Measles is a respiratory infection that attacks the immune system

Why is measles so con­ta­gious?

The measles virus infects the upper res­pi­ra­to­ry tract. At first, a case of measles looks and feels like a com­mon cold. It makes peo­ple cough and sneeze. As a result, they can eas­i­ly spread the measles virus to oth­er peo­ple. You can catch the measles by breath­ing in a room where an infect­ed per­son had coughed an hour or two before.

Why is measles so seri­ous?

Measles starts out as a res­pi­ra­to­ry infec­tion, but then it attacks the immune sys­tem. The macrophages, which are white blood cells that are sup­posed to kill the measles virus, end up get­ting infect­ed by the measles virus. As a result, the macrophages make new copies of the measles virus and then die. As a result, you lose the white blood cells that are your first line of defense against infec­tion. Measles also kills off anoth­er impor­tant group of white blood cells: the B mem­o­ry cells. As a result, measles eras­es your immune system’s mem­o­ry of how to fight dis­eases it has seen before.

How seri­ous can measles be?

A case of measles can lead to an inflam­ma­tion of the brain (encephali­tis) which can lead to blind­ness, deaf­ness, men­tal retar­da­tion, or even death. Like AIDS patients, peo­ple who have just had measles are at risk for oppor­tunis­tic infec­tions, such as pneu­mo­nia. If chil­dren who are too young to be vac­ci­nat­ed catch measles, they are at risk for a chron­ic measles infec­tion of the brain, called sub­a­cute scle­ros­ing panen­cephali­tis (SSPE). Cas­es of SSPE always progress slow­ly to coma and death. There is no effec­tive treat­ment.

How can measles be pre­vent­ed?

Since measles spreads by air­borne droplets, vac­ci­na­tion is the only effec­tive way to pre­vent the dis­ease. Two dos­es of the measles vac­cine pro­vide about 99% pro­tec­tion against catch­ing the measles. The measles vac­cine is com­bined with the mumps and rubel­la vac­cine into the MMR shot. This shot is a “live” vac­cine that can­not be giv­en to peo­ple with a sup­pressed immune sys­tem. For this rea­son, we need to vac­ci­nate prac­ti­cal­ly every­one else.

Can we dri­ve measles to extinc­tion?

In the 1970s, a world­wide vac­ci­na­tion cam­paign drove small­pox into vac­ci­na­tion. A sim­i­lar cam­paign has dri­ven polio to the edge of extinc­tion. Like small­pox and polio, the measles virus occurs only in human beings. Once we vac­ci­nate enough peo­ple world­wide to stop the cir­cu­la­tion of the virus, the measles will go extinct for­ev­er. After that, we won’t need tovac­ci­nate any­one against measles.

Whom should you trust?

Med­ical doc­tors do a real­ly good job at pre­vent­ing and treat­ing infec­tions dis­ease.

Your doctor?

Your doc­tor has been to med­ical school and knows your child’s his­to­ry

Vitamin sellers?

Many anti­vac­cine activists sell over­priced vit­a­mins over the Inter­net.

As long as vaccines have existed, there has been an antivaccine movement

Nev­erth­less, vac­cines drove small­pox into extinc­tion. Polio is near­ly extinct. Measles is next on the list for erad­i­ca­tion. Once a dis­ease is extinct, you no longer need to vac­ci­nate against it.

Why vaccinate?

Vac­cines are used to pre­vent seri­ous dis­eases that cause seri­ous ill­ness and may cause dis­fig­ure­ment, dis­abil­i­ty, or death, despite the best avail­able treat­ments. Vac­cines are used against dis­eases that can get past the innate immune sys­tem. The innate immune sys­tem pro­vides gen­er­al­ized pro­tec­tion against any germs. Vac­cines give a head-start to our adap­tive immune sys­tem. The adap­tive immune sys­tem pro­vides spe­cif­ic pro­tec­tion against some­thing that the body has seen before.

No More Measles! The Truth About Vaccines and Your Health

No More Measles! The Truth About Vaccines and Your Health

Smallpox is gone. Polio is almost gone. Measles is next.

Whom should you trust for advice about vac­cines? Your fam­i­ly doc­tor? Or that guy who sells over­priced herbal sup­ple­ments over the Inter­net? This fas­ci­nat­ing book explains why vac­ci­na­tion is still the main­stay of pub­lic health. It explains what germs are, which ones are dan­ger­ous, and how you can pro­tect your­self and your fam­i­ly against them. Thanks to vac­ci­na­tion, many dis­eases that were com­mon caus­es of blind­ness, deaf­ness, paral­y­sis, or death at the turn of the 20th cen­tu­ry are rare in many coun­tries today. Some of these dis­eases are caused by germs that only infect human beings. Once we dri­ve those dis­eases into extinc­tion through vac­ci­na­tion, we will nev­er have to vac­ci­nate any­one else against them!

About the Book
ASIN: B019R68L6W
ISBN: 9780996881814
Dis­clo­sure of Mate­r­i­al Con­nec­tion: Some of the links in the page above are “affil­i­ate links.” This means if you click on the link and pur­chase the item, I will receive an affil­i­ate com­mis­sion. I am dis­clos­ing this in accor­dance with the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Con­cern­ing the Use of Endorse­ments and Tes­ti­mo­ni­als in Adver­tis­ing.”