You’ve got the chips and the dip, but who’s bringing the measles?
According to reports, parents across the country are planning to host measles parties to “get through” the virus. This practice echoes back to the days of Chicken Pox parties before an inoculation was developed in 1995.
After being declared eradicated in the U.S. in 2000, the measles has reared its ugly rash once again, infecting 121 people this year in 17 states. And according to some sources, parents are choosing a date with disease over vaccination for fear of autism -- a hot-button issue in the U.S.
“This is a very dangerous concept given the time we live in,” warns Ambreen Khalil, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Staten Island University Hospital. “Measles is usually a benign disease, but your child can be very sick for more than a week. To put your child through a week-long, severe illness with fevers, a rash, malaise, and have them out of school when they can prevent it with a vaccine is very dangerous and irresponsible.”
When it comes to risk of autism, Dr. Khalil says, check the facts.
“There is no clearly defined data that links vaccinations to autism,” she said, “and unless there’s a study that proves a link, you should inoculate your child and not put them at risk for potential brain damage from encephalitis -- a complication of measles which is very well documented.
“We have a safe vaccine and to deprive your child of it in this day and age is dangerous to them, as well as other children. Getting through it is an extreme course of action that I do not recommend.”