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Measles Outbreak: Is Measles REALLY So Scary?

admin March 14, 2014

Image by USACE European 

Ah, yes, here comes the fear tactics, yet again.

There’s currently an measles outbreak in New York City.  This “outbreak” consists of just 16 cases so far.  We don’t know, from the news reports, how many of these people were vaccinated and how many were not.  We do know that four have been hospitalized.  There have been no deaths and no instances of permanent disability reported.

Naturally, the unvaccinated are being blamed for the outbreak.

But hmm…we don’t know how many of these people actually were unvaccinated.  So that means, these people could all be fully or partially vaccinated.  And if that’s true…how do we blame it on the unvaccinated, exactly?

As usual, it doesn’t make any sense.  People are jumping the gun, reporting things that aren’t true (or at least aren’t known for sure) and are using it to drive fear and anger towards those who don’t vaccinate.  I am so very tired of this.  Enough with the scare tactics and bullying!

Let’s find out…is measles really so scary?

Typical Media Pronouncements — Is Measles Really So Scary?

First, you should know — I’m not here to tell that you shouldn’t vaccinate your kids.  Or that you should.  I actually trust you, as a parent, to make that call yourself.  You don’t need me (or anyone) to bully you into making a particular decision.  I trust you have a brain, that you use it, and that you know your family best.

So here are the plain facts right now:

  • 16 people have the measles in New York City
  • 7 adults, 9 children
  • We don’t know how many were vaccinated, fully or partially
  • 4 were hospitalized
  • No deaths, permanent disability, or serious complications have been reported

That’s it.  That’s all we know.  From this information, we can’t make the leap that “unvaccinated people did it.”  That’s just an easy place to go, since society hates unvaccinated people (needlessly, ridiculously).

It is true that in 2013, most of the people who got measles were unvaccinated (about 82%, according to the CDC).  But it’s also true that only around 10% were hospitalized, and no incidents of permanent disability or death were recorded (in over 150 cases).

What we know, from the actual facts, is that measles is very contagious, does seem to be more common in unvaccinated people, and is not dangerous.  “Danger” being measured by “serious complications or death” — of which there were none.

But, of course, the media, specifically the rabid pro- vaccine pushers, are not interested in facts.  They’re only interested in bullying.  And so, with no evidence, they’ve pronounced that this is the fault of the unvaccinated.  With terribly rude, negative language and no actual information, I choose to ignore them outright.

Is a Measles Really So Scary?

What we need to know now is, just how scary is measles?

We know that measles is highly contagious, so that if you are vulnerable to it (unvaccinated, vaccine has worn off, etc.) you are likely to get it, if you come across it.  But catching it doesn’t make it scary.  It’s how sick you may get, what may happen to you.  What will that look like?

Measles typically has an incubation period of 14 – 21 days.  It starts with 2 – 4 days of moderate to high fever (may be as high as 105), along with cough and runny nose.  After this, the characteristic rash begins.  The rash lasts for 5 – 6, spreading from top to bottom, then disappearing in the same order.

Complications in “some form” occur about 30% of the time.  (This is all complications, not “severe” complications as some of the recent reporting claimed.)  Here is what complications looked like (in a CDC report from 1985 – 1992):

  • 8% had diarrhea
  • 7% had ear infections
  • 6% had meninigitis
  • 0.1% had encephalitis (15% of people with this complication died, and about 25% had lasting neurological symptoms)
  • 0.2% died

So, we see that out of 1000 cases, 80 people would have diarrhea, 70 people would have ear infections, 60 people would have meninigitis, 1 would have encephalitis, and 2 would die.  The remaining 787 people would have no issues and would come through the measles just fine.  Approximately 3 out of 1000 people would have “serious” complications or death.

EDITAfter looking at statistics from recent measles outbreaks in Europe which consist of thousands of cases, it seems that the CDC has vastly overstated the risk of death.  Out of 26,000 cases in Europe, just 9 people died.  This places the risk at fewer than 1 in 2000, or over 6 times less than the CDC’s quoted statistic.

AND — According to this CDC document (skip to page 85), between 1950 and 1960, there was less than 1 death per 100,000.  The population in 1950 was around 150 million, and there were around 3 – 4 million cases per year.  So we can figure that there were around 45 deaths annually from measles, which is 0.00001%, or about 1 in 100,000.

From 2001 – 2011, there were 911 cases of measles reported.  Including 2012 and 2013, that number rises to 1153 cases.  There were no deaths during this time period.

From that, we can assume that 1 – 2 in 1000 is possibly the highest that measles deaths will reach in a developed country, with easy access to medical care.  

We also know that vitamin A status has a lot to do with measles complications.  In one study, measles mortality was decreased by 62% with at least two doses of vitamin A (after the patient was admitted to the hospital with complications).  In another study, death rate was reduced from 5% to 1.6%, as well as shortening hospital stay and need for intensive care.

The point is, if you get measles, you have a 99.7% chance of pulling through just fine, with no permanent disability or death.  You have a 94% chance of not even needing to be hospitalized.  And supposing you get severe measles, high dose vitamin A supplementation is very effective in reducing mortality and severe complications.

Removing the Fear of Measles Outbreaks

Yes, I know, if you’re in that 0.3% of people who do suffer serious complications or death (or your child is), there’s probably nothing anyone can say to convince you measles isn’t terrifying.  Because in that case, it is!  Just know that it is highly unlikely that you will be “that person.”

Honestly?  There’s risk to everything.  There’s risk to getting measles.  There’s risk to getting the MMR.  There’s risk to driving your car.  Your chances of getting in a car accident are probably greater than your chances of getting seriously ill with measles.

There’s absolutely no way to remove all risk.  We can’t say, “If you do x, y, and z, then you will no longer have a risk of measles, or no longer have a risk of complications.”  It just isn’t the way that life works!  But as I said, there is risk to the vaccine too.   And the vaccine doesn’t fully remove your risk of catching measles, either.

It depends on what risk you are more comfortable taking — the vaccine, or the disease itself.  But to make that decision, you should have accurate numbers and a realistic sense of what could happen, either way.

So here it is.  The real numbers, the real risk.  Ignore the fear tactics and decide for yourself.

What do you think — is measles really so scary?  Are you tired of the bullying?

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50 Comments

  1. Thank you for this post! I really appreciate all of the level-headed, evidence-based reasoning you provide, especially in the face of so much angry hype.

    Reply

    • Thankyou for this well written and well informed post. I agree that each family should have the FREEDOM and the RIGHT to choose their own path and not be chastised or bullied in any way. Whether they vaccinate or not, choose a delayed schedule for their children, pick and choose carefully WHICH vaccines are necessary or NOT..in my opinion, there are some vaccines that are over and above what is necessary (for our family) because we are healthy and do not, thankfully, have compromised immune systems. I cannot speak for any other families or opinions or values of others. I can ONLY speak for myself and my husband. I am a healthy,(vaccinated in the nineties and 00’s on the regular schedule) Canadian mother of two boys, and the schedule and INGREDIENTS have changed drastically since I was vaccinated in elementary and highschool. My husband and I have not, and will not be getting any Booster shots in our adult lives unless medically necessary. We choose not to get a flu shot as, in my opinion and age health, etc, do not deem necessary. We are always seeking out more information, more sources, trusted health care practitioners like registered homeopaths and homeopathic medicine, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, aromatherapists, Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional Japanese Shiatsu techniques, clean and natural (organic whenever possible within our food budget) and very healthy diets for our boys. We avoid “conventional” meats and dairy as we do not need extra hormones and chemicals, preservatives and salt. If ever possible we lean towards the old fashioned way, not necessarily what all the other families are doing just for the sake of “fitting in”. We do not suppress fevers with Tylenol unless the reach a dangerous level in which we would administer and take them to the hospital for further information and care. Fevers are natural. Our bodies are amazing at fighting viruses and infections naturally. To a point, of course! We monitor very closely and if fevers reach a dangerous level then we take different measures to keep our children safe and comfortable.
      If my children (or myself which doesn’t happen often And I was not sick as a child)are sick, I keep them home with me. If their friends are sick, we keep them away from each other. That’s just common sense, in my opinion. I feel like a lot of people are in a emotional, negative, reactive and defensive state at all times in their lives and I feel like that is very hard on a society. Let’s care about each other, let’s support our neighbours and our friends even if they have different opinions than us! We are all one and we need to act that way. The sooner we start opening our arms and our hearts, the sooner our world will see a shift. We will start caring about mother earth and our water table and treating animals humanely and with respect. Clean healthy meats and fresh vegetables should be a normal! Farm to table not sitting on a shelf full of junk and thrown away because it’s outdated (when other families are starving) This should be a global concern. Not who got what vaccine and who didnt.

      Reply

  2. Well written and thank you! The only piece of information I would add is to compare risks – can you share the risk of injury from the MMR vaccine. That way people can see these are my chances of getting the measles and this is my chance of having a vaccine injury from the MMR. I did this calculation for myself, but I don’t want to influence your data or calculations. I know it is asking a lot for that additional piece of the puzzle. But many news sites report that the risk for side effects from the vaccine are LOW. Well what is low? Is it lower than the risk for getting the measles. I put my risk numbers as X in one million and calculated them from the US Department of Health and Human Services. They report the numbers for injury and death from the MMR over a range of years so I just took an average. The risks are low, but that means we shouldn’t be freaking out about an epidemic. Thanks again for sharing!

    Reply

    • When I was 15, I had the MMR to go to school after being homeschooled. Within a week I had measles and mumps, as diagnosed by a doctor. My dad said, “I thought the vaccine was supposed to *prevent* this!”

      You know the really astonishing thing? We didn’t begin to question/ reject vaccines (kids all older by then) for about 10 more years or so.

      Helps put it in perspective for me when others aren’t ready to see yet.

      Reply

  3. Thanks for a great post to counter the ridiculous hysteria over anti-vax parents. 🙂 I will be sharing this with my mommy friends!

    Reply

  4. What a great article. I love how you break down the facts. I think it’s terrible how the media constantly tries to make the unvaccinated looked like the culprits, when in reality it can also be the vaccinated as well. The media cherry picks facts in order to get their agenda across, which is to bully the non-vaccinating parents into submission. And then there are the brainwashed people who also bully their known non-vaccinating friends. It’s terrible and completely uncalled for.
    And the #1 argument that bothers me the most that the pro-vaxers us is that we have to think of the poor babies and children who are either too young or have health issues that can’t receive a vaccine. HELLO…the MMR, chickenpox, whooping cough and flu mist vaccines all contain live viruses, which shed from days to weeks the very virus that they have been vaccinated against. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black for spreading diseases.
    Thanks for writing such great posts. I love when you break it down.

    Reply

  5. Are you kidding me? What a horrible thing to do, saying “how dangerous is measles, really?”

    I understand that you want people to make their own choice but the only facts you’ve brought to the table in this article are about what the measles is capable of doing, absolutely nothing about the vaccine. The measles is an entirely unpleasant disease and it completely preventable. If it’s not such a big deal then please explain to me why the United States has taken steps to eradicate it over so many years.

    Why even risk death?? The attitude of “oh it hasn’t really happened in years so how could it happen to me or my child?” is one of the most fallacial assertions I’ve heard in a long time.

    If you’re reading this post-article, please understand that I am pro-vaccine, but I am writing this to let you know that if you do choose to not vaccinate your children then you absolutely must NOT do it because the measles “isn’t so bad.”

    Look up better facts for yourself about possible dangers of the vaccine, if there are any, and preferably find a website that isn’t run by modern moms and doesn’t let just anybody contribute. Find a .gov source, find a .edu source. Please, if you’re going to swim against the tide of your responsibility to keep society safe and this disease eradicated, do it with harder evidence.

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    • The crux of your comment: “Why even risk death??”

      There is NO escaping the risk of death, no matter what. Vaccines come with a risk of death, too. If vaccines were perfectly safe, no risk, then it would be silly not to take them. But they DO. Why do pro-vaccine people keeping ignoring that? You act like if you take the vaccine, you’re protected from death, and if you don’t, you’re at high risk. This is simply untrue!

      “Look up better facts for yourself about possible dangers of the vaccine, if there are any”

      Are you kidding? If there are any? More evidence that you have no clue what you are talking about. Please go look at the package insert of ANY vaccine for potential risks (there are lots): http://www.vaccinesafety.edu/package_inserts.htm

      Just for MMR (http://www.merck.com/product/usa/pi_circulars/m/mmr_ii/mmr_ii_pi.pdf): “Panniculitis; atypical measles; fever; syncope; headache; dizziness; malaise; irritability; Vasculitis; Pancreatitis; diarrhea; vomiting; parotitis; nausea; Diabetes mellitus; Thrombocytopenia (see WARNINGS, Thrombocytopenia); purpura; regional lymphadenopathy; leukocytosis; Anaphylaxis; Arthritis; arthralgia; myalgia; Encephalitis; encephalopathy; measles inclusion body encephalitis (MIBE) (see CONTRAINDICATIONS); subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE); Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS); acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM); febrile convulsions; afebrile convulsions or seizures; ataxia; polyneuritis; polyneuropathy; ocular palsies; paresthesia.”

      Is that a long and scary enough list for you?

      Not so simple anymore, is it?

      Reply

      • While you do make a good point that vaccinations come with their own set of risks, side of effects, and complications, you leave out two crucial points.

        1) The probability of having a severe risk from a vaccine is less than the probability of having a severe risk from measles.
        You cited the numbers for measles; however, you did not cite the numbers for vaccines.
        As you said, studies show that 1-2 in 1000 people will die from measles. For the sake of your argument, if we want to be on the more conservative side, we could say the risks are 1 in 100,000. But the serious risks from the vaccine (e.g. encephalitis or Guillan-Barre Syndrome) are 1 – 4 per 1,000,000 (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vac-gen/side-effects.htm#mmr). Why would you choose the option with the higher risk of serious complications?

        2) Another crucial point you have left out is that there are many people who would very much want to get the vaccine but are unable to because they are seriously immunocompromised (meaning their bodies’ defenses are too low for them to handle certain medications including vaccines). People who are immunocompromised are people with cancer, older patients (usually over the age of 75 years), people with HIV, and a score of other diseases that affect people’s immune systems or bodies’ defenses. One way to help these people is to reduce the risk of transmission. This means utilizing known methods to lower the risk of us spreading the illness. I know you talked about keeping your kids at home when they are sick, but you yourself described the pathology of measles and the fact that it has an incubation period. During this incubation period, you do not know you are sick and yet you still spread the disease. The best way to prevent you from getting sick in the first place is vaccination.
        Speaking of risks and probabilities, if immunocompromised patients do get sick, they have a much larger chance of suffering severe consequences such as encephalitis. We can help prevent this from happening by getting vaccinated.

        Given the probabilities and numbers and what I would hope would be a feeling of compassion towards people who have it much worse off than you do due to illness, why would you not want to get your children vaccinated?

        Reply

        • Hi Dora,

          1) I updated the statistics with new data to show that serious complications are actually much rarer than 1 – 2 in 1000. They’re more like 1 in 10,000 or less. And I believe vaccine reactions are much, much more common than reported. When you take these into consideration, it’s not a clear picture which is riskier.

          2) I address herd immunity in a few other posts, but basically, I’m not taking a risk with my child’s health on the tiny chance that it might, possibly, some day protect someone else. I would do things that don’t risk my child’s health (like keeping them home if I know or think they’re sick — a MUCH bigger deal, really), but I won’t take a risk.

          Reply

          • I can understand your second point.

            For your first point though, what evidence do you have to support it? I would like to say that I’m not trying to push you towards vaccination. I’m trying to understand how you make this decision. As I said, the numbers show that the risk of death from measles is higher than the risk of death from vaccination. You mentioned that you believe that the risks from vaccination are under-reported. Where did you get this information from? In response to Becky’s comment, I will provide studies that show that the risk of Guillan-Barre syndrome is very low.

          • I recently found an article by the physician and researcher Alexander Langmuir, who wrote an article detailing mortality rates from measles in the late ’50s. At that time in the U.S., among children over three, the death rate was less than one per 10,000 cases of measles. In one and two year olds it was two per 10,000. In infants in the first year it was a little over four in 10,000. Langmuir observes that measles was rare in the first six months because babies born to mothers that had had the natural disease 99% of women at that time) protected their babies through placental immunity. At that time breastfeeding wasn’t common, but if it had been, it would have protected children for as long as it continued. Dr. Michaela Glockler thinks that the apparently higher death rates from measles now, if the figures are true (and they probably aren’t) would be because it’s routine now to give fever reducers like Tylenol to lower any fever, and doing that hampers the body’s efforts to save your life. Fevers should not be interfered with. The patient should be allowed to pull up covers or push them back as he likes. Measles patients should stay in bed throughout the illness until the fever is gone, well-hydrated. They should take appropriate doses of vitamin A (which halves the death rate in the Third World and prevents damage to the eyes). And measles patients should stay quiet at home for three weeks after the rash appears, as their immune system is lowered for that long, leaving them vulnerable to the real danger, secondary infections.

      • I am always mystified that people think that going to a .gov website is where you will find the facts regarding an issue that has the probability of being swayed by lobbiests. Pharmaceutical companies spend MILLIONS on their efforts and they are quite effective.
        Go to sites that don’t benefit financially and you will get much better info.

        Reply

    • Randy, Randy, Randy. I hope you aren’t “bullying” her. In situations of pro vs anti vaxers you have to stop because the anti movement refuses to listen to reason or engage in intellectual scientific debates. At the end of the day you just have to hope they don’t ever have to see their child suffer from a perfectly preventable illness because of their idiotic choices. I couldn’t care less where they take their children as mine are safe from whatever nasty they are toting around however I do not typically associate with these families as my friends need to show a little more intellect and I’m assuming you are the same. Being a mom and a blogger doesn’t make you a doctor. Or smart.

      Reply

      • Heh. You want to talk about bullying and then you leave me this comment. So silly. “whatever nasty they are toting around” and “being a mom and a blogger doesn’t make you a doctor. or smart.” I love it. Brilliant. This entire comment is edgy and trying to put me in my place.

        Reply

      • Well given your attitude it sounds like perhaps you should avoid human contact altogether. Given that adult vaccination rates are extremely low, vaccine efficacy rates vary, and the vaccinated can still carry some of theses diseases, really you need to start tightening up your circle. Better quickly titer your kids and everyone else that comes into your home. Maybe you’d like to offer an IQ test too.

        Reply

    • Find a .gov site? Provaxers are always idiots like you who trust their government. Once you wake up and realize the government is NOT on your side then you will never understand.

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  6. Thanks for your post. Of course, you homeschool so its not like your kids sit in a classroom, which is a notorious incubator for illness. And, while your kids may or may not (I suspect not) why protect them from a VERY uncomfortable illness. In fact, why give them any kind of medicine when they’re sick. Why use seat belts, car seats, helmets while riding a bicycle. Now, I’m sure you’ll claim I’m catastrophising, making inexact analogies. That’s all fine and you’re entitled to your opinion. But you’re NOT entitled to bring your unvaccinated kids around other kids and increase the chance that they get sick, so keep your kids at home!

    Reply

    • This is just silly — do you think unvaccinated children are disease carriers? My responsibility to society is to keep my kids home if they are sick, or if I know/suspect they’ve been exposed. Otherwise, they’re as welcome to participate in society as anyone else. Do you believe that vaccines are the ONLY way to prevent against disease? Or prevent against complications? Your comment would suggest you do. That’s also wrong, and silly. And yes, your argument that I should not use seatbelts, etc. is ridiculous. What possible harm do seatbelts or helmets cause my children? None. There is no risk to using them, and great risk to avoiding them. Whereas vaccines come with risk to use them. Silly.

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      • In the sixties I and my four siblings contracted measles.So did a lot of my friends. As soon as we were getting sick we were kept home. We wore sunglasses ( I’m told it makes one’s eyes light-sensitive). We were also told it was better to get measles as a kid because contracting it as an adult was much more serious. In about three or four days we were done. Seemed like no big deal to us. Why is it now?

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        • It’s a big deal now because, ironically, people don’t know what these diseases were like and are much MORE scared of them than they ought to be. They accuse “anti-vaxxers” of the opposite.

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          • It is a big deal now because there is a vaccine to sell.

            Now we have watched chickenpox go from a minor rite of passage to a deadly disease. What next?

      • Measles vaccines are about 95 percent effective when given to children. That leaves a 5 percent chance that kids who are vaccinated will contract measles. This means that no matter what, the disease still poses a public health risk, but we rely on others to get vaccinated to hugely reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. That’s the process known as herd immunity.
        Unvaccinated children threaten the herd. Take the San Diego measles outbreak of 2008. After unknowingly contracting the disease on a trip to Switzerland, an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy infected 11 other unvaccinated kids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of the cases occurred in kids whose parents had requested personal belief exemptions (or PBEs) through the state of California, one of 17 states to allow them. But three of the infected were either too young or medically unable to be vaccinated. And overall, 48 children too young to be vaccinated were quarantined, at an average cost to the family of $775 per child. The CDC noted that all 11 cases were “linked epidemiologically” to the 7-year-old boy and that the outbreak response cost the public sector $10,376 per case.
        “One can make a legitimate, state-sanctioned choice not to vaccinate,” the bioethicist Arthur L. Caplan and his co-authors write, “but that does not protect the person making that choice against the consequences of that choice for others.” Since epidemiologists today can reliably determine the source of a viral infection, a parent who decides not to vaccinate his kid and thus endangers another child is clearly at fault and could be charged with criminally negligent homicide or sued for damages.
        The belief that the MMR vaccine causes autism goes back to a 1998 study published in the Lancet by a British gastroenterologist named Andrew Wakefield. In 2010, after years of criticism, the journal finally retracted Wakefield’s study, announcing that it was “utterly clear, without any ambiguity at all, that the statements in the paper were utterly false.” Britain’s General Medical Council later revoked Wakefield’s medical license, noting that he’d failed to disclose his role as a paid consultant to lawyers representing parents who thought vaccines had harmed their kids. The CDC makes clear there is no connection between vaccines and autism.
        Yet this dangerous idea persists. Often, it persists among people who are simply doing what they think is best for their kids. Which is why it’s necessary to take extra measures to ensure nonvaccinators understand the risk they pose to other people’s children.

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    • hahahaha!

      My child is unvaccinated. She goes to public school. While all of her classmates over the past two years have had hand foot mouth, stomach virus, fever virus, colds, flu, etc, she has only been excused from school for family vacations. (READ: MY CHILD IS NEVER SICK.) She is around these illnesses all the time in that cesspool called public school and very, very rarely does she come down with even the common cold.

      Yes, I’m entitled to take my unvaccinated child wherever I wish. If your vaccines work so well, you shouldn’t be afraid of my perfectly healthy child bringing your child some sort of illness.

      Also, are you up-to-date on all of your adult boosters? If not, by your definition, you’re spreading the illnesses as well.

      Good day!

      Reply

    • Lol… Wayne you prove yourself wrong buddy.. If vaccines do what you claim they do then why would you care, or why should it matter if unvaccinated children came around your vaccinated children. You should be protected right?

      You know what Wayne… Never mind haha

      Reply

  7. Thank you so much for this post! I did the same research myself when deciding whether or not to vaccinate my son, and had the same findings: that my son was at a significantly higher risk of having an adverse reaction to a vaccine than he was at risk for even contracting, let alone suffering complications from, the disease it was designed to prevent. I’m so sick of people freaking out over this decision, like I’m sentencing my child to death by refusing to stick a needle in his arm, when all they do is listen to the fear-mongering promoted on any given media source instead of actually doing any research for themselves. If you do the research and decide vaccines are the safer way to go, good for you. But I did the research (and strictly through the CDC’s website, not even through any anti-vaccine venues) and the MATH and STATISTICS that were reported by the CDC (which even inflates their numbers to compensate for poor reporting) indicate that my son is safer remaining unvaccinated and on a healthy diet than he is having a vaccine injected in his arm, especially when I suffered a complication from a vaccine which resulted in immediate hospitalization. We don’t live in a part of the world that faces disease in the water we drink, or where we don’t have access to basic healthcare. Use your brains, live healthy, and stop relying on medication and doctors to give you a “cover-all” (which a vaccine is not) for living an unhealthy lifestyle.

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  8. Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I wish more parents would take the time to research and learn not just about the immediate side effects of vaccines, but also the ones that are now being linked to vaccines and show up delayed. How about gut health and vaccines? Many, many children these days do not have healthy guts and getting vaccinated in that situation can add to complications immediately and down the road. I would love to see more parents focusing on building their children’s immune systems and feeding them a healthy, whole foods diet.

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  9. When forced, I tell people I don’t vaccinate for benign diseases nor those associated with bad outcomes (high risk). Specifically I did vaccinate for polio (dead) and tetanus. When forced, I say it’s because I don’t like to mess with the delicate immune system about which we know little. Someone recently said “Really, you think doctors don’t know about the immune system?” Well, last week my son with a thyroid condition was seeing his endocrinologist and because I’d been reading many books on Graves disease I asked him if he would check my son’s magnesium, D, B12 and iron levels. He said he would not because he wouldn’t know what to do with the results. Well, I had them done myself, he was EXTREMELY low on all, not even in the ranges, and so, even without a medical degree, I’ve been supplementing to bring the levels up. Yep, I figured that out all by myself! Just saying, there’s MUCH that doctors don’t know about.

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    • I am very sorry to hear about your unfortunate clinic visit. May I ask if your child was seeing a pediatric endocrinologist or a adult/pediatric one? Pediatric endocrinologists often have more insight into a childs complex endo problems. May I ask if your son has a vegetarian diet? B12 levels that are extremely low are concerning for things other than hypothyroidism. Supplementation is often fruitless because B12 takes a very long time to deplete from your body. So much so that if you removed all b12 from your diet (as it is in most things) it would take years to deplete. Is he experiencing and neurological manifestations of the EXTREMELY low B12? Were the references ranges pediatric or adult? Vitamin B12 values in the 0- to 1-year age group are nearly double those in the 13- to 18-year age group. For female subjects, the values in the 0- to 1-year age group are 168 to 1116 pmol/L and in male subjects are 216 to 891 pmol/L. At 13 to 18 years, for female subjects the values are 158 to 637 pmol/L and for male subjects, 134 to 605 pmol/L. I have devoted a significant portion of my life to medicine and your hubris is quite insulting. Yes there are lots of holistic things we don’t know about but there are lots of things we do know about in medicine. I don’t know what dark hole of the internet you get your facts from but not every doctor is out to fool or deceive you. What happened to you in your life that made you so untrusting of science? I am so passionate about this because my dad had a sister who died of measles encephalitis who I never got to meet because even in America his family was too poor to get vaccines. Think about how insensitive your comments are.

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  10. This article makes me feel bullied.

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  11. My baby cousin got the measles (lives in California) from the vaccine. She got the disease from the very thing meant to “protect” her from said disease. I know we all know this can happen. But my point is… my vaccinated cousin got the measles from the shot. It’s not the fault of the unvaxed in her case for sure.

    Great post, btw. 🙂

    Reply

  12. Dear Kate:
    I will not argue any science here; this is clearly a biased website, and I respect your right to be such. However, I would like to point out that, when you speak of “scare tactics,” you are employing the EXACT SAME THING.
    Additionally, when you say “I’m not telling you whether or not to vaccinate your children,” of COURSE you are telling the reader NOT to vaccinate.
    Look, unlike you, I don’t purport to being a writer. When you post your musings all over the internet, however, please try to be a little more honest.

    Reply

    • Hi Dave,

      This is interesting. You claim that when I say “I’m not telling you whether or not to vaccinate your children” that “of course” I am telling them not to vaccinate? Please explain to me how my words should be taken literally in the opposite way than they are written? If that’s somehow what you got from it, then you are mistaken.

      Reply

      • I’ve been reading your vaccination posts recently and they have brought to my attention some things I may have never thought of and I thank you for that. However, I have still chosen to vaccinate my children. Even though you say that it is completely my choice, reading through these posts does make me feel guilty for choosing to vaccinate. I realize you are just stating the facts but it is also a subject that you are passionate about which is portrayed through your writing. I would not say that I am a pro-vaccine or anti-vaccine person. I honestly still don’t know how I feel about them and posts like this (especially the comments, which I often get sucked into and regret it every time) don’t really help. And maybe that’s not your intention… It’s very hard to find a truly unbiased research-based opinion on the subject, which is something I would appreciate. I simply wish that everyone could be respected for the decisions that they make whether they choose to vaccinate or not, and I think in another post I read that that is your intention, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Hmm, I think my point is that I can see what Dave is saying. But I will keep reading with an open mind!!

        Reply

        • Hi Ashley,

          I absolutely welcome people here, whether they choose to vaccinate or not. And I will not allow people to trash others for choosing to vaccinate because it works for them.

          My own view point will come through, though, and I do tend to get passionate, especially when people call me names. I’ve been often called stupid, nut job, uneducated, baby killer, etc. I try very hard to take a breath and step away where needed (and use that handy ‘delete’ button on the really bad stuff) but sometimes my frustration shows. It’s not my intention but I’m human too.

          I agree, everyone needs to respect others and all them to make their own decisions!

          Reply

  13. I find it odd that people keep assuming that Kate has no knowledge about anything and is just randomly coming up with an opinion that is based on nothing. Why would you assume she doesn’t know what she’s talking about? I don’t know Kate “in real life” but she seems like an intelligent person who is not uninformed. I myself have been researching these topics over the last few years and have found Kate’s words to be true. I have looked into multiple reliable sources and I know several other people who have come up with the same information. We (the people who don’t vax) might not be doctors but we are not uninformed. We are the ones who are doing the research ourselves rather than just blindly swallowing what other people tell us. No, being a mom or a blogger doesn’t make us smart, doing the research does. Being a mom means I care enough about my child to understand everything going into his body. The bullies only bully because that’s the only weapon they have since they themselves probably haven’t done all the research that we have.

    Reply

  14. […] Still fear the measles? Read this […]

    Reply

  15. Thank you Kate, for being a great source of information, and for not being afraid to stand up for what we know to be truth. It takes courage to take the brunt of attacks & insults from the small minded trolls out there that haven’t taken the time to try to see both sides of the vaccination controversy. I am not anti vaccine, I understand the science and I believe there is a place for vaccines. However I do believe the way it is handled in our country isn’t healthy for our children, and the vaccine industry is more concerned with profits than our children’s health. The HPV vaccine is an excellent example. (http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/07/16/hpv-vaccine-effectiveness.aspx) There are just way too many injured from the routine vaccine schedule, to believe it’s safer than actually getting a childhood disease like measles or chicken pox. And by the way I am unvaccinated, have had both measles and chicken pox, and I have no lasting injury or problems from it. As a matter of fact, I don’t even remember having either disease. It happened when I was a kid and was not a big ordeal, my mom just kept me home and I got over it.
    By the way I have worked in the pharmacy industry for almost 20yrs and I know how vaccines work. I have heard all the pro vaccine information and read the literature and reports. As I said I am not against vaccines altogether.
    Anyway thank you for being brave, educating us with your research, and speaking truth.

    Reply

  16. I am surprised this question has not been asked..but what steps specifically can you take to either prevent measles (even possible?) or if you have them to come through with the best outcome?
    I was just wondering if elderberry syrup would help at all? Thoughts?
    Thanks for the vitamin A info. BTW! Did not know that.

    Reply

    • Julie,

      Measles is highly contagious and it may not be possible to prevent. But, it can be very mild. Elderberry should help, lemon balm, coconut oil. We use fermented cod liver oil for vit A and D. These should reduce severity quite a bit. (Although I haven’t tried it — it’s theoretical because they are anti-virals and there are some studies on vit A preventing measles-induced blindness.)

      Reply

  17. […] a very uncomfortable week or two, but were not dangerous for healthy children.  Read more about measles, a risk-benefit analysis,  and pertussis.  It’s not to say that there aren’t a small […]

    Reply

  18. But let’s not forget that with the vaccine you do not have lifetime immunity as you do with actually having measles (and mumps and chicken pox and pertussis)

    And if you get measles as an adult it can be REALLY bad.

    Reply

  19. […] If you get measles, you have a 99.7% chance of pulling through just fine. Want to read more in depth? Check out “Is Measles REALLY So Scary?” […]

    Reply

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I’m Kate, mama to 5 and wife to Ben.  I love meeting new people and hearing their stories.  I’m also a big fan of “fancy” drinks (anything but plain water counts as ‘fancy’ in my world!) and I can’t stop myself from DIY-ing everything.  I sure hope you’ll stick around so I can get to know you better!

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