Measles — a disease that was once almost all but eradicated — has been making a comeback that now seems to have turned tragic in one case.
An El Al Airlines flight attendant is now in a coma and battling encephalitis after contracting measles. Israel’s Ministry of Health says she may have contracted the disease in New York, in Israel, or on a flight between the two.
The 43-year-old woman was seemingly healthy before coming down with a fever March 31, CBS New York reports. Due to complications from measles that resulted in brain inflammation, she’s now been in a coma for 10 days and needs a respirator because she can’t breathe on her own.
The report says that the woman only had one measles vaccine as a child, when two are recommended. One is still around 93 percent effective, however.
The real problems, of course, are the unvaccinated, not the under-vaccinated. In the first week of this month alone the United States saw 78 new cases reported, which has it on pace for its worst year since the disease was declared to be eliminated here and is part of what is believed will be a “record-breaking” year for measles worldwide.
It doesn’t take much to get an outbreak going. The CBS report says that one man traveled from New York and infected 38 people in Michigan, which began the outbreak there.
Experts aren’t shy about who to blame for all of this — anti-vaxxer parents:
“The reason measles is coming back is that a critical number of parents have chosen not to vaccinate their children,’’ said Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “If you get to a few thousand cases, you’ll start to see children die of measles again.’’
One’s right to raise one’s child as he or she sees fit doesn’t include the right to let one’s child become a public health danger, threatening the lives of other children.
What’s maddening about all of this is that the anti-vaxxers’ beliefs are based on junk science.
That, however, is a topic for another post, one which I will be writing sometime in the next week.