The discussions in the past decade about the dangers of vaccines and the risk of autism have been particularly narrow. Not that autism is not a life changing diagnosis for a family. It is – and no one disputes the lifelong impact. However, the original “false” science that gave rise to these concerns has been disproven repeatedly. But, like anything on the internet, it remains forever in its original research article format and subsequent information is not added as a footnote to the search information.
The current concern about the spread of measles is real. Measles is very contagious and many of us in the Baby-Boomer Generation had measles mostly without a problem. Approximately one in 5,000 people will develop a serious complication from measles and die. My children, now in their twenties and thirties had the MMR vaccine. My grandchild is vaccinated.
The MMR vaccine is very effective against measles, mumps, and rubella and has since it became part of the normal vaccination schedule for American children, each of these has all but disappeared. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, usually given to children in the United States twice before they reach school age, is highly effective in preventing rubella. Rubella, formerly often called German measles or three-day measles, is a contagious viral infection best known by its distinctive red rash. Rubella is not the same as measles (rubeola). Measles and rubella both have similar some characteristics, particularly the red rash. However, rubella is caused by a different virus than measles and is neither as infectious nor usually as severe as measles for a typical child.
While the media is presenting the issue of the spread of measles, no attention has been given to the other two diseases covered by the MMR vaccine. Mumps is also making a comeback. Two of my brother-in-laws say they are unable to have children due to the mumps. I did not catch the mumps as a child and neither did my children, and I have never known anyone with the mumps.
Rubella is a completely ignored side issue in this debate.
If someone is contemplating getting pregnant, the MMR inoculations need to be checked. If a pregnant woman contracts rubella, especially during her first trimester, the virus can cause death or serious birth defects in her developing fetus. Rubella during pregnancy is the most common cause of congenital deafness. It’s best for women to be protected against rubella before pregnancy.
In 1971, I was a special education teacher. I taught children with significant disabilities. These children were developmentally delayed, many were blind and deaf; all of their families were extremely burdened by the care of their children. In fact, the majority of these children were living in group homes at the time.
I went on to supervise and direct special education until 2011. No children remained in school by that time period and the awareness of the dangers to pregnant women of rubella has been lost.
As more and more children are not vaccinated against the measles, rubella will soon be an issue again and the terrible and devastating effects on the developing fetus will again become a reality.