Wednesday 18 February 2015

MEASLES  VACCINATION:  Should it be mandatory?

Description of measles                          

Measles is a highly contagious infection caused by the measles virus. A red rash will cover the entire body. It is a flat rash that usually starts on the face then spreads to the rest of the body. Typically symptoms usually develop 10–12 days after exposure to an infected person and last 7–10 days. Two or three days after the start of its symptoms, small white spots may form inside the mouth, known as Koplik’s spots. It is fortunate that it originally starts at the face because it makes it easier to detect the onset of measles from the beginning of the infection.         

The rash is extremely itchy and causes diarrhea, a cough, runny nose, and red eyes. Ten percent of people who are infected will also suffer from severe complications that can include a fever that is often greater than 40 °C (104.0 °F), blindness, deafness, inflammation of the brain, (encephalitis), pneumonia and even death however only about 0.2% of people with measles die from measles.  in addition to 5 measles deaths in Canada since 2000, there have been 7 deaths from subacute sclerosing panencephalitis—a complication of measles. There have been only 12 deaths from measles in Canada since 1990, even though there were over 16,000 cases of this disease in the last 34 years.        

There are 24 different strains of measles of which at least 19 of them have been circulating around the world since 1990 just as easily as the flu virus. The disease is spread by coughing and sneezing. The droplets are spread in the air and for this reason, anyone in a streetcar, a subway, a bus or in any room, can catch the disease even if they are some distance from the infected person. the droplets can remain in the air of a confined space for quite a long time. This means that even if the carrier of measles has left the immediate area, his droplets are still there waiting to attack the unsuspected victims.

It follows that that the only way to protect ourselves from this disease is to be vaccinated against the virus. Once that happens, our immune system is now in a position to recognize what the virus looks like so that if the virus from an infected person is later ingested in our bodies, our immune system is in a position to recognize the virus and destroy it. This is the purpose of vaccinations which has resulted in a 75% decrease in deaths from measles between 2000 and 2013 with about 85% of children globally being currently vaccinated. It is because 15% of children are not being vaccinated against this disease that the disease is spreading.  This contagious disease was eradicated from the United States 15 years ago and then it reemerged because some parents were not permitting their children to be vaccinated  against measles. All it took was someone from outside of the US to bring the disease in and an unvaccinated child in the US caught the disease and from then on, it spread to other unvaccinated children.

People who suffered from that virus in the past are also immune from getting it again and those who were vaccinated against the disease before 1970 are in all probability, immune from the disease. That is because the adults born before 1970 were probably previously vaccinated with the vaccine for measles.  

Routine childhood immunization involves the administering two doses of measles-containing vaccine with the first dose given at 12 to 15 months of age and the second dose at 18 months of age or any time thereafter, but certainly should be given not later than before the entry of school.

However, some alarming incidents are coming to the fore. Outbreaks of measles in vaccinated children have continued and have intensified to this day. Right through the 1980s, measles outbreaks in fully vaccinated children had continued despite high vaccination rates all over the world. In 1985 and 1986, there were as many as 152 measles outbreaks in US school-age children despite the fact that those children had previously received the measles vaccine. “Every 2-3 years, there is an upsurge of measles irrespective of vaccination compliance.  This information makes me believe that those who were vaccinated before 1970 should get booster shots just to be safe especially if they are elderly.

Myths about vaccinations

Some doctors or other health care providers might misperceive certain conditions or circumstances as valid contraindications or precautions to vaccination when notwithstanding their concerns; they actually do not preclude the implementation of vaccination. These misperceptions result in missed opportunities to administer recommended various vaccines. Among the most common conditions mistakenly considered to be caused by measles are diarrhea, minor upper respiratory tract with or without fever, mild to moderate local reactions to a previous dose of measles vaccine, current antimicrobial therapy, and being in the convalescent phase of an acute illness when in fact these illnesses are not necessarily caused by the measles vaccinations. Misinformation often drives people to choose to intentionally not vaccinate their children which in my opinion, is a very big mistake.

I would be less than honest if I didn’t mention that there have been instances where people were vaccinated and did suffer reactions from the measles vaccinations but these reactions are extremely rare.  Deaths from fatal plane accidents are extremely rare when you consider how many millions of successful flights occur every year. Despite those statistics, would you then decided not to board a plane anymore or get vaccinated with the measles vaccine?  

Before the routine use of the measles vaccine (1963) and the MMR vaccine (1971), measles cases—and complications from those cases—were high. There used to be about 500,000 cases of measles and 500 measles deaths each year in the United States alone.

Current status of the measles outbreak

One would think that parents who see their children being barred from attending school and not being invited to their friend’s birthday parties would get the message that their children are being treated as outcasts and entirely because of their parents are ignorant.

As much as 60 percent of small children a kindergarten in Orange County are not vaccinated against this disease. In San Geronimo, 50 kilometres (31 miles) north of San Francisco, as many as 40 percent of students in the Lagunitas Elementary School have not been inoculated against this disease. The parental stupidity just continues to grow and grow.

Unfortunately because of parental stupidity, measles cases are now on the rise. After hitting a record low number of cases in 2004 (just 37 cases) so far, there have already been over 644 confirmed cases of measles in the U.S. in 2014—the most since 1994.

What is most concerning is that more and more cases don't seem to have a confirmed source in the United States that is easy to pinpoint, however it is believed that the outbreak started at Disneyland  and from there, it continues to spread. For this reason, the year 2015 is getting off to a very strong start already with at least 121 cases in 17 states alone.


Because measles is so contagious, it is necessary that everyone with that disease should be quarantined so that others don’t catch it. But this can create a problem not only for them but also for others. For example, the chances are that other family members in the home have breathed in the droplets carrying the measles virus from the first victim and therefore they too can be infected. How then can they buy groceries if they too are quarantined?  That solution is easy to arrive at. If at first there are no signs of an infection with any of the other family members, they should shop for enough food to last for several weeks.

I remember seeing in the 1940s, large paper posters tacked to the front doors of people who were under quarantine. That way no one other than medical personnel would come to the door. 

Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated?

I don’t care if those parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated for religious, philosophical or other stupid reasons, they are twits and their children should be removed from their homes and placed in foster care until the parents agree to have them vaccinated or until the child while in the foster care, is vaccinated against the measles virus. Those twits who refuse to vaccinate their children against diseases are not acting in the best interests of the other people in their country and that is why I believe that not only should their unvaccinated children be temporarily removed from their homes, their parents should also be heavily financially punished and for a first offence, a $5,000 penalty or an alternative, six months incarceration. For a second offence, the punishment should be a $10,000 penalty or in the alternative, one year in jail. You may consider this unnecessarily harsh but think of this following scenario.

Your next door child has measles because his parents refused to vaccinate him with the measles vaccine. He then spread the disease to ten of his classmates and one of them died as a direct result of getting the virus from your next door neighbour’s child. Another of the ten children goes to a party and he unknowingly spreads it around the room where the party is held with his coughing. Five of the children at the party have just arrived in your country and hadn’t been vaccinated so they too are carrying the virus in their systems. They unknowingly spread it to their family members who in turn spread it to others in the community who were also never vaccinated with the measles vaccine. And this is how this disease can become plague-like—because of your uncaring next-door neighbor’s indifference to the wellbeing of their child and others in your community.

A Queen’s University professor in Ontario actually conducted a class in which he advocated anti-vaccinations.  He is no longer teaching his course on health.

The Today Show  featured a mother and her unvaccinated teen who are upset that her son is being quarantined and can't go to school for up to 21 days because of the measles outbreaks in California. This stupid woman doesn’t appreciate just how serious the virus is and how her stupidity could result in her son dying from that disease. She is obviously not the only stupid parent on this continent. Thirty percent of parents polled in the province of Ontario said that they think that they should be able to decide whether or not they want their children vaccinated however, 82% of Ontarians believe that people who are against having their children vaccinated with the Measles vaccine are irresponsible.  Older people who have lived through serious illnesses caused by disease are more inclined to say that parents who don’t want their children vaccinated and therefore are irresponsible than younger people who haven’t had to suffer as much from diseases. 

 Think about this for a moment. Vaccinations of school children were mandatory in the past. If it wasn’t then some of the unvaccinated children may have died and some of those dead children wouldn’t have lived long enough to bring us the great inventions and cures of diseases that they brought to us that we now benefit from in our present era.  

In Ontario, the immunizations of all school-age children are tracked but not those youngsters who are in day care. They should be immunized as soon as possible.

We should never forget that infamous flu virus of 1918 that spread around the world killing millions of people. We have to stamp out measles just as small pox was stamped out. The eradication of measles can only be done if everyone is vaccinated against it. I mean EVERYONE. 

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