February 17, 2015 – Better by Infection?


Anchor lead:  What accounts for parents resisting vaccination for their children? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Parents who refuse to have their children vaccinated against measles cite unfounded concerns about autism, but some simply say they’d rather boost their child’s immune system by allowing infection to take place.  Diane Griffin, a measles expert at Johns Hopkins, says such an attitude is born of no experience with the infection.

Griffin: There are people who think their children will be stronger because they’ve now overcome this.  That whole argument first of all is partly because today’s parents didn’t live through the time when these diseases were very common and late complications or even long term complications of measles, the encephalomyelitis more than half of people who survive that complication have long term seizures or paralysis or mental retardation, preventable neurologic disease.   :31

Griffin says the acute phase of measles is truly miserable and should be avoided if at all possible.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.