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I would like to understand how (if possible) the measles virus could start to infect a population that was theoretically isolated from any other population group. Put another way, can the measles virus develop within a person without external influence/inputs?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by anongoodnurse, canadianer, David, kmm, Bryan Krause Aug 13 '17 at 16:18

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Is the question "Can a measle virus be created anew and not via reproduction from another virus?" (the answer would be 'No'). $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 11 '17 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ So it is not possible for an isolated population to have instances of measles unless they are exposed to it from an external source, correct? I understand that it is an endemic disease, but my confusion is on how a population gets the first instance. Is there a better question I can post to get at that idea? I am interested in measles particularly. $\endgroup$ – J. Ari Aug 12 '17 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ You should have a look at an intro course to evolutionary biology such as understanding evolution by UC Berkeley for example. There is no clear first instance. Modern day measle viruses evolved from an ancestor that was not the modern day measles. In any case, there is no spontaneous generation. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 12 '17 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b, okay, if you want to post this comment as an answer then I can accept it as the answer and close this out. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – J. Ari Aug 12 '17 at 22:21
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    $\begingroup$ While the question is clearly quite introductory, I think it can be answered in the broad sense and should not be closed as off-topic. I also think that two down votes is a bit harsh. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 12 '17 at 22:31
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The question could be rephrased

Can a measle virus be created anew and not via reproduction from another virus?

The answer to which is "no".

The falsified idea that new life forms can jump pop up out of nowhere is called spontaneous generation. Spontaneous generation do not occur.

Note however that sometimes it may look like as if a new epidemic came from nowhere. The reasons is due to natural reservoir.

A natural reservoir or nidus (the latter from the Latin word for "nest") is the long-term host of a pathogen of an infectious disease.

An asymptotic carrier can be used as a natural reservoir

An asymptomatic carrier (healthy carrier or just carrier) is a person or other organism that has contracted an infectious disease, but who displays no symptoms.

These reservoirs can keep the viruses (or other pathogens) alive in while from the outside it looks like the disease has been eradicated. At some point the virus can spread again making it feel like it came out of nowhere.

[..] my confusion is on how a population gets the first instance

There is no clear first instance. Modern day measle viruses evolved from an ancestor that was not the modern day measles. Just like there was no sudden first human (or any other species). There were just ancestors that evolved to become what we now call modern day humans.

You might want to have a look at an intro course to evolutionary biology such as understanding evolution by UC Berkeley for example.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm somewhat regretful of my final close vote and I nominated for reopening based on your comment above. I think you could add to this answer a brief note on reservoir species and asymptomatic carriers, and how either can sometimes contribute to apparent outbreaks of disease from "nothing", though neither is thought to contribute in the specific case of measles. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Aug 13 '17 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause Thanks a lot for the helpful comment. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Aug 13 '17 at 18:34

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