The Measles Epidemic
Welcome to Healing From Within with host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit a story of spiritual awakening communication healing energies miracles and ways to know and utilize intuition for health prosperity and a less fearful life experience. Today Sheryl welcomes once again, Dr. John J. Miller to discuss what has become a threatening epidemic in modern day time: rising levels of diseases we had thought to be eradicated or at least under control.
As listeners of “Healing From Within” are well aware Sheryl and her guests share intimate stories and insights into the human condition and talk about ways to use our spiritual and intellectual knowledge creating a healthier more positive life experience. We share our understanding of the dual nature of individuals as both spiritual and physical energies who may use this awareness of higher consciousness to improve their everyday lives. In today’s episode of “Healing From Within” we will learn about the Measles Epidemic happening in the United States and other parts of the world and highlight how international travel and unvaccinated populations all over the world are a source for infection and what we need to know in order to hopefully protect our children and ourselves. We can acquaint ourselves with greater awareness of the symptoms and ways the disease is being contracted and spread, as well as what to do if you or your children should develop symptoms. U.S. measles cases in 20-19 have climbed to their highest level in 25 years in a resurgence largely attributed to misinformation that is turning parents against vaccines. New York City health officials recently reported 61 new cases pushing this year’s nationwide tally past the 667 cases reported for all of 2014. That would make 2019 the worst year for measles since 1994. What is causing the outbreak? Just how dangerous is this disease? And what do parents and others need to know? With us today to discuss the measles epidemic and answer these questions is author and pediatrician John J. Miller.
John begins the discussion by sharing with us how at five years old he contracted cancer and was hospitalized and treated and how that experience, as well as his desire to help people, intuitively and perhaps by a divine life plan lead him to know he would be a pediatrician help children and their parents through the most challenging of times.
We then fast forward to the challenges of present day reality and seek the primary cause of the measles outbreak We discover Measles is an extremely contagious viral infection caused by exposure to a person infected with the virus. Sneezing, coughing, and talking can spread it, but the virus can even live on surfaces and the air for a limited time—long enough to infect someone new. Before routine measles immunization began in the United States in 1963, there were about 3 to 4 million cases of measles each year. Though vaccination has virtually made measles a worry of the past in the United States, it is still a concern in other countries. Outbreaks all over the world still occur and those who are not immune to the virus can put themselves and others at risk
Some arguments used by people who do not believe in vaccinations begin with parental refusal of vaccines which is a growing a concern for the increased occurrence of vaccine preventable diseases in children. A number of studies have looked into the reasons that parents refuse, delay, or are hesitant to vaccinate their child(ren). These reasons vary widely between parents, but they can be encompassed in 4 overarching categories. The 4 categories are religious reasons, personal beliefs or philosophical reasons, safety concerns, and a desire for more information from healthcare providers. Parental concerns about vaccines in each category lead to a wide spectrum of decisions varying from parents completely refusing all vaccinations to only delaying vaccinations so that they are more spread out. A large subset of parents admits to having concerns and questions about childhood vaccinations. For this reason, it can be helpful for pharmacists and other healthcare providers to understand the cited reasons for hesitancy so they are better prepared to educate their patients’ families. Education is a key player in equipping parents with the necessary information so that they can make responsible immunization decisions for their children. Measles are spread in many ways. Sneezing, coughing, and talking can spread it, but the virus can even live on surfaces and the air for a limited time—long enough to infect someone new. The signs parents should be looking for include the first symptoms of a measles infection which usually are a hacking cough, runny nose, high fever, and red eyes. Kids also may have Koplik’s spots (small red spots with blue-white centers) inside the mouth before the rash starts.
The rash breaks out 3–5 days after symptoms start, sometimes along with a high fever up to 104°F (40°C). The red or reddish-brown rash usually begins as flat red spots on the forehead. It spreads to the rest of the face, then down the neck and torso to the arms, legs, and feet. The fever and rash slowly go away after a few days.
We can protect our children from measles and other diseases by being diligent about having them vaccinated. Vaccines are our best defense against infections that may have serious complications such as pneumonia, meningitis, cancer, and even death. CDC recommends vaccinations before the age of two years to protect children against 14 infectious diseases: measles, mumps, rubella (German measles), varicella (chickenpox), hepatitis A, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib), polio, influenza (flu), rotavirus, and pneumococcal disease.
Some municipalities have made it illegal to go to public places if you have not been vaccinated. States clearly have the authority to require that all children receive vaccinations. Vaccinations serve two purposes. One is to protect the health of the child, the other to protect the health of the general public. Under most state laws, failure to provide vaccinations might also be considered “medical neglect” if the vaccination is needed to protect the child from serious physical harm.
All states have mandatory vaccination laws. These are generally enforced through making vaccinations a requirement for school enrollment, including preschool and daycare. Enforcement through child welfare laws is not very common, since child protection laws generally require the threat of serious harm to the child, which may be hard to establish.
If for some reason you haven’t vaccinated your child yet you can begin a catch-up schedule designed to bring unvaccinated children up-to-date, they wonder if their plan should consider the fact that there are disease outbreaks in various parts of the country and they also may have a new baby on the way. Until their doctor is able to provide more specific guidance, they’ve reached out to our immunization community for words of wisdom, understanding and encouragement. Please note that they are not looking to be convinced whether they should, or shouldn’t, vaccinate. Rather, they’re looking for intelligent insight into how they should best get their children caught up.
While every parent has the right to make personal decisions about their children’s health care, parents need to know that not vaccinating their babies can also have scary and dangerous consequences.
Observing vaccinated children for many years to look for long-term health conditions would not be practical, and withholding an effective vaccine from children while long-term studies are being done wouldn’t be ethical. A more practical approach is to look at health conditions themselves and at the factors that cause them. Scientists are already working to identify risk factors that can lead to conditions like cancer, stroke, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. Thousands of studies have already been done looking at hundreds of potential risk factors. If immunizations were identified as a risk factor in any of these studies, we would know about it. So far, they have not.
We learn about a vaccine’s safety during clinical trials before it is licensed, and monitor it continually as millions of doses are administered after it is licensed. We also know there is not a plausible biologic reason to believe vaccines would cause any serious long-term effects. Based on more than 50 years of experience with vaccines, we can say that the likelihood that a vaccine will cause unanticipated long-term problems is extremely low.
We should know what to do if we come in contact with an infected person. First we would call our healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss exposure so special arrangements can be made for you to be seen at the office and evaluated without putting other patients and medical office staff at risk. A person infected with measles can be infectious before they have any symptoms of the disease. Your healthcare provider is the best person to determine if you are immune to measles based on your vaccination record and any medical conditions you might have.
· If you or your child are not immunized, you may be advised to stay home (quarantine) and away from work, school, and public places for 21 days to ensure you/your child do not become infected and pass measles to others. · If you have not been vaccinated, measles vaccine may help prevent disease if given within 72 hours of first exposure. Immune globulin (a blood product containing antibodies to the measles virus) may prevent or lessen the severity of measles if given within 6 days of first exposure. · If you are immunized, or have other proof of immunity to measles, you do not need to be quarantined and may continue with your normal activities.
Can a child get the disease after being vaccinated? With an inactivated (killed) vaccine, it isn’t possible. Dead viruses or bacteria can’t cause disease. With live vaccines, some children get what appears to be a mild case of disease (for example, what looks like a measles or chickenpox rash, but with only a few spots). This isn’t harmful, and can actually show that the vaccine is working. A vaccine causing full-blown disease would be extremely unlikely. One exception was the live oral polio vaccine, which could very rarely mutate and actually cause a case of polio. This was a rare, but tragic, side effect of this otherwise effective vaccine. Oral polio vaccine is no longer used in the U.S.
Should adults who have had measles or been vaccinated need to be vaccinated again? And at what point does the vaccination stop being effective? Most people born before 1957 are thought to have been infected naturally with the virus through measles outbreaks. However there are some who are not immune. Doctors can check a patient’s immunity levels with a blood test to detect antibodies that fight measles. People born before 1957 who have had the lab testing that shows they are not immune and may be at high risk should have one dose of the MMR vaccine and then a second dose 28 days later. You are at a high risk if you travel during an outbreak, are near travel hubs or destinations, or are a healthcare provider. You could be at risk if you only got one dose of the vaccine
There can be serious dangers to adults who contract measles. Some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die. As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
As a pediatrician for more than four decades Dr. Miller has seen great strides in medicine including the development of many more vaccines and suggests to parents who wants to spread out their child’s vaccinations that is a reasonable approach. No need to overstress the body nor to cause more discomfort than necessary during a doctor’s visit that could create emotional stress for the child.
Considering that rates of vaccine-preventable diseases are very low, my child is unlikely to get one of these diseases. Therefore, isn’t the benefit of vaccination also very low that’s a reasonable question. Statistically, the chances of any particular child getting measles, pertussis, or another vaccine-preventable disease might be low but, you don’t wear a seatbelt because you expect to be in a serious accident; you wear it because you want to be protected in the unlikely event that you are. If you’re never in an accident, the benefit of wearing a seatbelt might be zero. But if you are, the consequences of not wearing it can be very high. It’s the same with vaccines. Your child might never need the protection they offer, but you don’t want him to be lacking that protection if he ever does need it.
Dr. John J. Miller for participating in a most important discussion to help parents and the public in general be aware of the increasing problem of the Measles outbreak that puts so many people at risk. The last show Dr Miller recorded with me on his book The Book of Spells which piques the imagination and helps medically affected children to feel powerful in the conquering of their illness go to the radio page of my website where the show can be heard April 2020
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within, we have shared a great deal of helpful facts about the measles epidemic and indeed an understanding of why some parents are confused or afraid of vaccinating their children, simply because they don’t have the facts. Indeed, preventing contagious disease is a necessary part of living in populated areas of society such as cities, going into schools, public utilities where many people work closely, side by side. Having the knowledge and understanding the reasons for the spread of disease is advantageous so we may improve preventative medical techniques and certainly vaccinating our children and the entire population is one of those techniques. True healing is really using our mind, body and spirit to think in terms of creating the best environment for prosperity, well being and happiness. When we must suffer through the symptoms and complications of any disease, we always learn that we have an inner source of strength to heal our self if our attitude is hopeful and trusting in the science of the medical treatments and vaccines that aid us in this personal journey of well being. We thank the doctors who try to educate and lead us to making good choices.
Dr. Miller and I would hope you discuss with your doctors all options for preventing and protecting your immune system and create conditions in your home and work place that limit contracting measles or any other disease.