It is interesting how times change with regard to infectious diseases. My grandmother had measles, my mother had measles, and I had measles as a kid. Many of us did! – and it was rarely an issue. My med school boyfriend’s mother had measles when she was pregnant with him. She was told he would be deaf and mentally challenged his whole life (he was neither.) Back then, measles was considered a “benign childhood disease.” It certainly can cause birth defects and serious complications but those are the rare exception, not the norm.
Many patients and their families are in a dilemma now because of a recent measles outbreak that became apparent when visitors contracted measles after visiting Disney in California in December 2014.
Measles had been declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, which means it is no longer found native in the US, but can be brought in by international travelers.
Since 2001, the number of US measles cases has topped 100 only five times and there were more than 200 cases in 2011, the CDC says.
However, last year, the number spiked to 644 cases, the agency reported.
Measles is a highly communicable respiratory disease caused by a virus and spread through the air. Measles starts with a fever, runny nose, cough, red eyes and sore throat, then progresses to a spilled paint rash, (Cough, coryza, conjunctivitis is first.)
Let’s calm some fears.
The fatality rate of measles had already fallen 100 fold before the vaccine was ever invented. We in the integrative world are not as convinced of the theory of herd immunity for protection. This believes if you vaccine a critically threshold all will be protected (But, after all many of those getting sick in CA were fully vaccinated)
So if you get sick with or without the vaccine, why bother getting it?? Public health officials and CDC can give us many reasons but there are also many valid counter arguments.
Right now, the primary reason to vaccinate is FEAR. We have been recently taught to think that measles = death. To my knowledge, there have been no deaths from this outbreak.
I checked the CDC website Feb 1, and there were no GA cases.
Ken Bock MD is a colleague of mine and vaccine cautionary; he has fairly balanced approach: http://childrenshealthchoices.org/bock.html
Sherri Tenpenny is a med school classmate and colleague of mine; after studying for 10,000 hours, she is totally against vaccination: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/are-unvaccinated-people-being-wrongly-blamed-for-new-outbreaks-that-are-due-to-faulty-vaccines/
The thing is, if you or someone in your family contacts measles, you WILL BE quarantined and potentially not able to do your life for a few weeks.
Many unvaccinated families are asking me what do to. The decision to not vaccinate certainly is harder in the face of real disease than it was when we saw no cases, and I can’t really make a decision for you. I could argue either side really well!
CFM does not carry MMR vaccines in the office and the single individual measles vaccine is indefinitely back ordered by the manufacturer. The health department (yeah, I know, uggh) may be the best place to get the measles vaccine.
If you choose to vaccinate, follow Dr. Bock’s guidelines for pretreatment with supplements, and get the vaccine at least 6 weeks before you have out of state travel.
For our family, my kids have not all been “fully” vaccinated and I am not running to get them any booster shots. We rely on good hygiene, good nutrition, good supplements, common sense, and a bit of luck and Devine guidance to keep them safe every day from a myriad of accidents and infections. We don’t let fear consume our lives, and take precautions that make sense for our family. We believe you will do the same.