate or eradicate measles in the U.S., but “[m]easles is not perceived as a major burden by many developed countries.”  

The CDC published in their Pinkbook about illnesses with vaccines as late as 2019, “[M]easles susceptibility of infants younger than 1 year of age may have increased. During the 1989–1991 measles resurgence, incidence rates for infants were more than twice as high as those in any other age group. The mothers of many infants who developed measles were young, and their measles immunity was most often due to vaccination rather than infection with wild virus. As a result, a smaller amount of antibody was transferred across the placenta to the fetus, compared with antibody transfer from mothers who had higher antibody titers resulting from wild-virus infection. The lower quantity of antibody resulted in immunity that waned more rapidly, making infants susceptible at a younger age than in the past.”38 Interestingly, they have since removed that passage. 

Now, at the same link, the section on measles resurgence has been removed and instead there is a section titled “Secular Trends in the United States” which makes no mention of maternal antibodies and the shift in age presentation.39

Scientific literature notes that “it is difficult to distinguish vaccine-attributable cases from sporadic wild-type infections.” This means the cure can cause the disease, and we have no idea how frequently it happens. “Dissolving Illusions” asserts that “many of today’s measles cases are not counted or recognized, because the sickness that comes with vaccine measles is incorrectly thought to be more innocuous than natural measles. Numerous literature reports speak to the fact that not only do vaccinated people have live measles virus that is not cleared from the body, it is shed in urine and presumably other secretions.”40 The book notes that “reports of ‘modified measles’ are synonymous with attenuated vaccine virus.”

A 2019 paper from the Journal of Clinical Microbiology makes the eye-opening finding that wild-type measles infections are dropping while vaccine-strain infections are climbing.41 The distinction is important, the authors state, because the two infections should be treated differently. This statement is consistent with the “Dissolving Illusions” conclusion above that doctors will treat measles in the vaccinated differently than measles in unvaccinated patients.

Finally, the books “Turtles All the Way Down,” and “Dissolving Illusions” both note that poor countries, where higher percentages of people are vitamin A deficient due to difficulty obtaining food, have higher rates of measles. No vaccine would change this, and as noted above it is standard practice for WHO and UNICEF to give Vitamin A at the same time as the vaccine, making it impossible to untangle which one of those preventative measures worked.

Was measles eradicated from the United States? 

The measles vaccine was licensed at a time the United States was asserting its scientific domination in the Cold War. Advances of science and medicine were not simply technological advances, they were an assertion that an entire political ideology was dominant because it created the fertile environment needed for such advances. Starting with the ending of World War II with the hydrogen bomb and continuing with creations like the polio vaccine, United States scientists were riding high on excitement about the possibilities that technology and medicine could bring us. So much so that when the FDA gave a measles virus the green light, it was a mere four years before one of our nation’s top epidemiologists co-authored a paper that laid out how the vaccine would eradicate infection by 1967. The author was none other than Alexander D. Langmuir, who led the team that determined Cutter Laboratories was the source of vaccine injury from polio vaccines and later helped found the CDC. This is the same Langmuir who co-authored the paper asserting that measles is important because we have a licensed vaccine for it. 

Source: Sencer, Dull & Langmuir, “Epidemiologic Basis for Eradication of Mesles in 1967,” Public Health Reports, Vol. 82, no. 3, March 1967, p. 256, cited by “Dissolving Illusions,” page 357. 

All that boasting was premature. It’s 2024 and we are still hearing about cases of measles. What happened?  

First, we should define some terms42

Measles was declared eliminated from the U.S. in 2000. As you can see, that means it wasn’t continually transmitted in the U.S. for an entire year, but it doesn’t mean the illness doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, there were 86 recorded cases of measles the year it was declared eliminated, according to CDC’s own data.43 Therefore, something can introduce measles back into the U.S. population at any time. We’re typically told this would be an unvaccinated traveler. But we also know from scientific literature that the vaccine itself can cause the infection. 

After 1967 came and went with no eradication, in 1978 the CDC declared a goal to eliminate measles from the U.S. by 198244 This was declared done in 2000, but as we saw in the CDC chart above, we have continued to have measles outbreaks in cycles of every few years, including the infamous “Disney outbreak” in 2014, which resulted in 644 cases, and the NY outbreak in 2019 that resulted in over 1,000. Still, levels of measles cases go back to a minimal baseline every time. It seems that even after the vaccine was introduced, the measles illness adapted to return to its “stable biological baseline,” and stays with us humans even as we try to stomp it out. 

Why haven’t we eradicated measles yet? The dominant answer asserts it’s because we don’t have enough people getting their measles shots. But is there something else going on?  

Can measles help? 

One school of thought includes illness on the path to ultimate wellness and health, rather than something that needs to be stamped out and “cured.” As described by Thomas Cowan, M.D., “When Rudolf Steiner described a child’s stages of development, he pointed out that all children need to go through certain acute inflammatory illnesses in order to develop a harmonious and healthy body.”45 Most people are familiar with these common childhood Illnesses, including measles. “It is as a result of going though and overcoming an illness that the child gains mastery of his overall physical body as well as his unique destiny.”

Dr. Cowan summarized, “The important point is that parents and physicians need to develop a healthy sensitivity and respect for the perhaps counterintuitive fact that acute inflammations with fevers, mucus, or rashes are healthy rites of passage in childhood development. Children who are supported to work through these healing crises are invariably healthier and more resilient than children in whom these inflammatory crises have been suppressed with vaccines, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory drugs.”46 

“Research shows that children who successfully go through measles at the usual ages (four to seven years old) have less heart disease, arthritis, allergies, autoimmune diseases, and overall better health than those who never get the measles. Children need to undertake the struggle to make their body their own; measles is one vehicle for this to happen.” –Dr. Thomas Cowan 

Thomas Cowan, M.D.; Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing Nature of Childhood Illness. (page 98)
Natural immunity

It has been well accepted for many years that natural measles infection confers lifelong immunity.

Source: Today Show blog, “6 reasons why doctors are so afraid of the measles,, accessed February 5, 2024. 

“Prior to vaccination, almost all children contracted measles by age 15 and measles outbreaks erupted every two or three years.”47

Protection from cancer and other more serious illnesses as adults 

HFI wants to remind the reader that cited studies are a jumping off point for your research and are by no means a comprehensive or definitive list. With this list in particular, we seek to highlight studies that can help you question the mainstream view that getting measles is something to be avoided. Is it really worth the risk of a vaccine to avoid the measles? Or might allowing the illness and getting natural immunity be better? Your conclusion for you and your family are unique to your needs and circumstances.

  • A study of approximately 100,000 people by Japanese researchers in 2015, concluded that people who had measles and mumps in childhood were significantly less likely to die from a heart attack.48
  • A 2009 study published in “Pediatrics” found that children who got measles were significantly less likely to develop allergies than vaccinated children.49
  • Adults with a history of febrile infections such as measles were less likely to develop skin cancer later in life.50
Measles is milder, with less complications, when contracted young. 

This is interesting because it’s the opposite of the messaging we get: that the vaccine strain infections will be more mild. But at least one researcher has pointed out what the CDC acknowledged but then removed from their PinkBook, “Ironically, what the measles vaccine certainly has done is to reverse the historical or evolutionary process to the extent that measles is once again a disease of adolescents and young adults, with a correspondingly higher incidence of pneumonia and other complications, and a general tendency to be a more serious and disabling disease than it usually is in younger children.”51


We can’t sum up the ideas in this article better than Dr. Richard Moskowitz did in his 1985 thought piece “The Case Against Immunizations,” published in the Journal of the American Institute of Homeopathy52

  1. James, W. (1995). Immunization: The reality behind the myth. Bergin & Garvey, p. 6. ↩︎
  2. James, W. (1995). Immunization: The reality behind the myth. Bergin & Garvey, p. 4. ↩︎
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  1. James, W. (1995). Immunization: The reality behind the myth. Bergin & Garvey, p. 6. ↩︎
  2. James, W. (1995). Immunization: The reality behind the myth. Bergin & Garvey, p. 4. ↩︎
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  24. ↩︎
  25. ↩︎
  26. xxvii  ↩︎
  27. Dissolving Illusions, page 357, citing x. ↩︎
  28. ↩︎
  29. ↩︎
  31. ↩︎
  32. ↩︎
  33. ↩︎
  34. ↩︎
  35. ↩︎
  36. Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies (page 139). ↩︎
  37. ↩︎
  38. ↩︎
  39. ↩︎
  40. Dissolving Illusions, page 354 ↩︎
  41. ↩︎
  42. ↩︎
  43. (excel document) ↩︎
  44. ↩︎
  45. Thomas Cowan, M.D.; Vaccines, Autoimmunity, and the Changing nature of Childhood Illness. (page 96) ↩︎
  46. Cowan (p 97) ↩︎
  47. Turtles All the Way Down (page 356).” ↩︎
  48. Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies (page 140); Kubota Y, Iso H, et al. Association of measles and mumps with cardiovascular disease: the Japan Collaborative Cohort (JACC) study. Atheroscloerosis 2015 Jun 18; 241(2): 682-86. ↩︎
  49. ↩︎
  50. ↩︎
  51.  ↩︎
  52. ↩︎

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