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Measles Outbreak Scares Moms

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Are unvaccinated children to blame?


The U.S. is experiencing its worst measles outbreak in 11 years with the infection of 127 people in 15 states, Reuters reports. The outbreak began when people became infected while traveling abroad. Upon their return to the U.S., they spread the disease to others, most of whom were not vaccinated.

The CDC has not received reports of any deaths in this outbreak--but affected regions include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington state, and Washington, D.C. Travelers were infected with the measles while visiting Switzerland, Israel, Belgium, Italy, India, Germany, China, Pakistan, Russia, and the Philippines.

With the rise of autism, some parents feel the innoculations are more dangerous than the illnesses they prevent, so they opt to skip them.

But Momlogic pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson warns that this could make this measles outbreak turn into an epidemic. "The MMR vaccine protects against three diseases: measles, mumps, and rubella (German measles)," she says. "The main concern about measles is the risk of brain infection: it is estimated that up to 1 in 1000 children with measles will have this severe complication which can be fatal."

"All three of these illnesses--all caused by viruses--were once commonplace. Occasionally, there would be outbreaks when tens of thousands of people became infected. Epidemics of these diseases still occur in countries outside the US where the vaccine is not available. If enough people in this country choose to be unvaccinated, epidemics could return here as well."

Do you think unvaccinated children are to blame for this measles outbreak...and are these kids a risk?

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31 comments so far | Post a comment now
Dee July 14, 2008, 4:51 PM

Yes…parent who don’t vaccinate their children are gambling that the other parents do.

Anonymous July 14, 2008, 8:50 PM

i believe it is about choice but parents should also think about adults that have not had any childhood diseases and could possible get it from an unvaccinated child. these diseases can be extremely dangerous to adults. thanks to a recent scare, i’m not comfortable being around unvaccinated children.

Anonymous July 14, 2008, 9:01 PM

OK so if the vaccines are so wonderful and work so well then the only ones who can possibly get Measles are the ones who “choose” to get measles or whatever else they don’t get the shot for by not getting the wondreful miracle shots right? My point is that if you are in favor of the vaccines then you have nothing to fear from unvaccinated people because you already have had the shots and if you choose not to be vaccinated then it is your fault if you get the disease. The shots are available to adults too so if you are scared go get a shot. Quit blaming each other for our silly fears. Choose the risk you can live with shot or disease and then live with the choice you make.

QueenBee July 14, 2008, 9:57 PM

Sorry, I would never “choose” for my 9 month old son who has yet to receive the vaccine to get measles. How do I protect him from others who “chose” to put my son at risk by NOT getting the vaccine? Do I hold them responsible for getting him sick? Do I sue them for knowingly putting my son in harm’s way if he gets sick because of some kid who contracted it because his mother didn’t “choose” for him to receive the shot?
I think its irresponsible to not vaccinate. Where is the solid proof that these vaccines cause autism? Jenny MCcartney’s mouth? She’s a scientologist. They don’t believe in medication remember. How much do you think her “advocacy” is autistic related and how much is scientologist related? Its all a hypothesis and has yet to be proven. It still stands that, scientifically, vaccines have NOTHING to do with autism.
I still stand that I will hold each and every person who “chooses” to NOT get their child vaccinated responsible if my child gets sick before he is completely innoculated. If, God forbid, it turned tragic for myself or anyone else’s child I will label you a murderer.

MamaT July 14, 2008, 11:26 PM

I do not feel my child is at risk from those that choose to not vaccinate their children. Rather, what about those, due to compromised immune systems or other medical diseases? They cannot protect themselves from an outbreak, and so that is where irresponsibility lies. I already understand that my 1 year (vaccinated and in perfect health) is protected against diseases. My fear is for those children who cannot get the protection. That is the purpose of having herd immunity, for those that cannot get a vaccination, not to protect against that are CHOOSING not to get them.

QueenBee July 15, 2008, 12:36 AM

This break out was brought on by CHOICE. The larger countries stopped getting the vaccines in which caused an outbreak overseas. Those traveling to those countries brought the virus back. Travelers knowingly going to countries NOT containing the vaccines are putting themselves at risk by choosing not to worry about getting vaccinated if they haven’t been already. That is their “choice” not to do it before travel.
You just put others who can’t receive the vaccine at a more dangerous risk if you add yourself to the disease pile by not getting vaccinated. The more people are vaccinated the less chance a lower immune system or a someone who can’t get the vaccination contracts the disease.
And yes, my son is perfectly healthy. I don’t trust those around him who’s “choice” might affect him especially since MMR isnt given to him until 15 months and even then he’s not fully innoculated until the second dose at 4 years old. Because of people’s “choices” I now get to worry about him getting the measles until he’s 4, not to mention my future children I hope to have.
You should worry about the unvaccinated child your son/daughter is playing with. At least until they are 12 any fully innoculated from all diseases. You are not 100% until all of them are administered.

soni July 15, 2008, 1:44 AM

Its not that simple. It is well known among pediatrics that mothers who are vaccinated against measles do not pass strong measle fighting antibodies to their babies against measles. Mothers who were not vaccinated against measles and breast feed pass very strong anti-measles anti-bodies to their infants. So measles among infants rose sharply in teh 10 years following large scale vaccination and is still somewhat high. Vaccination science is complicated. High rates of shingles in adults is the most recent vaccination reaction. (google it) Just hope we stay the most priveledged country in the world, so we get all the vaccines, cause otherwise we will have the most compromised immune systems in the world and really really bad disease outbreaks.

Anonymous July 15, 2008, 2:10 AM

anybody who believes vaccines have nothing to do with autism is seriously deluded, there is a plethora of studies and research done that do prove the link. i prefer to go with independent researchers because they have nothing to gain. studies done by the pharma companies and cdc have alot to lose-have any of you people read about the failure rates of these vaccines?

brandi July 15, 2008, 8:37 AM

Funny natural immunity is the best. What is wrong with getting the measles? Only a small portion of could be dangerous results. There is a much larger risk of side effects from injections. And how many adults take it upon themselves to get their booster shots? This is not the fault of unvaccinated child, its your own responsibility to update your shots.

What comes around July 15, 2008, 10:15 AM

I think the comment about suing parents of unvaccinated children is very funny - no doubt a growth industry for all those personal injury lawyers advertising on TV.

For the comment “what is so bad about measles” please see the recent story from England about their first measles death in over a decade. It is only a matter of time before we have a measles death here, and it will certainly be interesting to hear what Jenny McCarthy has to say then.

Erin July 15, 2008, 11:16 AM

In order to pass an immunity on to your breastfeeding infant, you must HAVE the immunity. If you haven’t had the measles, you don’t have the immunity and therefore are not passing anything, even a weak one, on to your child. In addition, many women seem to believe that nursing can be utilized in place of immunizations. The immunities you pass onto your child last as long as the child is nursing, not forever, and they are not infallible. And to the vaccines=autism people who refuse to listen to facts - the ingredient in vaccines (mercury) that is blamed for causing autism isn’t even in them anymore, and hasn’t been for quite some time.

Anon July 15, 2008, 11:25 AM

The choice not to vaccinate is a STUPID choice.

Roslyn Hogan July 15, 2008, 11:28 AM

I was raised in the 1950’s. I personally experienced this disease along with my peers. No one in our area died from this disease nor did any of us develop post disease issues. We all also experienced the mumps and german measles without severe consequences. The major diseases were strep throat and polio.

During this era there were no Autistic children in our school, as a matter of fact, the first case did not appear in our neighborhood until the 1970’s. The child was a very late in life baby.

Based on my personal experience, I think that the fear of disease is blown out of proportion. It is a part of nature to experience diseases to develop antibodies. Caring for ones sick children is also part of parenthood. My parents and grandparents had the skills necessary to care for us. They did not fear the diseases. They discussed with us the diseases as common health issues and what we would all need to do to stay healthy and what would happen if we became ill.

Because of the invention of penecillion many commons sense solutions to handling disease have been left behind in favor of medical intervention. Has the new medical model changed the health of children for the better? From my perspective the answer is no.

I would like to see children be allowed to experience the normal childhood illnesses with intervention only when they are sick. Everyone who is sick needs to stay home. Parents need to expect to stay home with their sick children because they are the primary focus of life.

Doctors need to understand that it is in the best interest of the general population to not prevent every illness presented. They need to accept that children must naturally develop antibodies so that they can survive in the entire world, not just at home.

Jami July 15, 2008, 11:35 AM

I have 3 children and 2 have had all of their shots. Then my cousin was diagnosed with autism. I have gotten my youngest child some of his shots, but I will not give him the MMR shot until he is older. If this is a big concern for the people pushing for immunizations. Why have they not tried to improve the MMR shot. They have know for many years that this shot can “trigger” autism. If you want to be outraged aim it in the direction to produce a safe MMR vaccine. I would rather my child have a slight chance of getting measles than a 1 in 250 chance of triggering autism. When it is your child, cousin, niece or nephew maybe you will feel differently.

Amy July 15, 2008, 12:05 PM

There is no proof that autism is linked to the MMR vaccination. These speculations are to make people feel better - somehow connect the uptick in autism to this vaccination. There is no proven correlation - ask any pediatrician.
Just because your child has been vaccinated does not mean that they are not at risk. No vaccination is 100% effective. Therefore, those children who are not vaccinated definitely put those that are vaccinated at risk.
We are lucky enough not to have seen outbreaks of measles, and I believe that is why people are so blase’ about having their children vaccinated. If we had been exposed to these terrible diseases there is no way we would opt-out of vaccinating our children.

Anonymous July 15, 2008, 1:23 PM

Of course all pediatricions are going to say that the MMR isnt linked with autism.. thats there job, to get every child vaccinated, weither its safe for your child or not.

Anonymous July 15, 2008, 3:27 PM

After living with my son’s severe autism for almost ten years, I’d take measles any day.

momof9 July 15, 2008, 3:47 PM

My children are being vaccinated but on a much different schedule because to me it is just common sense that to deliberately expose a child to 12 different diseases at the same time is obviously going to put some serious stress on their system. Some of the shots they are giving have as many as four differnent diseases all in one needle and they hope to get as many as eight in one needle in the future. It seems to me common sense that our bodies immune system is not designed to fight off that many things at one time. So we compromise and we pay extra to get the vaccines broken down and only expose our children to one or two things at a time. We do the vaccines for the most dangerous diseases like polio first and then move on to the less dangerous diseases. I do not allow my children to have any new vaccines as I (selfishly) want to see how many kids are killed by them before I let my children get the shot. I also had measles, mumps, chicken pox etc. the old fashioned way as a child. I am aware that people die from these diseases. Peaple are also dying from the shots, you can get the actual statistics at the centers for disease controls web site. Our government has even set up a fund to pay off children who are killed or damaged by the shots. These shots are not guaranteed to protect you either. So if you think your children are 100 percent guaranteed not to get something just because of a vaccine you are fooling yourself. My pediatrician also told me at first that the shots were 100 percent safe but when I asked him to sign a form saying that he personally guarantees that the shots are safe and will protect my chidlren from all the disease they are meant to protect them from and that if anything happened to my children as a result of the shots he would be personally liable… he refused to even consider signing the form and decided that maybe there were a few concerns to think about and that my idea of spreading the shots out might be a better idea. Now he hands out a form with the risks and benefits of each vaccine to parents because he said he started to seriously consider the liability he was putting himself under by telling parents the lie that the vaccines are 100 percent safe and 100 percent effective. Anyway this is working for us.

Concerned Mom July 15, 2008, 11:13 PM

We have been brought up to believe that vaccinations keep us safe. It seems more like a scare tactic than actual fact. We vaccinate because society and our doctors tell us that we should. Other posters have said that there is no proof that vaccinations cause autism… but there actually is no concrete proof that the vaccinations “don’t” cause autism. Everyone should educate themselves about the vaccines. Do you know the ingredients in all of the vaccines that you are getting for your children? Does formaldehyde and monkey liver sound like ingredients that you want injected into your infant? Formaldehyde is a poison… who gets to decide what degree of poison is safe to inject into an infant? I do… for my infant at least.

Deanna July 16, 2008, 4:14 AM

When I was pregnant with my first child I was shocked to learn that, even though I was vaccinated for MMR as a child in the late ’60s, I was one of an unlucky group of people who needed to be revaccinated. Suddenly I found myself pregnant and lacking immunity from measles which can be extremely harmful to the fetus even causing miscarriage. I also couldn’t receive a new vaccine until after I gave birth. It gave me a very different perspective on parents who don’t vaccinate. Every unvaccinated child (and adult) suddently became a very real and very scary threat to my unborn baby. The worst part was knowing that people are contagious for an upwards of two weeks before ever showing signs of the disease. Anyone who thinks there is nothing wrong with getting the measles is extremely nieve.

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