Friday, May 2, 2008

California measles outbreak

There was a measles outbreak in San Diego, California earlier this year. A 7 year old child went to Switzerland and brought back the disease. He then gave it to his siblings, 5 children in his school, and 4 children from his pediatrician's office. 3 of those children were infants too young to get vaccinated. The rest were children who decided not to get vaccinated. 70 children in all were exposed.

The CDC website description of the outbreak is actually pretty easy to read. It has a lot of info that most news stories didn't mention. As I was reading this, several things crossed my mind:

  • These diseases are really like STDs!

  • I know I've said it before and I'll say it again. Some infectious diseases are just like STDs. It's not who you come in contact with, it's who those people came in contact with, ad infinitum.

  • Why don't people talk about the fact that none of the kids came down with something really serious?

  • The concern with measles (I had them as a kid) is that it'll develop into something serious and life threatening. But none of these kids had it. So having an outbreak itself isn't that bad right?

    Then I read that the outbreak in Switzerland "resulted in hospitalizations for pneumonia and encephalitis". eep!

  • Most of the kids infected chose to not be vaccinated, including the carrier

  • I guess you really have to understand the chances you're taking when you decide not to vaccinate. I wondered if the parents thought about vaccinating their kid before they traveled? Switzerland has a 86% vaccination rate for children under 2 while the US has 95% vaccination rate for children between 1 1/2 to 3.

  • You need a 90% vaccination level!

  • I read about this before. But the importance of it didn't hit home till now.

  • The choice to not vaccinate comes with responsibility

  • I'm okay with parents choosing not to vaccinate their kids. I'm doing an alternate schedule myself. Their choice, their risk. But like second hand smoke, it seems somehow wrong when you affect the health of other children. Not sure what the solution would be since CA allows children to be in school and not be vaccinated. Maybe just more awareness on the parents part? Wherever we go, I think about how Thumper could get infected from people she comes in contact with, and think about who she could infect if she got sick. I tell people with really young children that I hang out with that Thumper is on an alternate schedule.

    The good thing is that since Thumper isn't in day care and doesn't actually come in contact with lots of people, I'm not too worried. But if I started going into daycare, I'd be more concerned and want her to be vaccinated.

  • Why didn't the pediatrician office take precautions?

  • When my daughter came down w/ a rash and I called the ped's office, they said that I could come in but I'd have to wait in the car and wait for someone to come out just in case. According to the article, the office in this case didn't take any precautious measures. I wonder if this is something you could ask your pediatrician about. Ask them what kind of preventive measures they take.
I really hate the fact that Thumper needs to go into daycare soon. I just don't want her to get infected w/ all these diseases and then infect me. I'm starting to look into nanny-care instead, esp if it makes financial sense.

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