Random Acts of Science Communication And Learning #RASCAL 2 – Measles

Following the huge success that we felt after the first #RASCAL 1, we decided to have another go. By random chance, both @le_joel and I were heading Londonward over the weekend of the marathon. Don’t mention the marathon, I’m still very annoyed that my knee stopped me running it. This post is about Random Acts of Science Communication And Learning, not marathons.Having had a bit of a chat over at the Bad Science Forums, and elsewhere, we decided that we should have a go at showing the reduction in rates of infection and death from measles over time, and see if we could demonstrate the effect the introduction and development of vaccines has had.

The named RASCALs for this one were myself, @Suw and @le_joel. We had much the same roles as #RASCAL 1, with @le_joel in charge of data gathering and marshaling, @Suw provided equipment and direction, and I brought enthusiasm, or moral support or something.

Looking at the history of vaccine introduction, we realised that the key figures would be really simple to show – how many people died each year of measles before there was a vaccine, how many died after the single vaccine was introduced in 1968, and how many died after the introduction of the triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, the MMR, in 1988. We used The Vaccine Site as a reliable, evidence based and properly referenced source.

However, while this gave us some pretty punchy information (average death rates of reducing massively over three steps), we would only have three notes, and nothing that would really catch the attention. Also, we thought that it would be best if we could  show how immediate an effect the decline in MMR uptake has on the spread of Measles, so we plotted a graph with uptake and cases against date, which came out nicely.

My photos are here, @Suw has photos here and there is a video coming to YouTube shortly.

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