Retelling the story of her own son’s near death from measles encephalitis in the Los Angeles Times, Margaret Harmon gives a warning:
It’s highly likely that the few doctors fueling the anti-vaccine movement — bucking the vast majority of their peers — have never seen a case of measles encephalitis. They haven’t had to, thanks to those who vaccinate. But do parents who choose not to vaccinate understand that they may be giving deadly diseases the chance to regain footholds? And it won’t just be their children who pay the price. In epidemics, even vaccinated children can fall ill. And outbreaks give bacteria and viruses the chance to evolve to beat vaccines and treatments.
In the first eight months of this year, there were 18 measles outbreaks in the United States and nearly 600 cases of measles. That’s nearly three times more cases than in any year since 2001, according to statistics kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When I read about a child fighting measles here — where we once were safe — I feel that heartbreaking weight of a beautiful brown-eyed toddler not breathing, blue, on my lap.