I’ve mentioned before that I do not have immunity to measles. I’ve had at least 12 MMR vaccinations and I’ve had measles. Despite that, when I started college at the University of Missouri they demanded a titer test be done… After all, I got measles when I was 7, despite being vaccinated. It came back that I did not have immunity to measles. Another round of MMRs was given (I was 25 at the time). Then I was tested again and again, I still didn’t have immunity.
In 1987 when I got measles, I was forced to get another round of MMRs before I was allowed to return to school. I don’t remember much about having measles. My sister who is 10 years older than me, got measles first. She had moved out and was living with a few other girls when she came down with measles. She came home so mom could take care of her and then I got measles too.
I don’t remember much about having measles. I remember I was miserable. I remember rolling over in my mom’s bed and vomiting in a bucket. That is literally my only memory from the 6 days I was sick.
I bring it up because the states of Washington and Oregon are dealing with a measles outbreak. Right now there are 23 confirmed cases, all of them unvaccinated children. Thankfully, I don’t live in either of those states. Right now, I’m on a state registry. When a case of measles is confirmed in Missouri, I get an email warning me about it.
Why would any agency go to such trouble? Measles can be fatal to children and adults. And despite the multitude of MMRs and having measles, I can’t fight the virus that causes it. I can fight rubella (aka: 3-day measles, German measles, and walking measles), but not the true measles virus (aka 7-Day measles). I’m phobic of unvaccinated people as a result.
At least 14 children in my sphere of existence have autism. None of the parents of these children believe vaccines caused it. Most of these parents believe it is the result of genetics, not environment. And at least 3 of these people have multiple children with autism, which seems to strengthen the idea that the cause is likely genetic.
I consider parents who don’t vaccinate their children to be selfish. I say this as a child who had measles. Even if I don’t remember it well, I do remember being miserable. I had terrible nightmares while sick with measles. I didn’t have nightmares before that as far as I can remember. And I never stopped having terrible nightmares after I recovered. I remember the doctor calling them “fever dreams” when I was a kid and him telling my mom that nightmares in feverish children is common. As an adult, I believe measles to be part of the cause behind my adult nightmares. I’ve talked to other people who had measles as children who also have terrible nightmares as adults, including my sister. Along with nightmares, all these people are vivid dreamers just like myself.
Measles can cause brain damage in children due to the high fever. The rash can cause skin deformities and scarring (not pitted scarring like chicken pox, but red raised scarring patches that looks not unlike eczema). Internal organs can be damaged, again thanks to the high fever involved. Pneumonia and encephalitis (swelling of the brain) are also fairly common complications of measles. Scarring of the bronchial tubes (measles is primarily a respiratory virus) can occur and follow the child for the rest of their lives. It can damage the esophagus and the sphincter that controls the entrance of the stomach as vomiting is very common with measles. Furthermore, it can cause a person to go deaf. And I’ve already mentioned it can be fatal.
I get that we all like a good conspiracy theory and we love to think scientists, doctors, and the government are intentionally trying to eliminate us. However, do any of these things make the risk of measles in a child worth it?
I think this is worse because most anti-vaxxing parents are vaccinated. They were vaccinated as children, didn’t develop autism, and have never had to endure the illnesses they are forcing their children to risk getting.
Then there are people like me. There are people who no matter what cannot develop immunity to a certain disease. Measles is one of those diseases that becomes contagious before symptoms begin. Measles can actually be contagious nearly 7 days before symptoms begin. And because the person with measles doesn’t have symptoms, they are out and about (school, the store, the street, etc), exposing others who may not have immunity to the disease the person is about to come down with.
I have wondered if someone could sue over such a thing. If I came down with measles as the result of being exposed at the grocery store to a child with measles as the result of a parent refusing to vaccinate against it, could I sue the parent for putting my health and life at risk? I also wonder if we shouldn’t force these parents to endure the diseases they are risking their children get. I find it hard to believe that anyone who has endured measles would risk their child getting measles if they understood how awful it truly was. Or whooping cough or diphtheria (I haven’t had these, but I believe they would be just as awful as measles).