Measles, German Measles, Baby Measles and moral obligations

You will all have noticed that I vanished rather suddenly right around Charly’s birthday. Her birthday posts are sitting half written in drafts and the dozens of story ideas I’ve had are still sitting in their folder waiting for me. Many of you follow me on social media; I post daily on Instagram, a daily photo of our girl and a short catch up on where we are at. Those who do, will have seen we were hit hard the week after Charly’s party with suspected measles or scarlet fever. The doctor couldn’t be sure which, but said because Charly was vaccinated it wasn’t serious, so treat the symptoms and move on. At the time, I was just relieved that she would be ok. But then I started thinking…

Charly Measles 1

Measles is a very very dangerous illness for those who aren’t vaccinated or immune. It is one of the most easily spread viruses – staying alive on surfaces for up to 2 hours – and it can cause massive complications… Diarrhea, dehydration, brain infection (encephalitis), pneumonia, blindness and death. And these side effects aren’t unusual or rare, and are much worse for children under 2 or adults.

There was a time a few years ago where measles was considered eradicated in many places. Until that idiot doctor sold his soul and faked a link between vaccinations and autism and the world of parents looking for a cause jumped on the bandwagon. Now we are back to hundreds of thousands of deaths every year across the world. People who choose not to vaccinate their children are not only risking their children’s lives – which should be illegal – they are actively allowing other people’s children to die – which is essentially culpable homicide. However, that isn’t really the point of this article.

While relieved that Charly wasn’t in any real danger, seeing her covered in these spots really affected me. I’m not sure why, because I knew they weren’t dangerous, but I felt tearful every time I looked at her. It was scary. The rash, the fevers, her being tired and still. Hearing it “wasn’t serious” did nothing to ease the mom fear.

maybe measles

I did some reading about measles and scarlet fever to find out more and make sure she was really really safe, and I came across an article on News24 about the measles outbreak in Stellenbosch. I immediately understood the need to notify the right people to ensure the measles virus didn’t cause an epidemic and allow the department of health to get immunisations and boosters to people in the infected areas.

Although I wasn’t sure whether Charly had had the measles, I found the contact information for the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and got hold of them to ask what the procedure was for reporting these things. I was massively impressed by their response. Multiple people from NICD and Western Cape Gov followed up with me within a few hours, offering advice and guidance.

Firstly, and most importantly, I found out that doctors are ALWAYS meant to do a blood test when measles is suspected and that they need to report it to the right people. The reporting procedures should be known to all doctors.

It just so happened that I was knocked off my feet a few days after Charly’s rash cleared. I thought I was suffering from exhaustion from roughly 5 weeks of us being sick, or possibly that my unhealthy lifestyle had just caught up with me in the form of some awful disease; so I went and had a whole battery of tests done. The next day I was covered in spots (just as a side note, if you have ever suffered from skin issues – as I have – looking in the mirror when you are covered in a spotty virus can be VERY traumatic). My glands were very swollen all round, my eyes, ears and throat were very inflamed, I had mid-range fevers, crazy headaches, I was tired to my bones, and being somebody who has joint issues, I had severe arthritic joint pain that made it very difficult to sleep. My doctor said it was either measles or german measles, but more likely the latter.

Me German Measles

The first blood tests came back as positive for one or the other (and luckily clear for all the other possibilities). I adore my doctor. He is one of the sweetest most thoughtful humans on the planet. My daughter adores him and I wouldn’t take her away from him unless I really had to. But. I was really upset when he said that whichever it was, further blood tests would be purely academic and wouldn’t change anything for me. He knows how I feel about needles, so it was likely him being considerate of me, but I insisted on having the tests done. I am terrified of needles; I always get tearful with every shot or blood draw – pregnancy never changed that for me sadly. So why on earth would I do this?

BECAUSE WE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO MORE THAN OURSELVES!!

If it was Measles (Rubeola), it needed to be reported to the NICD so that they could move resources into the area to vaccinate or provide booster shots to anybody at risk. So that little lives don’t have to be pointlessly lost. So that babies too young for vaccines weren’t permanently mentally or physically disabled. So that adults who might not know if they are immune don’t end up blind or sterile. There were 3 other children in Charly’s class (that I know of) that were diagnosed as having measles; not one of those doctors did blood tests to find out if it was actually measles or to report to the relevant people.Symptoms of measles

The second I found out Charly might have measles I contacted the doctors and read everything I could get my hands on to find out if she would have been contagious at her birthday party the Saturday before the rash appeared. I was massively relieved to be able to let all my friends (4 of whom are pregnant, 1 of whom had their 4 month old with her) that measles is only contagious 4 days before and after the rash appears, so they were safe.

If it was German Measles (Rubella), it was contagious 5 days before and after the rash. German Measles is usually relatively mild, much like a bad cold with a light rash starting on the face and moving down the body for 3 days. Complications can include brain infections, bleeding problems, bronchitis and pneumonia and, as an adult, there is an increased likelihood of joint pain (arthritic-like symptoms). These are complications rather than common symptoms; there are some people who don’t even realise they have it.

And yet, if it was German Measles, EVERY parent at Charly’s school needed to be notified immediately – because German Measles is almost always fatal to an unborn baby in the early stages.

Rubella infographic

Imagine! Imagine sending your child back to school after 4 days, because you thought it was measles or just because they seemed better and it was safe to do so. Imagine that YOUR child carried the German Measles into that classroom and passed it on to another child. Imagine that the child YOUR child gave German Measles to goes home to their mommy, who is pregnant. These are 3- or 4-year-old children, so many many of their mommies have taken the leap and are expecting their second or third child around this stage. Imagine knowing that YOU are responsible for the loss of their unborn baby… Because it was not necessary for you or your child to have the test because you would be fine.

German Measles causes Congenital Rubella Syndrome (CRS) in babies infected in utero in the early trimesters of pregnancy. CRS symptoms are devastating and in the first trimester will often cause miscarriage. Should the baby survive, they could have one, many, or all of the following symptoms: deafness, eye deformities, congenital heart disease, damage to organs including the heart, liver, spleen and bone marrow, physical deformities such as an abnormally small head or undersized jaw, bleeding under the skin, low birth weight, and intellectual disability. All children who were exposed to Rubella in utero need to be watched after birth for autism, developmental delays, Schizophrenia, growth retardations, learning disabilities, Diabetes mellitus and Glaucoma.

I was really upset when I was found out that Rubella vaccination (in particular the MMR) is on the Private vaccination list but not the Public one in South Africa. The reason for this is that it is felt that most people catch it when they are young, when it is not dangerous. This usually means that they are likely immune by child bearing age. The NICD said their hope was that it would be added to the state sector within the next few years.

boy measles

There are parts of the world where Rubella is completely eradicated, because the vaccination is actively given to all children. Risking the lives of unborn babies or life-long disability and defect is seen as a very valid reason to ensure every child is vaccinated. In many developed countries, being tested and vaccinated for Rubella in women of childbearing age is standard and always done when a woman comes in to check that her body is healthy and ready to fall pregnant. You aren’t able to receive the vaccination once you are pregnant.

I have a very dear acquaintance who shared her devastating loss when her baby was found to not be “viable” after she contracted German Measles at 15 weeks pregnant. She had to “terminate her pregnancy” by being medically induced and delivering her first child at 16 weeks. She was vaccinated as a child, but did not receive a booster and so her body was no longer immune. Nobody told her it was a risk. She wouldn’t have hesitated to get a booster if she was told to when she was preparing for falling pregnant.

Another mommy close to me has a 6 month old with Baby Measles (Roseola). Unlike the other two variations, Baby Measles is not dangerous. It is most common in babies between 6 months and 2 years old. Its symptoms are a slight cold, a very high fever (over 39′) for 3 days, followed by a pink flat or blotchy rash that can be mild and barely noticeable or dark and wide spread. It rarely reaches the face or legs. By the time the rash arrives, baby isn’t sick anymore. There is no vaccination against it, as it isn’t a dangerous illness and is unlikely to cause harm. Charly had it at around 11 months, and the fevers scared me half to death. Her rash was very faint. I can’t even find a photo where you can see it.

The image below is from one of my Supermommy interviews I did a few years ago, where the little one had a really bad roseola experience.

baby measles

My only concern around my friend’s baby is that my friend, the mommy, was diagnosed with full blown Measles due to the appearance of Koplik’s spots (white spots in the mouth). These white spots are considered diagnostic, though it is rare for them to be seen because they are temporary and usually appear before the person is at their most ill. It is not possible to catch measles from a baby with Roseola.

Their doctor said she might have caught it from her 4-year-old being vaccinated recently as it may shed live cells – this is terrifying to me. Not because I believe it is true at all, but because in hours and hours of research and reading medical papers and international disease control websites and the WHO and the CDC, I couldn’t find a single thing saying that it is possible to shed from vaccination.

In fact, I went back to the NICD and asked them about it and they said, “Measles is a live vaccine but does NOT spread from person to person. The vaccine can cause mild fever and rash in the person who receives the vaccine, but it doesn’t spread from person to person. The measles vaccine is safe and highly effective at preventing severe measles. (Reference: WHO position paper No 35, 2009, 84:349-360) You can download it here World Health Organisation (WHO) measles position paper 2009)

Every reputable source I found said there is no risk of a child being contagious after receiving the vaccination, even though the child may get a fever and be unwell for a few days in the worst cases. The only place I can find anything on this is on incredibly biased anti-vaxxer publications, where people with no medical background or training extrapolate the term “live” to mean things that suit their purposes.

So, YES, I felt I HAD to get blood tests done. I know 11 people who are pregnant right now. 11 people who I could have unknowingly given a disease that could have put them through the most traumatic experience of their lives. I had German Measles.

Rubella positive

I quarantined myself for a full week after the rash appeared, to ensure I didn’t accidentally infect anybody. I contacted the NICD to notify them of the blood test results. I contacted Charly’s school to tell them I had it, so they could notify the parents. To my knowledge, they haven’t let anybody know as yet. I asked one of the other parents in her class if their little one had the German Measles (I know they have a 3 month old at home who wouldn’t have been vaccinated). He had no idea anyone in the class had had it.

Have people always been so incredibly selfish? What is WRONG with an entire generation of doctors across the country brushing off blood tests that are at most a slight inconvenience, at the expense of other people’s lives? I am feeling very disillusioned with the world right now.

PLEASE, if you haven’t been vaccinated or you don’t know if you are immune, go get tested! Measles vaccinations can be given at any age, protect yourself and your family and the families around you. And if you suspect you have one of these infectious diseases, get the blood test done and make sure your doctor reports it! Right now, it seems as if South Africa is going through a surge of these illnesses, so if your little one has extreme fevers and starts to get spots, push hard for the doctors to DO THE TESTS to make sure your unvaccinated baby isn’t going to have a potentially fatal side effect with no warning, because they are a certain age and it is easier for a doctor to assume they have the harmless Roseola.

What are your thoughts on the blood tests? Would you have gotten your blood taken to know which illness you had?

Anyway. No more rants for a while – pinky swear!! This isn’t “the new me”. I have a few things on the go, fun, exciting, birthday post, party post, giveaways, helpful info, and (fingers and toes crossed), our household is healthy so I plan on getting things done finally!

Sending all the love xx

 

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Comments

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thank you for reading. Even one person making a decision to protect others makes having to deal with some of the awful things people are frantically throwing at me worth it. xx

  1. Rose says

    I do believe it is every parents obligation to practice their due diligence by ways of research both pro vacation and disease control, however, with that being said I also think the the bashing of those who have chosen not to vaccinate after hours of research on the adverse affects of vaccines on some children. Both sides make valid yet contradicting points. Some say vaccines can cause autism the other side says they can’t but the is no concrete proof either way. The written text above states a dr says the vaccine causes Autism and parents jump on a bandwagon…. but later the text says that once a child has been exposed to the measles one of the symptoms noted to watch for is Autism, and that a live vaccine is given sonin theory is the measles can cause autism then wouldn’t it be fair to say that a child given a live vaccine of measles could develop Autism? The text also notes that hundreds of thousands of people die annually due to measles yet in 2016 there were only 70 people from 16 states were diagnosed in the US but none of those cases state whether they had received the MMR vaccine or not or were exposed to someone who had recently received the vaccine. The same year more than 2x the number of those affected by measles were reported fatalities for adverse reactions to vaccinations. The MMR vaccine in particular is a thimersol vaccine (mercury based to slow growth of micro organisms), Mercury is a highly toxic element in which there is no safe exposure level (per the CDC and FDA).. exposure to mercury can causes a long list of neurological disorders and cancers. The same government sector that deemed thimersol vaccines safe also allowed drugs, food, and other products. known to cause cancer (especially cigarettes) available for common use. With all of the drug recalls and cancer causing products available on the market I don’t put much faith in the governments definition of “safe”. Through the FDA site in 2016 there were more than 20 pages of products and drugs recalled by the FDA that were once deemed safe. I do agree with the statement of parents need to research and be proactive and I am terribly sorry you had to suffer this with your child. Thank god her illness was short lived and she is well :). In case you were wondering all 3 of my children are vaccinated 2 are A typical and my middle son was diagnosed with ASD one of those symptoms to watch out for with the measles. My last child was also vaccinated after my sons ASD diagnosis. I am not saying people shoul or should not vaccinate their children I’m saying don’t be sheepeople and make an informed decision.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Hi Rose,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and apologies for the delay in response, I have been away from my laptop since yesterday morning. I respect your opinion that parents should be able to do their due diligence, my issue is that the information out there is largely biased with one side using scare tactics and drama and the other “boring” science stuff that uses big words that the average person can’t understand. When people like me make the effort to do the research and share it in a way that people can understand and from my own personal experience, I am accused of being paid to share the information; which is bizarre as well as untrue. I’ll share what I have found wrt the items you mention below:

      Some say vaccines can cause autism the other side says they can’t but the is no concrete proof either way –
      There is actually. Literal hundreds of follow up studies have been done with none other than the one fabricated proving otherwise. Here is a resource (on an Autism website) that shares a lot of scientific peer-reviewed research from a wide variety of sources showing absolutely no link to vaccinations and autism – http://autismsciencefoundation.org/what-is-autism/autism-and-vaccines/.

      The written text above states a dr says the vaccine causes Autism and parents jump on a bandwagon…. but later the text says that once a child has been exposed to the measles one of the symptoms noted to watch for is Autism, and that a live vaccine is given sonin theory is the measles can cause autism then wouldn’t it be fair to say that a child given a live vaccine of measles could develop Autism?
      Theory is sadly not practice and there has not been a single proven or even close to proven case of a causal link. To be clear, the link to autism was not suggested to be linked to measles or the measles vaccine, but the MMR. The reason for that is the use of Thimerosal element in some vaccines. There is no Thimerosal in actual measles. So in fact it is a tragic irony that the people who don’t use the vaccine because of a falsified link to autism are actively increasing the likelihood of it.

      The text also notes that hundreds of thousands of people die annually due to measles – across the world yes. Largely in developing countries (which South Africa is one), there were non in the USA last year.
      yet in 2016 there were only 70 people from 16 states were diagnosed in the US but none of those cases state whether they had received the MMR vaccine or not or were exposed to someone who had recently received the vaccine.
      The cases were investigated and found to have affected largely unvaccinated children, and the source of the strains were generally attributed to people having travelled to largely unvaccinated coutries with reported epidemics.

      The same year more than 2x the number of those affected by measles were reported fatalities for adverse reactions to vaccinations.
      I searched for a source of this, but could find no proven causal vaccine related deaths. There is a resource available where anybody can report a “vaccine injury”; anybody including the man on the street can enter the information. The resource itself very clearly states that these are not medically proven links and should not be considered causal, and the only purpose of the resource is to look for any patterns to allow follow up. Deaths are incredibly rare, substantially less that the deaths experienced from the diseases being vaccinated against. The deaths are explored more here http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs286/en/

      The MMR vaccine in particular is a thimersol vaccine (mercury based to slow growth of micro organisms), Mercury is a highly toxic element in which there is no safe exposure level (per the CDC and FDA).. exposure to mercury can causes a long list of neurological disorders and cancers.
      There are 2 different kinds of mercury. The one used in Thimerosal is ethylmercury; which is not the one that is referred to as having no safe exposure at all. The human body clears it much faster than the other one, so there is no “build up” effect. It is also very important to note that due to the concerns of parents and to ensure people don’t stop using it (even though it was proven safe) because they care whether or not our children are safe; the majority of vaccines don’t contain it at all. I am unsure if this is true of SA MMR (I am sending follow up questions from people to the NICD), but overseas almost all vaccines have had Thimerosal removed and replaced with alternatives. Much more importantly – according to the CDC, “Measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccines do not and never did contain thimerosal.” I am also unsure where you found the CDC and FDA saying there were no safe levels, here is the information from them both:
      https://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/
      https://www.fda.gov/BiologicsBloodVaccines/SafetyAvailability/VaccineSafety/UCM096228

      I hope that ongoing research happens with regards to all diseases and that as they learn, they continue to update those pages of the things they update. It is incredible that we keep learning and keep trying to find new ways to prevent people, esepcially children, from suffering when it isn’t necessary. I understand why you might not trust the government, there are very few governments around the world that are trustworthy, but I do trust science when it comes from consistent investigation and learning from some of the greatest minds around the world – including places that aren’t run by terrible governments. Very very few scientists profit from their discoveries, it isn’t why they do what they do.

      A child I am very very close to and have loved as my own since birth, has also been diagnosed with ASD. I adore him and he is the sweetest most loving little man in all the world, but I fully understand the challenges the parents face and the need to find a reason for it. The fact that children begin to developmentally speed up around 16 – 18 months, just after they get the MMR, means that the children that don’t move at the same speed become more noticeable around the same time as well.

      Thank you again for leaving this comment. I hope I have eased a few of your conflicting information concerns. I had also not heard of some of these conflicts, so thank you for bringing them to my attention so I could learn more. MLMxx

  2. Lyra Randall says

    Ya and what about that child who got vaccinations and then shed and passed the German measles onto me while I was pregnant?!

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      My heart breaks for you; nobody should ever experience losing a child. I believe that you believe it was a vaccinated child that shed and made you sick; but it is far far more likely that a child or person carrying the virus made you sick. The reason I stayed home, as I said, was to avoid passing on the virus by coming into contact with anybody else. Because there is such a massive lack of education on the risks involved, people don’t realise they are contagious for a period before and after the rashes appear. While there is sadly nothing anybody could have if it was passed on before the spots appeared (as the early symptoms are cold-like) – barring doctors ensuring that women who attend their gynae visits are tested for rubella immunity along with their other testing; I do believe more people would stay out of the public after the spots appear to protect others. I do also understand that losing a child can change everything about a person, and that having been convinced that this was the case contrary to all the tests from across the world saying vaccines do not shed, it is highly unlikely that you will ever be convinced otherwise. I wish you only peace. Mx

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Hi Carol. I am unsure why you would share this link exactly. It is a legal letter trying very hard not to make anybody angry, backing down from his position by citing “scientific disagreement” on processes. The poor man was very well-respected in his day, and the sad thing is that, as a highly intelligent man, he was likely sincerely searching for a reason for having a child with autism. This is a deep and completely understandable response for any parent faced with a diagnosis with no obvious causes. The research he refers to, which was a ridiculously small sample size compared with the 100+ studies that have followed across the world by different universities, scientists, etc. – including the anti-vaccination movement – showed no such correlation at all. And that not a single study done before or after by any government, university, scientist, or any other body has ever replicated this “result” cannot be ignored either. It should also be noted that the quote in the link you added says “The omitted data suggested that African American males who received the MMR vaccine before age 36 months were at increased risk for autism.” There is zero biological explanation as to why African Americans would be more prone to this effect, never mind the specificity of it being males. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Liesel says

    Thanx for a very informative read. My daughter had baby measels, German Measels an Measels twice. We could clearly see the little spots in her mouth. She even gave me some form of the Measels which i had very light.
    Our dr never bothered with blood tests and looking back, we could have contaminated our suburb by going to PnP!
    None of the creches ever asked about all her dots, but she had to stay home for lice. Our society has a few dings.
    The NCID really needs to do a bit more campaigning. They sound awesome, but are invisible.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Hi Liesel, That staying home for lice and not measles thing is disturbing in so many ways. I had never heard of the NICD myself before my daughter was mis-diagnosed with measles. I do hope they get out more into the public, it is necessary for those that don’t have an axe to grind or profit to make to become more visible. Sadly people “fighting the system” are much louder than those that are actively out and trying to save lives; when there is no money at stake, they tend to focus more on making a real difference than becoming a source of entertainment. SO sorry your little one has been sick so much! The things they bring home from creche are so scary!x

  4. Tamarah says

    All the yes. I would have tested all of us. I was revaxxed for rubella after I had O, because I wasn’t immune, despite being vaxxed as an infant and as a teen. I feel like we have O punctured monthly, as we give her ALL the vaccines, but I’d never forgive myself for choosing the wrong risk. We asked our sister about getting boosters and she said no, but I’d actually prefer to get them, despite my fear of needles. I’m not willing to risk anybody’s life for the sake of convenience.

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      #ReasonsIloveYou1000000001! The total disregard some seem to have for the people around them because it may put them out in some way makes my blood boil. x

  5. Carla says

    I’m so sorry that you and Charly had to endure it. If only more mums would be responsible and get the tests done. Our experience at state and private was well if he has it it’s pointless to test because it doesn’t change anything. I demanded the tests..ended up being roseola but at least you know. Sending hugs. xxx

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Good job!! So glad you pushed back. Always always better safe than sorry, because that level of sorry is beyond comprehension xxx

  6. says

    This is very informative thanks. Sorry that you went through all that. It is actually very sad and shocking that people don’t follow the correct procedures etc. I think that a lot of people are just ignorant. Will share! Xxx

    • Pregnant In Cape Town says

      Thank you love. I totally get the average parent not really thinking it through, but doctors have NO excuse as far as I am concerned. It is their responsibility to make sure their patients get what they need in terms of protection and that includes protecting the pregnant moms that come in to see their GP not being put at risk because there MIGHT be an outbreak. It drives me mental xx

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