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Tests into death of Swansea man who died while suffering from measles are inconclusive

By EPerkins1  |  Posted: April 25, 2013

  • Gareth Colfer-Williams who had measles at the time he died

  • Tests into death of Swansea man who died while suffering from measles are inconclusive

Comments (44)

MORE tests will be carried out on a Swansea man who died while suffering from measles.

A post-mortem examination into the death of Gareth Colfer-Williams proved to be inconclusive.

The 25-year-old died at his Port Tennant home last Thursday.

Meanwhile, measles cases in Swansea are still increasing and more than 900 people have the disease.

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New figures from Public Health Wales show 942 people have been diagnosed with the highly contagious disease and youngsters are being urged to have the MMR jab ahead of their exams.

An extra 56 cases have been reported since Tuesday, showing there is no sign of the outbreak ending and the 10 to 18 age group are most at risk.

Although the outbreak is centred mainly on Swansea, rates of measles are high throughout the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University, Powys and Hywel Dda health board areas, especially in Neath Port Talbot and North Powys.

A total of 83 people have been hospitalised since the beginning of the outbreak.

Dr Marion Lyons, Director of Health Protection for Public Health Wales, said: "The increase of cases shows that the outbreak is not easing up, especially in the 10 to 18-year-old age group.

"Young people have important examinations coming up and we need to make sure that those aged between 10 and 18 are vaccinated so their preparation for these examinations are not affected.

"Vaccination sessions are continuing in schools throughout Wales and I urge pupils and their parents to take advantage of these.

"We have seen that measles can be potentially fatal and no one should be complacent about the severity of measles. It can kill but can be prevented by a simple, safe vaccine."

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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44 comments

  • EwenM  |  April 29 2013, 7:04AM

    Red; Why take an unnecessary risk by allowing your children to get measles? I've seen nothing to contradict the mortality rate of 1 in 1000 to 1 in 5000. Ignoring the risk from measles isn't going to make it go away. And I'm sure Andrew Wakefield has done many years of research and has mountains of information, but he's still wrong.

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  • meg_loopy  |  April 28 2013, 11:33PM

    your welcome red , and most people who i have spoken to who have come to a decision not to vaccinate have done many years of research and probably continue to do so as new material is presented. in a free society where vaccines arent manditary its their right ...

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  • meg_loopy  |  April 28 2013, 10:45PM

    Hey, you ought to see the abuse that's been heaped on me just for trying to point out a few facts. Don't tell me that "people who dont vaccinate or vaccinate in a different way are accepting of those who choose to vaccinate the recommended government way". If someone came up to me, and tried to prove me wrong, it's up to me to prove that I'm right. Getting upset, embarassed, whatever when somebody questions your decisions - is that because your decision was pretty dodgy to begin with? WHY DOES SOMEONE HAVE TO BE RIGHT OR WRONG? I JUST OLD YOU IT ABOUT WHO COMES UP WITH THE MOST CONVINCING FACTS OR ARGUMENT, ITS JUST ABOUT WHAT SOURCE YOU CAN FIND TO BACK UP YOUR ARGUEMENT. IF YOU FIND SOMETHING, ILL FIND SOMETHING AND BACK AND FORTH BACK FORTH. IVE NEVER QUESTIONED YOUR DECSION EWEN EVER. IF YOU HAVE VACCINATED THEN GOOD ON YOU I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH IT , NEVER DID AS IM FOR CHOICE. MY DECISION IN THE BEGINING WAS FAR FROM DODGY IT WAS BORN OUT OF THE INFO I WAS READING, THE DOCTORS I WAS TALKING TO, AND THE PARENTS OF VACCINE DAMAGE. YOUR QUESTIONING MY DESCICION, BUT ACTUALLY KNOWBODY HAS ASKED WHAT I HAVE DONE. THATS WHY IM LAUGHING SO MUCH AS THE COMMENTS ON HERE COZ NOBODY KNOWS WHAT I HAVE DONE OR DECIDED YET. AND BECAUSE ITS A PERSONAL DECISION IT WILL BE KEPT AS SUCH. FUNNY I NEVER ASK PEOPLE THEY JUST TELL. You're still keeping that 50,000 single vaccinations source close to your chest, eh? And I'm not trying to score a point about your spelling - I could tell you a few things about very bright people with dyslexia - but 'orchcastrate' is a belter. Thanks for the chuckle." YOUR WELCOME MADE ME CHUCKLE TO.. FREUDIAN SLIP?

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  • Red75  |  April 28 2013, 10:25PM

    Thanks Meg : ) Ewen - Meg's right, we're not changing our minds, as for research, i have done hours of research, i have mountains of information on both measles and vaccinations! not because of the recent outbreak, i started researching 15 years ago, because i have a vested interest - my children. I could quote numbers but i don't need to prove anything and clearly you are more than able to search stats. The truth is that in this country measles isn't a terrifying, life threatening virus, contracting it does strengthen the immune system, prevention is not vital - it is ok for children to get ill and vaccines are not safe for all so why take an unnecessary risk? There is no real argument here.

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  • EwenM  |  April 28 2013, 10:15PM

    meg, very clever, but not entirely relevant. Vaccination did very well preventing measles cases - look at the reduction in cases. If you get measles, the risks are the same as they ever were. That's a viral infection for you - there are not many cures so prevention is vital. 1 death, whether in 86700 or in ten, is a very small sample to be generalising from. The reason we need to reduce the 86700 is the same reason we're ignoring the post-1992 deaths; these are children we want data for, not the entire population. The rule of three is an established way to estimate an upper limit of something happening if it has never been observed, and the 1-in-1400 figure I derived fits in with the other data. It's also much larger than the risks from MMR.

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  • meg_loopy  |  April 28 2013, 9:53PM

    pmsl :"Actually, as the HPA data is for all age groups, we need to revise that 76,500 figure downwards. If the CDC table is a rough guide, about 1/5 of cases are in children under 10. That brings the upper limit for the mortality rate to about 1 in 5000 notifications. The data here: http://tinyurl.com/bs2tvkm (thanks PJL!) show that maybe 10% of notified cases are confirmed in the laboratory so the mortality rate for acute measles for children might be as high as 1 in 500 confirmed cases. The US data has 106 deaths out of 35222 children under 10, or 1 in 332. Still higher than the estimate from the UK, but in the same ballpark." shall we completely break down the stats? why not... are we sitting comfortably good : period 1940 -1970 -PRE-JAB , 11million 500 hundred thousand reported cases of meales ,7.900 deaths =0.07% death rate = 7 people dying for every 10,000 people contracting measles period 1970-1979 POST JAB (single) but with cases of kids born in pre-jab era. 1 , 400.000 reported cases of meales ......242 deaths - 0.02% death rate = 2 people dying for every 10,000 people who contracted measles period 1980 -1989 - POST JAB most cases of pre jab contractions have passed now. 790,000 reported cases of measles ...126 deaths = 0.02% death rate = under 2 people dying for every 10,000 people who contracted measles WORTH NOTING, ALTHOUGH THE NUMBER OF REPORTED CASES HAVE ROUGHLY HALVED (THANKS TO THE VACCINE) THE DEATH RATE IS ALMOST IDENTICAL TO THE PREVIOUS 10 YEAR PERIOD SHOWN! period 1990 -2008 110,000 reported cases 25 deaths -0.02% death rate in those cases that equals slightly over 2 people dying for every 10,000 people who contracted measles worth noting there is a marginal increase in death rate, but it is very marginal! If you look at the pre jab figures the death rate was extremely high in comparison up to 1947. suddenly there is a big drop off (1948 NHS born) If we were to discount the pre 1948 figures the results for 1948-1970 this would be : 8,700,000 reported cases 2810 deaths 0.03% death rate in those cases = slightly over 3 people dying for every 10,000 people go contracted measles looking at that there is really very little difference in mortality rates from 1948 to 2008! what can we conclude from all this? basically death rates for people contracting measles are almost identical now to what they were in 1950'S and there are virtually no noticeable peaks during that period. treatment of the condition is no better as saving lives now than it was then. if the rates continue and there is no reason to suggest they wont currently the chances of dying due to measles is 1 / 5,000 reported cases. Even so these deaths are for people who may have died as a result of complications a previous infection, not at the time of actually contracting it. since 1992 there has been only 1 reported death as a direct consequence of contracting the illness. If we work out the chances of dying from that information , it would be 1/ 86,700 im not going to start, like you ewen confuse people with supposed number of age etc.... this is the breakdown of reported HPA stats end of . no smoke screens or drama now with that , im getting back to my life and say one thing is it 500 or600 confirmed cases in swansea and swansea alone? ??

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  • EwenM  |  April 28 2013, 9:29PM

    Well, not only SSPE. Yes, SSPE is really rare, but then so are the complications from MMR. What other "late effects of measles" might kill people? We're still talking about deaths from measles here, whether acute, in the days or weeks following the disease, or even years later. Why look at American data? Well, their data includes a breakdown or measles complications by age group. I don't think the US is that different from Wales in terms of healthcare. There's really frightening mortality data from Senegal if you want but that's not like Wales by some way. Anyway, I only used the US stats to get a rough idea of the relative numbers of measles patients by age group and to compare the mortality rate calculations. The age ranges here http://tinyurl.com/cq5blbp are from Wales. These data have 56% of measles cases (235 since 1996) in children under 10. So the data from Wales shows the mortality rate for measles may be as high as 1 in 78.3, but that's an artefact of only using Welsh data. The UK data has no deaths in 76,500 notifications of all ages. Take 55% of that to just take the under 10s we get 42075. 10% of that gives an estimate of the confirmed cases; 4207. Rule of three estimate; mortality rate from acute measles in children could be as high as 1 in 1400. Hey, you ought to see the abuse that's been heaped on me just for trying to point out a few facts. Don't tell me that "people who dont vaccinate or vaccinate in a different way are accepting of those who choose to vaccinate the recommended government way". If someone came up to me, and tried to prove me wrong, it's up to me to prove that I'm right. Getting upset, embarassed, whatever when somebody questions your decisions - is that because your decision was pretty dodgy to begin with? You're still keeping that 50,000 single vaccinations source close to your chest, eh? And I'm not trying to score a point about your spelling - I could tell you a few things about very bright people with dyslexia - but 'orchcastrate' is a belter. Thanks for the chuckle.

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  • meg_loopy  |  April 28 2013, 8:53PM

    meg; good to see someone actually reads the research! However, as it says "All other measles deaths, since 1992, shown above are in older individuals and were caused by the late effects of measles." This delay in mortality does raise the possibility that children are still at risk. Measles does not always kill immediately, it can kill long after the initial infection. I expect you've read Roald Dahl's account of his daughter Olivia's death? (See http://tinyurl.com/cpkwu2m) As Red75 said, "you CANNOT dismiss first hand, real-life stories" can you? YOU TALKING ABOUT SSPE? WHICH IS REALLY RARE? WHAT SWITCHING ARGUMENTIVE TATICS ARE YOU ? With 76,500 notifications in the period 1993-2008, we can use the statistical 'rule of three' (http://tinyurl.com/d6bn4g6) - thanks for Ben Goldacre's excellent book Bad Pharma for this) to estimate that the risk of death from the acute effects of measles is below 1 in 25,500 notifications. Of course, PJL is very hot on the numbers of notifications (which are the figures here) being much higher than the final confirmed cases... And I notice you've ignored the much higher CDC figures from the US. 3 deaths per thousand, in children. Partly explained if they recorded only confirmed cases, of course." WHY WOULD I LOOK AT AMERICA WHEN I LIVE IN WALES? I LOOK AT THE STATS FOR WHERE I LIVE Look at the end of the day ewen you can go around arguing this and that, and it really depends on what she/he found compared to what someone else found to always back up the arguement. its funny how the people who dont vaccinate or vaccinate in a different way are accepting of those who choose to vaccinate the recommended government way. But not the other way around. fear? arrogance? i dont know . but i do ask myself this. Your so sure the MMR works what do you have to be afraid of that makes you attack or attempt to embrass, ridicule people who choose different. the percentage of people who choose not to vaccinate or get the single are low. Didnt the vaccination rate go up over the last couple of years? the fact that your here trying to convince others there wrong, that there decision is wrong and yours is right, especailly when many who have commented seem to be strong in there conviction, just seems to me more about feeling good about oneself or important than anything else, because i havent seen one person you have debated with change there minds. Im happy with what ever people decide to do, it really isnt a nice place to be in when your undecided and ill always be happy that i helped orchcastrate in parents getting there choice that they wanted at the time.

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  • EwenM  |  April 28 2013, 8:18PM

    Actually, as the HPA data is for all age groups, we need to revise that 76,500 figure downwards. If the CDC table is a rough guide, about 1/5 of cases are in children under 10. That brings the upper limit for the mortality rate to about 1 in 5000 notifications. The data here: http://tinyurl.com/bs2tvkm (thanks PJL!) show that maybe 10% of notified cases are confirmed in the laboratory so the mortality rate for acute measles for children might be as high as 1 in 500 confirmed cases. The US data has 106 deaths out of 35222 children under 10, or 1 in 332. Still higher than the estimate from the UK, but in the same ballpark.

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  • EwenM  |  April 28 2013, 7:51PM

    meg; good to see someone actually reads the research! However, as it says "All other measles deaths, since 1992, shown above are in older individuals and were caused by the late effects of measles." This delay in mortality does raise the possibility that children are still at risk. Measles does not always kill immediately, it can kill long after the initial infection. I expect you've read Roald Dahl's account of his daughter Olivia's death? (See http://tinyurl.com/cpkwu2m) As Red75 said, "you CANNOT dismiss first hand, real-life stories" can you? With 76,500 notifications in the period 1993-2008, we can use the statistical 'rule of three' (http://tinyurl.com/d6bn4g6) - thanks for Ben Goldacre's excellent book Bad Pharma for this) to estimate that the risk of death from the acute effects of measles is below 1 in 25,500 notifications. Of course, PJL is very hot on the numbers of notifications (which are the figures here) being much higher than the final confirmed cases... And I notice you've ignored the much higher CDC figures from the US. 3 deaths per thousand, in children. Partly explained if they recorded only confirmed cases, of course.

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