Measles, Seizures and Sometimes Death due to Vaccine Delays and Avoidance

Three recent news items provide more up-to-date reasons for childhood vaccines.

1. Delaying vaccines may increase seizures –here’s the link and an excerpt (from NY Times):

Some parents postpone their children’s vaccinations because they believe the delay decreases the risk. But a new study finds the opposite may be true.

The analysis, published online in Pediatrics, involved 5,496 children born from 2004 to 2008 who had seizures in the first two years of life.

For children who received any of their shots as recommended before age 1, there was no difference in the incidence of seizure in the 10 days after vaccination compared with the period before vaccination. But compared with giving it in the first year, giving the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine at 16 months doubled the incidence of seizure, and giving the measles-mumps-rubella-varicella vaccine at that age increased it almost six times.”

 

2. Rate of measles infections at 20 year high –here’s the link and an excerpt: (from USA Today)

The USA has the most measles cases in 20 years…The confirmed case count for 2014, as of May 23, was 288 and growing, the CDC says. That number includes 138 cases from Ohio, where the biggest outbreak is ongoing – and where the actual count is 166 as of Thursday, according to the state Health Department.

The nationwide total is the highest for late May since 1994, when 764 cases were reported, the CDC says. It surpasses the 220 cases reported in all of 2011, which was the most in the post-2000 era.

“This is not the kind of record we want to break, but should be a wake-up call for travelers and for parents to make sure vaccination records are up to date,” said Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunizations and Respiratory Diseases. Schuchat…Before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, the virus infected about 500,000 Americans a year, causing 500 deaths and 48,000 hospitalizations.

Cases this year have been reported in 18 states and New York City. Ninety percent have been among people who have not been vaccinated or have unknown vaccination status, according to the CDC. Most of the patients report religious, philosophical or personal reasons for avoiding vaccines.”

 

3. When parents withhold vaccines, vulnerable children get sick and sometimes die  –here’s the link (reference noted from Eric Benchimol’s twitter feed) and an excerpt:

Jason Lawson recalled a terrifying 10 days in B.C. Children’s Hospital when his son Beckett was six, after Beckett became severely ill from chicken pox.

At the time, Beckett was still receiving a maintenance dose of chemotherapy to kill potential cancer cells. That treatment also suppressed Beckett’s immune system.

When an unvaccinated child at the school passed on chicken pox, the consequences were dire — at one point the virus got into Beckett’s liver and started to do damage, which in some cases can be irreversible….

Lawson said he’s speaking out to remind families that protecting their friends and neighbours is another good reason to make the effort.

Take home message:  With every medical intervention, there are risks and benefits.  Those who forego vaccines increase the risk for themselves, their families and friends.

Related blog posts:

 

 

5 thoughts on “Measles, Seizures and Sometimes Death due to Vaccine Delays and Avoidance

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