Measles outbreak at Texas megachurch…

Sometimes, doing what one thinks is right thing to do can backfire. There is a measles outbreak in Texas…

The outbreak has affected 15 people connected to Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, the result of a visit to the church by someone who had recently traveled to a country where measles is common.

The senior pastor there, Terri Pearsons, said in an Aug. 15 statement that while she still has misgivings about vaccinations — particularly when administered to children in families with a history of autism — she believes “children and even adults of all ages need to be immunized now to stop the spread of measles and prevent those potential complications.”

Since the publication of Andrew Wakefield’s paper in The Lancet in 1998 that discusses the cases of 12 children developing autism spectrum disorders after the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine was administered, many are fearful of vaccines. While the paper was retracted by The Lancet many parents are still skeptical on immunizing their kids. Many parents site different reasons for this. Some believe that unvaccinated children build and strengthen their immune systems through fighting off infection and developing natural immunity to diseases like measles and chickenpox. There is the belief that vaccinations weakens the immune system and leaves children more vulnerable to all other diseases and infections. There are religious objections, too. Many think that mandatory vaccinations are an affront to personal liberty.

What about the arguments for vaccinations?  Even when diseases seem to no longer exist, outbreaks can still occur if children are not vaccinated. Vaccines are over 90% effective, but, children that have been vaccinated can still contract a disease. If they immunized their symptoms may be less severe than children who haven’t been vaccinated. Should school systems allow unvaccinated kids to attend putting the other kids at risk? Many feel no one has a right to risk the health of others with their philosophical or religious views.

I know a lot of parents that have a wide variety of opinions on immunizing their children. I don’t have a dog in this race as I am childless.

I am just interested, what do you parents think?

6 thoughts on “Measles outbreak at Texas megachurch…

  1. Cause and effect and causal links. Which came first the chicken or the egg? But then again, where’s the polio? Are allergies cause by a weakened immune system caused by vaccinations? Or are they a result of air pollution? Sucking on a cars exhust pipe over an extended period of time might cause health problems. Up to and including death. Yet, we all drive around everyday breathing in exhust fumes. Or live and work close to roads with automobile traffic.

  2. Even if vaccinations cause some additional problems, they save lives. Of all the various illnesses of the children in my circle of friends, none have died. That would have been much more rare in 1950.

  3. Um, the question isn’t what parents think. Desease doesn’t care what parents think. There are facts related to vaccination, and that’s all that matters.

    First and foremost among those facts is herd immunity. That refers to the condition where most members of a community, usually more than 95%, are immune. Then when a susceptible member gets the disease, the bacteria or virus can’t find another susceptible host fast enough and dies out. So if almost everybody is immunized, it doesn’t matter if a few people aren’t. It doesn’t matter medically. It may matter if people feel it’s unfair.

    Re vaccination and general resistance and immune health. You are in an ocean of foreign organisms. You breathe them in and eat them and get them in cuts. Your immune system deals with all of them from the day you’re born. You’d have to live in a sterile bubble to give your immune system enough of a “holiday” from its job of defense to make it “lazy.”

    The added impact of a few extra bacteria or viruses is nothing for that army. Just because these extra critters are called “diphtheria” or “tetanus” or “whooping cough” or “measles” means nothing to the immune system. Foreign is foreign and gets whomped regardless. The only difference with those is that they’re capable of overrunning that army. That’s where vaccination comes in. It presents the foreigners to the immune system in small enough quantity that they can’t overrun it. But that doesn’t change the fact that all it does is add ten or twenty newcomers to a field of tens of thousands. The immune system just swats them down and barely notices. That’s why you don’t get sick right after immunizations.

    As to how many people fall ill from a disease despite immunization, that depends on the vaccine. Smallpox or polio, almost nobody got those after vaccination. Measles is about 90%, I believe, although any disease in the vaccinated is almost always much milder. Tuberculosis vaccine on the other hand has only about a 45% success rate. They’re still working on that one.

  4. The religious right has become a health hazard. I recall them clamoring to segregate homosexuals during the AIDS crisis. Can we just quarantine evangelicals?? I’m sure they’d understand. It’s their solution.

  5. Actually, we should quarantine fundies politically as well as medically.

    Give them state or two — Texas and Kentucky would be a good start — where they can govern as they wish, free from federal interference and subsidies, and let them run the place into the ground. The only proviso should be that they can’t return to the US after they’ve destroyed their sovereign stomping grounds.

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