Harmless childhood diseases?! Yeah, Right!

One of the claims antivaccinationists make is that most of the illnesses prevented by vaccination are harmless, even a rite of passage for children. This is a sophistry. While most children will survive Rubella, Chickenpox (Varicella) and even Measles without lasting harm, some won’t. Also, illnesses like Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis and pneumococcal diseases are even more dangerous.
My experience with Chickenpox was fortunate. For me, it just meant a week off school and a coating of Calamine Lotion to stop the itchiness. Others haven’t been as lucky. Chickenpox can, and has, killed. In the US, the vaccine has reduced the death rate by almost 90%. Mumps, another “mild” disease, can render boys sterile. UC Berkeley is currently suffering a Mumps outbreak. A student picked up the disease while visiting Europe, and it spread from there.
Measles can have severe effects, including Subacute sclerosing Panencephalitis (SSPE), a rare but often fatal syndrome. It is characterised by a history of primary measles infection usually before the age of 2 years, followed by several asymptomatic years (6–15 on average), and then gradual, progressive psychoneurological deterioration, consisting of personality change, seizures, myoclonus, ataxia, photosensitivity, ocular abnormalities, spasticity, and coma. If it is caught when it is in Stage 1, then it can be treated, but if it progresses to Stage 2 then death is assured. I was fortunate in that I never got Measles, but a girl named Natalie wasn’t so lucky. She caught Measles from an unvaccinated child in 2000 when she was just seven months old. A few weeks ago aged 11, she developed full-blown SSPE, slipped into a coma, and died. The article is in German.
Diphtheria killed an unvaccinated woman in Australia earlier this year. The parents of Dana McCaffery, Kailis Smith and Kaliah Jeffrey all suffered the agony of seeing their children die, killed by Pertussis (Whooping Cough).
Whenever you hear the claim that it is better for children to catch diseases naturally, just remember that for some, these diseases aren’t so harmless.


About autismjungle

I am a Software Test Analyst. Shortly before I turned 21 I was officially diagnosed, although I had long suspected I was autistic. Welcome to my blog
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