Friday, September 16, 2011

If you don't vax for measles, be prepared to help your child through this...

Jim Gehrz via

Editor's Note: Author of the now-defunct Vaccine Times, Leart Shaka, has graciously allowed Moms Who Vax to re-post several of his articles. His work on vaccine education was immensely helpful. The story below is his, sourced from Maura Lerner's excellent Minneapolis Star Tribune article.
Little Mahi is very unlucky: he nearly died of measles. He contracted measles while traveling overseas. He was not vaccinated due to his young age. He was 9 months when his family left for Kenya. Although Mahi’s parents intended to get him vaccinated on time according to the recommended schedule, they didn’t know that although the first shot of the MMR vaccine isn’t given until 12 months, for overseas travelers different rules apply. Mahi should have been given a vaccine prior to his trip to Kenya. His chances of getting the disease would have been slashed by over 90% if that had happened.

Little Mahi is very lucky: he nearly died of measles, but he didn’t; he beat the disease. After contracting measles he had a 1/20 chance of getting pneumonia, which he unfortunately did. On August 10, his mother brought him to the emergency room with very high fever. Within days, baby Mahi was on life support, hanging by a thread.
“I didn’t think I’d be able to hold him again,” his mother said Friday, as she cuddled him in her lap.
On his fifth day in the hospital, Mahi took a dangerous turn. He was transferred to intensive care, hooked up to a breathing machine and given antibiotics to battle the pneumonia. For days, he was sedated and barely moved.
“It was really hard,” said his mother. “It was like watching a dead body.”
The medical experts were equally worried. Mahi, said Stinchfield, was “teetering near death.”
After nearly two weeks in intensive care, Mahi started to wake up, as doctors eased up on the sedation.
On Tuesday, they took off his breathing tube. “He opened his eyes and looked at me,” said his mother, and he squeezed her hand. “Look at this!” she thought. “I couldn’t believe he could be that strong.” When he started crying when she stepped away, she was thrilled. “Wow, my son knows me,” she said.
Little Mahi is lucky to have beaten measles, unfortunately 1-2/1,000 children who contract the disease will not be so lucky, despite the best medical care they can be given. Measles is not a trivial disease. It can land you in the hospital like it did baby Mahi, it can leave a child deaf, and it can kill. Do not be swayed by the conspiracy theorists. Do not delay.
Inject to protect.

Editor's Comment: Mahi was not vaccinated because he had not yet reached the 12-15 months of age recommended for the MMR shot (though he should have been vaccinated before traveling overseas). But what happened to him can happen to any unvaccinated child. Delaying a vaccine out of fear or because of recommendations from a vaccine-hesitant parent-friend puts your child at grave risk for those months that she is left unprotected, especially now that measles has come roaring back to life all over the country because people are not vaccinating their children. My kids have received two MMR vaccines. My eighteen-month-old had to receive her MMR booster (typically scheduled for four-years-old) just six months after her first one because of the Minnesota measles outbreak this winter. It's not the time interval that bothers me--it doesn't bother me at all. What bothers me is that anti-vax parents forced me in to the doctor's office for a shot two-and-a-half years early.