Measles: The Next Pandemic?

Measles: The Next Pandemic?

Author: Anne Kuijper

The world and Mr. White are still dealing with the aftermath of the 2020-2023 Sars-Cov-2 pandemic. Yet, another virus is already rearing its head worldwide. Mr. Black knows that this virus isn’t a new phenomenon and causes outbreaks all over the world every few years. The illness Mr. White and Mr. Black are talking about is called the measles.

In 2023, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a worrying report about the rise in measles infections and deaths. Mr. Black says he didn’t do anything to spread the disease, but Mr. White is not so sure. The measles has been on the watchlist for possible viruses to be eradicated. So, how has this virus made such a comeback?

Let’s explore this illness with Mr. White and figure out how the disease could be eradicated once and for all!

What is the measles?

The measles is a highly contagious virus that is especially deathly for children under the age of five. When someone is infected with the measles, this person will infect 90% of the people that come close to them. This virus spreads via the air, which makes infecting people all too easy. I don’t even have to shake someone’s hand, exclaims Mr. Black.

When you breath tiny droplets are produced in which the virus is transmitted. When you cough or sneeze bigger droplets are produced as well, these don’t stay in the air and fall on surfaces, like a table.

  1. Did you know that the viruses in these bigger droplets can stay infectious for for up to 2 hours!
    Thus, even completely avoiding people might not be enough to save the people close to you from getting infected.

The measles could be known as another Mister Worldwide because this describes the reach of the virus perfectly. The measles is present all over the world. Everyone who is not protected or immune, will be infected and get sick.

What are the symptoms of the measles?

Mr. White, backed by the World Health Organization, gives us a rundown of the most common symptoms and signs: At first, typical flu-like symptoms will appear. High temperature, a runny nose, a cough, and watery eyes are the first to appear. A visual indicator of the measles is a rash that starts on your head and spreads down the body. The rash appears after the flu-like symptoms a last for approximately a week.

Mr. Black tells us everything about the horrible complications that can happen. The measles affects the immune system, so it doesn’t know how to protect itself against infections anymore. This is why infections in the ear, eye, and lung are related to the measles.

An infections such as pneumonia can be life-threatening and eye infections can cause blindness. You survive one virus, and the next infection is already lurking around the corner! Mr. White underlines that with good care and antibiotics infections can be treated.

Another threatening complication is encephalitis, which is an infection that makes your brain swell. This can cause brain damage and long-term effects on your health. Luckily, this is quite rare, 1 person every 1000 to 2000 people will be affected by encephalitis. More common is diarrhea, which can cause dehydration, especially in kids. This affects 8% of people who get the measles.

Even with only a chance of 1 person every 100.000 people, this is scariest complication yet and of course Mr. Blacks favorite:

  1. Did you know that 7-10 years after you survived a measle infection, you can get something called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, which inflames your brain and is almost always fatal!

If you were wondering; ‘What is my body doing to get rid of such a scary virus?’ National Geographic explains this as a fight between the healthy and measle infected immune cells in your body. This is also why you will get certain symptoms; this is your body working hard to get rid of the virus. 

What can you do to prevent and treat the measles? 

There is highly effective and cheap vaccine that makes people up to 97% immune to the measles. This is called the MMR vaccine and is one of Mr. Whites favorites.

The measles vaccine is often given to children at a very young age. Twice, to make sure they are protected almost entirely for the rest of their lives. The MMR vaccine is relatively cheap and protects against several diseases, like a big vaccine cocktail, but alcohol-free.

Because the virus can only affect humans, and people are often immune after their first encounter with the measles, or are vaccinated, the measles could technically be eradicated from the world. The virus must live in a cell of a human body otherwise it dies. But if every person would be immune, it wouldn’t be able to stay in a body, as the immune system would kill it.

A few years ago, the measles vaccination rate was particularly high in the United States. The government even stated that the virus was completely gone from the US! However, in 2019 a big outbreak happened in the US. Approximately 1274 cases of the measles were reported, which was the highest amount since 1992! This was due to the lowering vaccination rate. People seem to forget that these illnesses exist and that only due to high vaccination rates the virus disappears, says Mr. White.

In other parts of the world the vaccination rate differs significantly, being the lowest (below 50%!) in several sub-Saharan countries in Africa.

  1. Did you know that the measles is known as an inequity virus? This means that that are unjust, avoidable inequalities between people. In this case, the inequity is an affordable vaccine that exists but not everybody has access to.

Why are measles cases increasing?

You might be wondering, if the vaccine is so cheap and effective and if most children are vaccinated very young, why has the measles made a comeback in the world?

In the past year the number of measles infections has been rising. Since the SARS-COV-2 pandemic from approximately 2020-2023, the vaccination rate has pummeled. A lot of children missed their second vaccination, making their immunity to measles that lower. Moreover, a lot more people are suspicious of vaccines in general after the corona pandemic, laughs Mr. Black. This apprehension for vaccination makes avoidable diseases return worldwide, for example the whooping cough.

  1. Did you know that before the vaccine existed, every year, approximately 6 million people died from the measles?

Why is vaccination so important?

Vaccination is crucial for the prevention of virus infections like the measles. High vaccination rates can even cause the eradication of certain viruses. The measles vaccine teaches your immune system what the measle virus looks like and how it can protect you!

Vaccination is also extremely important for the protection of people who cannot vaccinate due to medical issues or who are too young. The MMR vaccine isn’t given to babies below 12 months old for example. If enough people are vaccinated, more than 95%, herd immunity kicks in. Herd immunity can protect these people who cannot protect themselves.


  1. Did you know that the measles cannot afford to change itself or mutate? The measles cannot function anymore when changes are made to the proteins on its surface. These proteins are the keys that it uses to enter our cells and are what our immune system recognizes! This means that the measles cannot change itself to hide from out immune cells, which is why we are immune for life after vaccination.

Gameplay Guide: Measles in ImmunoWars

In the world of ImmunoWars the measles is a virus that you can play to infect your component. Embrace your inner Mr. Black and play the ultimate infectious card. This virus is highly contagious and can easily infect multiple players if they cannot protect themselves.

  1. Did you know that the measles ImmunoWars card belongs to the ‘Back from the Death’ exclusive card pack from the Bismuth edition of the game. This edition was only available during the Kickstarter campaign of ImmunoWars.

The measles has variable symptoms, and this is reflected in ImmunoWars. Role the die and see what you will have to deal with. If your luck has fully depleted, and you rolled a 1, you will suffer from severe symptoms and will get -2 HP for 2 turns, yikes. The other option is that you roll 2 to 6 with the die and get mild symptoms. These symptoms result in -1 HP for 2 turns.

Keep in mind that the measles is very contagious, and people will have to role at least a 4 or higher with the die to avoid getting it too! You can use this to your advantage and make yourself an attractive target for the unsuspecting component. However, your component can protect themselves against transmission by equipping the gas mask, N95 mask, or Surgical mask card. These cards will give you +1 one on your die roll when you must roll for transmission of a virus through air.

If you are close to death and the measles is just not your kind of virus, you can cure yourself by using the CRISPR-CAS13, Cytotoxic T-cell, Natural killer cell, or Bleach card  when you are really desperate. If you are quick, you can use Ginger tea to destroy the virus before it takes effect after your first turn after getting infected.

When you are extremely lucky, you can be cured of all your infections with the Herd immunity card, from one infection with the Spontaneous remission card, or from all infections with the Epinephrine card but only if you would have died from your infections this round.

Lastly, in the same edition of the game, the MMR vaccine card is available. Players can equip the MMR vaccine to protect themselves against the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella virus cards. This is the best way to protect yourself against the measles! Prevention is better than cure after all.

Are you hyped to play ImmunoWars and want to create your own strategies? Hop to the store and buy your own copy now!


Measles FAQs

> Is the measles a deadly disease?

It can certainly be! The measles can have severe complications from which you could die. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention published that between the years 2000 and 2021, about 57 million deaths were prevented through vaccination worldwide.

> Can adults get infected by the measles?

Yes, adults can be infected and can get sick from the measles. Anyone who has not been vaccinated or has gotten the measles earlier in their life can get sick.

> How long does the measles last?

The measles may take several weeks. After you get in contact with the measles, the different symptoms will appear over the course of 21 days. Frustratingly, you can get other infections after your measles infection, as your immune system is still recovering.

> What animal did the measles come from?

The measles only infects us, humans! It does belong to a family of viruses, the morbilliviruses, who affect all kinds of animals but not humans. Once upon a time, the measles might have jumped from one of these animals to humans and liked us better. But we aren’t sure about the exact origins of the measles.


Although the measles is one of the most contagious viruses around, it is unlikely that the measles will cause the next pandemic in the world. A highly effective vaccination is readily available and luckily the vaccination grade is quite high in most countries.

Because the vaccination rate lowered in the years during and after the SARS-COV-2 pandemic, the herd immunity was lost in places and people were not protected anymore. This caused several outbreaks worldwide. Hopefully, by spreading the word, people will realize once again how important and lucky we are to have vaccinations that protect us.

Ultimately, the goal of Mr. White is to rally the people to vaccinate and increase the vaccination rate to 95% or higher to protect the people who cannot protect themselves from Mr. Black and his viruses.

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