Measles more dangerous than you thought.

This is not mundane nor pointless, but there is no other forum to post it on. Go to and click on the last item at the bottom of the page. Quirks and quarks is the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s weekly science program.

The basic idea is that doctors discovered that after the introduction of measles vaccines in any country, childhood mortality falls in half. Most of this reduction is not from the disappearence of measles per se, but from the damage that measles does to the immune system. It has long been known that the measles damages the immune system, but it seems to recover after a couple of months. Indeed the numbers do recover, but recent studies show that the immune system is now geared to respond mainly to only one disease: measles. Much of the immune memory of previous infections is no longer present.

I don’t think I have explained this very well. Take 11 minutes from your lives and listen to the report. One in the eye for advocates of “natural immunity”.

People who had measles have told me that they had very lengthy recoveries, and weren’t back to “normal” for a long time, even when they had it as children.

Here is a direct quote from the page:

“They found that in animal models, measles provokes a kind of “immune amnesia”, in which the immune system forgets how to fight infections it’s previously encountered. Further epidemiological work suggested that this amnesia can last more than two years, causing roughly 50% more deaths than would have happened otherwise.”

Found at this page, last paragraph: Measles is More Dangerous

Very interesting.

I had measles in high school. Anyone who thinks measles is just a mild childhood disease is a freaking idiot. I’ve had many maladies over the years, but never have I felt sicker or more miserable than that week.

Any anti-vaxer who would allow his or her offspring to get measles is one cruel individual.

I talked to a guy today who lost eyesight in one eye to measles.

But think of it this way: by infecting their child with measles, they can undo the gains of any other vaccinations they might have had!

Natural immunity is just another way of saying needless suffering. Measles can also turn into a shitty disease later called SSPE. Basically a child appears to be fine but a few years later, it becomes apparent that the virus has invaded his brain and destroyed it. It’s estimated at about one in two hundred *infants will contract SSPE and die after measles infection. There is no risk of SSPE from the vaccine. So chalk up yet another benefit for the vaccine!


Another cool thing I came across today. Vaccines help prevent leukemia!

I had never heard that about Hib! :cool:

Actually, while SSPE usually occurs within days after a child appears to be recovering from the measles, it can happen for up to six years after apparent recovery. Sometimes anti-viral drugs can extend a child’s life, but SSPE is pretty much a death sentence, and an ugly death.

What’s more, when measles gets a foothold in a community, it can start to mutate, so that vaccinated people can get sick. Albeit, they usually get an attenuated case, and don’t feel as sick, they can still suffer the immune suppression described in the OP. So vaccinated people in a largely unvaccinated population can get really screwed.

Are schools required to tell you the number, or percentage of unvaccinated students if asked? (Yes, it probably varies by state, but does anyone know the answer for their state?) I realize that the names are confidential, especially since some people are unvaccinated for medical reasons, but if I lived in a community that had relatively low vaccination rates, I might want to move my son to a different school district if different districts had varying rates-- I’d want him in the school with the highest vaccination rate. As it is, Indianapolis has very high vaccination rates, and I’m not worried. Indiana has a less than 1% non-medical exemption rate, and the medical exemption rate is also very low; together, I’m not sure they add up to more than 1.25%, and Indianapolis has a higher vaccination rate than the state as a whole.

Here’s an article with some info on Wisconsin schools: Article
and there’s a handy link in the article that goes to Wisconsin’s immunization database that you can check. You can even check your own kids to see if they’re up to date.
Here’s the link to the WI immunization part in case you don’t want to go thru the article to get it.

Those of us who remember kids in school who were affected by measles are becoming fewer and fewer.

I knew a kid in my grade school who became deaf because of complications of measles.

When I was at Gallaudet in the 80s, I had many friends who were Deaf from Hib infections as small children. I also had one friend who was Deaf from chickenpox. That’s a fairly rare complication from chickenpox, but it does happen. The infection can get into nerve tissue, or you can simply get lesions in your ear canal. Your eardrum can be scarred from lesions and no longer work well. You end up with significant residual hearing, but considering that there is a vaccine for chickenpox now, it never has to deafen another child.

I also had a friend in college die from meningococcal meningitis, for which there’s now a vaccine, and everyone gets it before entering intermediate school.

One of my nephews, whose early childhood predates meningococcal vaccination here, very nearly went the same way. About 18 hours after being perfectly fine, he was being airlifted to hospital in a coma. It is one scary disease.

Even chickenpox can be deadly. A Facebook friend in Australia lost her nine year old son to chickenpox. The lesions got in his lungs and caused pneumonia. He was gone in a weekend.