A baby too young to be vaccinated contracted measles from an anti-vaxxer, CNN reports. The child’s mother, Fainy Sukenik, is pro-vaccination, and her children’s shots are up to date. But her child contracted measles because of an anti-vaxxer’s choice to refrain from getting the measles vaccination or vaccinating their own children.
The baby, Shira Goldschmidt, had to be hospitalized at 8 months old because of the virus. She was too young for the vaccine, which babies usually get after turning 1. They can get the vaccination at 6 months, but their immune systems usually aren’t developed enough for the vaccine to work as effectively at that age.
Measles outbreaks are occurring in her country, Israel, and in the U.S. There have been nearly 4,000 reported cases of measles in Israel since March 2018, CNN says. The CDC says there have been more than 500 cases in the U.S. since the start of this year.
That number is bound to grow if the anti-vaccination movement isn’t soon restrained, experts say. “It’s absolutely inevitable,” vaccine scientist Peter Hotez, MD told CNN.
“Measles can lead to ear infections, diarrhea, and infection of the lungs (pneumonia),” according to the CDC. “Rarely, measles can cause brain damage or death.”
Sukenik wrote about what anti-vaxxers have put her family through on social media. She emphasized that the choice someone made to refuse vaccination caused her daughter to have an illness that could cause major health problems such as brain damage later in life.
Getting measles has given her daughter trouble “eating, drinking, sleeping, and breathing,” Sukenik wrote on Facebook. She also shared a message to anti-vaxxers: “Don’t you want to get vaccinated? [If not,] sit in your enclosed places or mark yourselves and your children with big signs that say that this is your decision. Give us the right to choose whether to get close to you or to stay away. In the name of your freedom you have harmed my choices and in the health of my daughter and many others. How do you live with this in peace?”
If people continue to refuse vaccinations, measles could re-establish itself in the U.S., according to the CDC. “Research shows that people who refuse vaccines tend to group together in communities. When measles gets into communities with pockets of unvaccinated people, outbreaks are more likely to occur. These communities make it difficult to control the spread of the disease. And these communities make us vulnerable to having the virus re-establish itself in our country.”
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