Why aren’t there any ebola parties?

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Yesterday, the PBS NewsHour felt compelled to inform its viewers that they should not let their children attend measles parties.

Measles parties are relatively new since, until recently, there were very few cases of measles. But now that measles is back (courtesy of anti-vax parents):

KQED Public Media told the story from Marin County of unvaccinated children being invited to a so-called measles party for intentional exposure.

The belief behind measles parties is that exposing them to the disease will protect them by allowing them to develop “natural” immunity. Of course it will also sicken them and possibly kill some before they develop that “natural” immunity. Yet what these anti-vax parents fail to realize is that the immunity is no more “natural” than the immunity developed in response to the measles vaccine.

Immunity requires that the body “see” the virus or bacterium and then develop antibodies to disable and ultimately kill it, so that the next time the child encounters the relevant virus or bacterium, it will have a head start in creating antibodies and therefore will not once again become ill with the disease.

What’s the difference between immunity developed to the disease and immunity developed to the vaccine?

Every virus or bacterium is covered with hundreds of molecules; antibodies can be created to any of those molecules. In the case of disease, the child is exposed to the entire potentially deadly organism. In the case of the vaccine, the child is exposed either to a weakened organism or a non-harmful piece of a harmful organism. That’s why a vaccine can create immunity without causing illness. The evidence that the child’s body has “seen” the virus or bacterium is usually localized inflammation (some redness and swelling at the site of injection) and possibly a fever as well. These are signs that the body is reacting to the presence of the vaccine IN THE EXACT SAME WAY that it would react to the presence of the virus or bacterium.

To use a military analogy, a vaccine is like breaking a code. Breaking the code allows one side to learn the plans of the other side and prepare to defend against them. Knowing, for example, when and where an attack will be launched as well as what weapons, air coverage and troop strength will be involved, helps the code breakers to arrange their forces in the way that will best counter the attack.

Refusing the vaccine is analogous to refusing to intercept and break the code. It’s waiting until the attack starts to figure out when and where it is taking place, and waiting for the battle to develop to determine the weapons, air coverage and troop strength arrayed against you.

Which tactic do you think gives an army the best chance of fighting off an attack? Knowing the enemy’s plans and creating a strategy to counteract them or waiting until the battle is joined to figure out what is going on and what you need to do to defend yourself?

A measles party is the equivalent of dumping your troops on to the battle field without advance intelligence. Sure, those that survive the battle will walk away with knowledge of when, where and how it took place, but lots of soldiers won’t survive to convey that knowledge.

Although measles parties are new, there is ample precendent in the anti-vax community. Chicken pox parties have been popular for years, and mothers have offered on Facebook and message boards to send lollipops licked by children with chickenpox (I’m not making this up!) to mothers whose children have no immunity.

So here’s my question:

Why are there no ebola parties?

Why aren’t mothers reaching out to African parents to get lollipops or articles of clothing from children infected with ebola in order to create “natural immunity” in their own children. After all, it is only a matter of time before an ebola epidemic occurs here.

The dearth of ebola parties harks back to the motivations of anti-vax parents. As I’ve written repeatedly, anti-vax is not about science, but about parental ego, defiance and empowerment.

There are no ebola parties (and there won’t be any for the foreseeable future) because anti-vax parents are not insulated from ebola by their privilege. Yes, they live in a wealthy, technologically advanced society and have easy access to hospitals and medications, but that isn’t always effective against ebola. Parents do not have the privilege of ostentatiously refusing vaccination against ebola because there is no vaccine as yet, And the “evil” hospitals and doctors may fail in treating it so they don’t have the privilege of turning to them to rescue their children from their own selfishness.

The element of defiance that is so important in the contemporary anti-vax movement is also missing since no authority figures have issued any recommendations about avoiding ebola. Where’s the thrill in having an ebola party when you haven’t defied anyone to do so. How much better, then, to have a measles party in order to thumb your nose at the CDC?

Finally, even for the anti-vax folks, there’s nothing empowering about ebola. It’s highly contagious and highly deadly. The chances of making an “empowering” statement of defiance on ebola are much lower than the chances of dying of ebola itself. Have a measles party, and odds are good that your child will survive the measles. Have an ebola party, and you’ll almost certainly be burying your children in the ground.

There are no ebola parties because the opportunity to broadcast your privege by refusing that privilege is non-existent; the opportunity to pat yourself on the back for defying authority is non-existent, too.

There’s no chance of bolstering parental self-esteem with an ebola party, so the anti-vax crowd will burnish their egos with measles and chickenpox parties, instead. And their children (and other people’s children!), who could have easily been protected by the vaccine without getting ill, will suffer and may die so that anti-vax parents can boast to each other that they understand vaccines better than all immunologists, pediatricians and epidemiologists the world over.

  • sdsures

    Caught some typos:

    1) “Immunity requires that the body “see” the virus or bacterium and then develop antibodies to disable and ultimately kill the it, so that the next time the child…”

    “and ultimately kill the it”

    2) “Refusing the vaccine is analogous to refusing to intercept and break the code. It’s waiting until the attack starts to figure out when and where it is taking place, and waiting for the battle to develop to determine the weapons, air coverage and troop strentgth arrayed against you.”

    “troop strength”

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks.

  • Kate

    You said it, Amy: “Have a measles party, and odds are good that you child will survive the measles.”

    • schnitzelbank

      You missed the point, Kate.

    • pinkyrn

      I wonder what the odds really are?

  • Mariana

    Parents in Brazil (where I live) will go to great lengths to get their kids vaccinated. The one public health issue the federal government gets right here is the need to vaccinate everyone against as many illnesses as possible. But now, thanks to anti-vax in the US and Europe we have measles again circulating. We also have TB despite vaccinating virtually all babies within a week of being born.

    • Mariana Baca

      Well, The TB vaccine is not that effective, unfortunately (I’ve had the vaccine — my mom had TB when I was a kid, and didn’t brilliantly think the right course of action was to try to infect her kids, fortunately, but to protect them as much as possible). And there has been TB in Brazil for a long time, nothing to do with anti-vax sentiment. (I used to live in Brazil as a kid, too! Hello person with my name!).

      It is unfortunate if anti-vax becomes trendy in countries where some diseases are still sort of endemic.

  • Nick Sanders

    This page still doesn’t have a forward link to the next post for some reason.

    • sdsures

      The links are right above the comments section.

      • Nick Sanders

        Yeah, and something about the coding at the time, and maybe still, means newer articles would lack the one for the article that came after them.

  • Busbus

    Interesting: Babies born after 42 weeks more likely to suffer from ADHD and behavioural problems? http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245028.php

    • Young CC Prof

      That study is actually almost three years old. It should have gotten lots of press, apparently it got very little. And what does Midwifery Today say? “Babies aren’t library books.”

  • nomofear
  • Allie P

    Did anyone read the Great Brain Books? They were kind of a boys’ centric Little House series, about a family in a pioneer town in Utah. I loved them when I was a kid, but there was a big section on how whenever one of the kids had a childhood illness (measles, mumps, etc.) the mother would put all the kids in bed together so they’d all get it at once. The youngest boy, the narrator, was usually the last to fall ill, and his description of his brother’s torturing him after they’d recovered by coming into his sick room and talking about the fun he was missing or eating solid food in front of him was truly haunting. And they all came out of their illnesses relatively unscathed! No child should have to suffer like that. I only had chicken pox when I was a kid, and it was the worst summer of my life. My little brother ended up in the hospital with his case. NO THANK YOU.

    • Allie P

      Also, later GB books had a kid dying of diabetes (which my mom had to explain to me, since i had a friend with diabetes and I knew it wasn’t going to kill her) and other medical oddities.

  • thea

    OT. A birth centre was stopped fromdelivering babies due to poor care of mothers & newborns.
    http://m.cjonline.com/news/2015-02-12/state-suspends-deliveries-topeka-birth-and-womens-center#gsc.tab=0

    I had a baby there several years ago. The midwife brought her baby along for the delivery which started in the evening .my baby arrived the following afternoon. Them I wife acted annoyed that I wasinterrupting time with her baby and spent most of the time in other rooms, away from me with her child. In the morning, I was given stadol then left alone with just my husband for over an hour. The officer manager/childbirth educator came check on me and ended up catching the baby. A few weeks after the birth, I experienced excruciating vaginal pain w I th every step. I went in for them to check and they just said I needed to rest more. No long term damage but I left . I’ve been with an ob since then.

    This birth center is staffed by CNM s and RNs. It I s run by an MD who lost hospital delivery privileges a decade ago

    • Medwife

      Wow, kept an admitted meth user as a patient without the ability to do a crash section. Bold. I guess they’ve never seen a “meth induction”. Babies tend to get a little banged up.

    • Dr Kitty

      A BMI of 52!!
      42 weekers on more than one occasion!
      A Meth user!
      A hypertensive who probably suffered a TIA!

      Dear GOD!!

      BTW I’ve just seen draft guidance for criteria of women suitable for delivery in local Free standing MLUs and co-located Alongside MLUS (which share a site or a building with a consultant led unit).

      FMLUs aren’t taking women with BMI over 30, Age over 35, P4 or higher, previous PPH, gestation under 38w or over 41w. No pre-eclampsia, no GDM, no relevant medical hx, no ART other than clomid. No hx of mental illness. Singleton, cephalic babies only with EFW which do not suggest IUGR or LGA. No prior hx of IUGR or LGA.

      AMLUs aren’t taking women with BMI over 35, Age over 40, P6 or higher, gestation under 38w or over 41+3w. They’re taking women with known Pre-e, but only if BP remains under 130/90, without symptoms. Singleton ceohalic babies only. No diabetics, no PPH requiring transfusion, no known IUGR or LGA in current pregnancy.

      These criteria will be strictly adhered to on a regional basis once the precise details are agreed.

      So even the NHS midwives, who are pretty gung-ho, would be giving that Topeka Birth Centre major side-eye.

      • Sarah

        They do VBACs, though? I can see why that would be ok for an AMLU, less so an FMLU.

        • Dr Kitty

          No VBACs.
          RCOG is quite clear on appropriate setting for VBACs and FMLU is not it.
          AMLUs are taking some VBACs, but they seem to be women who had at least one VB followed by a CS for a non recurring issue.

          • Ash

            AMLU–ambulatory midwifery led unit?

          • Dr Kitty

            Alongside, not ambulatory.
            Usually in the same building as a consultant led unit, so not more than an elevator ride from all the bells and whistles and machines that go ping,

    • Bugsy

      “Them I wife acted annoyed that I wasinterrupting time with her baby and spent most of the time in other rooms, away from me with her child.”

      Wow. Just wow.

  • Valerie

    Good news! It looks like there is no evidence at this point that anybody has actually planned or held a measles party. All the news reports stem from the same rumored suggestion:

    http://www.today.com/health/measles-parties-california-prove-false-2D80486307

    also

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/measlesparties.asp

    Apologies if anybody has already mentioned this.

    • Cobalt

      Give it time.

  • MEASLES PARTIES? SERIOUSLY?

  • S

    Somewhat OT: Does anyone know if i should avoid sharing spit with the baby after my varicella vax? If so, for how long?

    • S

      Generally i don’t hesitate to call the pediatrician’s office with questions, but this one seems pretty trivial, especially since common sense would say don’t slobber on the baby as a general rule.

      My own doctor was reluctant to give me the shot at all for fear of giving me chickenpox.

    • S

      After thinking this over a bit, i don’t see how there could be any issue; lots of babies’ older siblings probably get MMRV and then undoubtedly do all sorts of disgusting kid things. Never mind, thanks!

      • Cobalt

        That sounds like a really good indicator. If it’s safe for toddlers it’s usually safe in general. Toddlers are naturally unhygenic.

    • Sue

      The varicella strain in the vaccine is significantly weakened in comparison to the naturally-infecting strain. One source I found said that there were only five cases reported of vaccine-spread chicken-pox over 55 million doses, and those cases were mild, because it is an attenuated virus.

      If the recipient does get chicken pox, which happens in about 1% of cases, they generally only get a few spots – not the huge numbers of blisters containing virus-laden fluid.

      Here are a couple of good sources:
      http://vec.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/a-look-at-each-vaccine/varicella-chickenpox-vaccine.html
      and
      http://luckylosing.com/2011/10/13/vaccine-shedding-time-up-for-another-vaccine-myth/

      • S

        I got nervous for a bit because my doc was so concerned, but she’s an internist and probably never orders the shot. I’d checked with my kids’ pediatrician when the baby was a _newborn_, and he was remarkably unconcerned.

  • Amy M
    • Cobalt

      The disease transmission simulation on that link is awesome.

    • Bugsy

      Great article, thanks for posting. There are a few factual errors in it that are driving me nuts.

      “Tens of thousands of commuters may have been exposed to measles after an infectious LinkedIn employee – apparently en route from vaccination-averse Silicon Valley – traveled by train into and out of San Francisco last week, county health officials said on Wednesday.”

      Contra Costa county is in the East Bay, and not what I recollect as being part of Silicon Valley (generally San Mateo & Santa Clara counties, south of San Francisco and on the peninsula.).

      BART extends into San Mateo county as far south as Millbrae (San Francisco International Airport). If Silicon Valley were the issue, they’d be discussing Cal Train exposures.

      I researched vax rates in Silicon Valley prior to our trip there, and found that they’re actually fairly high in the two counties I mention above. Yes, the counties are wealthy and highly educated but are also fairly well-vaccinated. The areas surrounding Marin, Sonoma and Berkeley – as well as parts of San Francisco itself – are another matter, however. Long live Nor Cal crunchiness!

      Anyway, those are just some corrections on factual errors in an otherwise great article. Signed, a former Bay Area resident.

  • theadequatemother

    Don’t you think its also because antivax parents know they aren’t immune to ebola but most of them are immune to measles since they were probably vaccinated?

    So they take on no personal health risk from a measles party.

    • Cobalt

      That’s an excellent point. No personal risk, so no personal reason to avoid the disease. Other people’s suffering, even their own kid’s, just doesn’t matter.

  • AnnaC

    When I was a child we did not have MMR (not yet developed). If my mother heard of a case of rubella then she would send me round to play in the hope that I would catch it in childhood and thus be immune by the time I was of child-bearing age. It didn’t work but luckily, as an adult, I was having vaccinations for travel and the doc suggested I have the new rubella vaccination at the same time so my children were never at risk from rubella-induced deaf-blindness.

    • My mother did the same with chicken pox, and I never managed to catch it.

      • Sue

        So much for the reliability of “natural immunity”.

        • The odd thing is, I had titers drawn later and was immune. I must have had it somewhere along the line and it was so mild no one noticed.

          • Francesca Violi

            It happened to me too: 5 years ago, in early pregnancy with kid n°2, I realised n°1 had just developed varicella(chicken pox). That was scary: my sister had it as a child, but I did not – and it can be very bad for a foetus. I ran to the hospital, but the immunologist said I probably DID get it from my sister as a child, in such a mild way that no one noticed, because varicella is very contagious and if you live with someone sick it is almost impossible you don’t get it. As it would take longer to know the results of the test than to wait for the disease to show up, he suggested to wait and see and in case to get the antiviral. Nothing happened. That must mean I was already immune, because you know how little kids drool, snot etc.all over you, there’s no way of not being exposed, especially when you are unaware, in the days prior to spots showing.

  • Amy

    Slightly OT, but did you realize that you’re anti-choice now, Dr. Amy? All because you don’t support home birth?

    This article is pretty ridiculous and funny.

    http://birthanarchy.com/pro-choice-movement-deployed-paternalism-vaccine-war/

    • yugaya

      I got that posted “at me” the other day, by a homebirth activist who shares vaccine advice from ” Esoteric Calendar”. I think I’m officially a Fed Upper now.

    • Young CC Prof

      Because telling people home birth is dangerous is exactly like trying to take away the legal rights of pregnant women.

      • yugaya

        Because pregnancy is as communicable as measles and as such has the same social implications.

        • Cobalt

          It is the leading cause of abortion, cesarean section, preeclampsia, preterm labor, and pelvic floor dysfunction. Still less deadly than measles though.

          • Pregnancy does kill. You are more likely to die, for example, from being pregnant than on the Pill.

            And, while I have no statistics to back me up (anyone out there who can supply some?) my gut feeling is that pregnancy IS more lethal than measles.

          • Dr Kitty

            Measles has an estimated mortality rate of 0.2-10% depending on access to care and pre-existing nutritional status.
            The global number of measles deaths in the last 15 years has declined by more than 75%- simply because vaccination rates for a single dose of MMR have risen from 73% of 1 year olds to 84% of 1 years olds.

            Pregnancy kills between 1 woman in 10,000 live births (most developed nations) and 170 women in 10,000 live births (Chad, Eritrea, Angola).
            Historically, the risk of maternal mortality was approximately 1% before the development of modern obstetrics.
            Women in several developing countries have a lifetime risk of death as a result of pregnancy that approaches 1 in 7.

            In short, pregnancy can be a lot safer than measles…or more deadly, but it very much depends where you are.

            BUT measles vaccination, which has a mortality rate of less than 1 in a million…is much safer than measles and pregnancy.

        • Nick Sanders

          I’ve been around tons of people, including many who were very obviously showing all the symptoms of full-blown pregnancy, and I’ve never caught it once. I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s such a big deal.

          I mean, sure there was that one big outbreak back in the 40’s and 50’s, but we have much better medical care now.

          • Bugsy

            Hehe. As a woman struggling with fertility issues, all I can say is that I wish pregnancy were that simple!!

          • Cobalt

            I’d make a really bad joke about pregnancy parties, but that would be just a little too far out for me.

            And yes, it would be great if fertility was as predictable as measles.

          • Nick Sanders

            I hope your luck turns around soon.

          • Bugsy

            Thanks, Nick.

      • SarahSD

        Like calling a misogynist an asshole for telling rape jokes is “censoring their free speech”. Or like how removing personal choice exemptions in order to attend public school is “forced vaccination”.

      • Who?

        It’s the same tedious old story as every ‘all my rights’ poster does here. Suggest it might be lead to better outcomes to do something other than what they propose and they are straight to ‘you want to make it illegal/ban it/run my life your way’.

        I’m not clear whether it is a rhetorical flourish, or a deeply held fear and anxiety. Either way, it is boring. And wrong.

      • Sarah

        It’s totes worse.

  • Mike

    I saw some comments in regards to foods a couple of days ago – My friend just posted this on FB – I am curious as to your thoughts?
    ******
    True Story, just happened! Sitting at Starbucks and struck up a random 20min nice conversation with just a 55-60yr old gentleman sipping his coffee… (trimmed down version)

    “Man that’s a stack of paperwork. ”

    –” lol, yeah it is, I feel like I’m filling out my life. Lol! What do you do!?”

    “I work for the USDA… ”

    Me.. Oh wow, what do you do…

    ” ….. I bring crops over from Mexico and South America. It’s a job…… (I knod my head)….. Truth be told, I wouldn’t eat that shit at all. 1000s of Dead rabbits everywhere because they can’t live after licking and eating the leaves down there. It’s like a pet cemetery. ”

    Me….”omg, really, why!?”

    “DDT, agent orange. It’s on everything. And rabbits are hungry. They go into the crops and eat them or lick the leaves. DDT is ready Roundup. You know, basically that stuff they used in Vietnam. They put that Roundup on everything. Only thing that seems to survive is rats. Those suckers are bullet proof, squirrels too, they won’t die. But I tell ya they will tear up the bottom of a truck. Just had $2800 in repairs. USDA paid for it, but it sucks when you cant cross the border cause truck problems.”

    Me….”wow, tough rats huh? Sorry to hear. Do you eat those crops knowing what you know?”

    “oh shit no, I grow my own. USDA ain’t nothing but a job. I live in Hutto and have a big Ranch. Me and my wife just do our own thing and crop trade with neighbors. Yeah, I eat healthy, but I gotta beer belly. I like my beer. ”

    Me… Wow, that stuff is bad news then, huh?

    “yeah, I know you’re young. But my grandpa was a farmer and still has a big ass can of DDT in his stables. We don’t go in there. Stuff will kill you. They used that in warfare. It’s poison at its best. Tons of acres poisoned down there. We have like a half acre we havent touched because we don’t really know what to do.”

    Me… Amazing, how they allow that stuff here. Are you scared of exposure.?

    ” ah, yeah. I try to keep back. But you know honey, money talks. It’s a business. Well, I better gets. You keep well dear. Gotta get going before it rains too bad on me. “

    • LovleAnjel

      DDT is not Agent Orange, and neither of them is Roundup. Those are completely different chemicals with completely different effects!

      Is this man really claiming that farmers spray an exfoliant *on their crops*? The whole point of Agent Orange is kill all of the leaves on plants! That’s a terrible chemical to use on commercial crops!

    • S

      I’ve held a commercial pesticide applicator license. I’ve also had my fed med (medical certification to drive a commercial vehicle), have helped issue commercial drivers licenses (on the paperwork side; did not administer any tests), and have friends with CDLs.

      All this is to say, truck driver training really doesn’t cover crop production or pesticides. =)

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Can I get things that never happen for $1,000?

      • S

        I’ve no reason to doubt the _conversation_ happened, and probably the truck driver believes his part of it. Sounds like one colorful guy!

        What i’d like to know is, in what context was that conversation posted? “Hey, check out this crazy conversation i just had!” or “Take note: Even more evidence that the government is poisoning our food supply!”

        • Mike

          It was the first – she wasn’t saying anything regarding conspiracies about government. She went on to say that she usually eats produce that comes from Mexico and South America, but her run in with this guy freaked her out.

          • yugaya

            Do you honestly believe people just go around telling true stories implicating government culpability in poisoning its people …like that, over a Starbucks coffee?

          • Mike

            Well what do you think his motivation was in sharing that story then? He doesn’t seem like the picture of health seeing as he is described as having a beer belly…they were just chatting…

          • Cobalt

            People that believe in conspiracies have to share the conspiracy. You don’t get any points for keeping it to yourself.

          • Mike

            So you think he made this up?

          • Cobalt

            He is, at absolute best, connecting a lot of unrelated and misunderstood dots.

          • yugaya

            OMG DEAD RABBITS EVERYWHERE!!!

          • GiddyUpGo123

            I think the person who originally wrote it all down made up the whole encounter. It sounds to me like someone with an interest in selling locally grown produce wanted to convince people not to buy produce from Mexico, which is where a lot of the grocery store stuff comes from, especially off-season. I think your friend found the story on someone else’s Facebook feed and reposted it … I’m sure it was out of goodwill but I don’t think the Starbucks encounter ever happened.

          • S

            Why does anyone strike up a conversation with a stranger? Why do random people tell me their life story on a long bus ride? Some people just like to talk.

          • Kq

            I work for a freight company. I can tell you that truck drivers like to fuck with people. They tend to think it’s hilarious. Trucker humor is a unique thing.

          • S

            I actually do honestly believe that people share their random nutty conspiracies with complete strangers. What i did not realize, until now, is that anyone actually believed them.

          • Nick Sanders

            Sure; you can meet crazy ramblers anywhere, anytime.

          • S

            It sounds like she met a guy who like to talk out of his ass. No need for concern. Just sit back and enjoy!

          • Mike

            No need for concern when he refuses to eat the very food that he brings over? And describes it as a pet cemetery?

          • S

            Evaluate your source. For one thing, he doesn’t know the difference between an insecticide and an herbicide. He’s a truck driver. On what is he basing his claims? Does he go out into the fields, inspect the crops, wander into the barn and personally inventory the chemicals?

          • Mike

            I don’t know – it wasn’t me in the conversation – but I suspect this view of dead rabbits everywhere is a pretty significant detail – how would we know that what is killing the rabbits doesn’t damage us?

          • Cobalt

            What’s killing the rabbits? Were they deliberately poisoned to stop them from damaging the crops? Was it really just a few dead rabbits, once, that got embellished to mass rabbit death?

          • I don’t think Brian Williams was the truck driver.

          • S

            Pretty much everything this person said about pesticides is wrong and makes no sense. Therefore, i have no reason to believe any of his comments.

          • Because we haven’t dropped dead.

            As the conversation is recounted, Trucker Man is very ignorant about pesticides and herbicides, throwing “Roundup” and “Agent Orange” and “DDT” in contexts where those products aren’t used. However, those are brands that the average person who isn’t a chemist or farmer would recognize, and they were obviously chosen for that reason.

            Small animals are killed during mechanical harvesting and cultivation. That’s just a thing that happens, and it’s terrible and poses a weird existential dilemma for vegans.

          • Sue

            I call foul.

            Your “friend’s” story is all over the internet, using the exact same words.

    • yugaya

      You know, all those stories that fly in my feed on fb that begin with double reinforcements (true story/just happened)…nine out of ten times when I take a closer look turns out they’re fake ( the age/gender/profession of the supposed speaker does not match the content, the narration is too clear, agency keeps shifting… There’s a reason why teachers who are used to examining other people’s language patterns know when you submit something your third cousin wrote as your own homework masterpiece. 😀

      • Mike

        So you think this person made this up?

        • yugaya

          I didn’t take a closer look, I just skimmed, based on my experience so far the beginning is a major red flag.

          • Mike

            I think she started with “true story” because it was such an unexpected conversation – I know her, and she isn’t a conspiracy theorist or known to lie or exaggerate – she just wanted to share her experience.

          • KarenJJ

            Maybe she made it up, maybe he did.

          • Sue

            “Mike”, if your “friend”’s story is true, how come it is on some many other FB pages?

          • Obviously Trucker Guy is on a national tour of Starbucks stores.

    • Mike

      But what do you think about the fact that he defines it as a pet cemetery?

      • Cobalt

        Who knows? I would guess that if rabbits are a major pests and causing extensive crop damages, there may well be an eradication campaign, which may include poison. Kind of like the rat poison Americans use if they have rodent infestations in their house.

      • yugaya

        Let’s not call supposedly truthful subjective account of hearsay a fact.

        • Mike

          I see that you don’t want to believe it – so – hypothetically speaking – if this were true, how would it make you feel about eating produce from these countries?

          • yugaya

            Even if I were to believe it as in take it at face value at the start of this conversation, seeing the great lengths you’ve gone to validate the content ( my friend who posted this is not some conspiracy theorist, look this guy’s motivations check in as well as his health status against what he is describing, number of your comments directing people to discuss the story as factual, even hypothetically…) – I’m gonna say no after all that. There’s plenty of ways a discussion can occur on this subject based on real facts, we don’t need to indulge wild stories.

          • Mike

            I am validating the source of the content, yes. I guess my question is – if this is true, would we ever find out about it?

          • Cobalt

            If farmers were defoliating their crops to kill rabbits, yes we would definitely hear about it. For the same reason we wouldn’t be getting crops from those countries.

            The crops would all be dead, and there would be nothing to import.

          • KarenJJ

            We had a “pet cemetary” incident in my work – small incident (a wombat, a few foxes and some wallabies) and not unexpected (electrical accident) and people have told that story.. People talk.. Mistreatment of animals – wouldn’t someone have tipped someone off? We know of mistreatment of so many other animals. There were photos of sharks getting their fins cut off and being thrown back into the water some years ago – this was from a fishing boat in the Indian ocean. Thousands of rabbits would raise alarm bells (unless maybe it’s part of a baiting program and nothing to do with the crops themselves?).

          • Ruby

            That still happens (the shark fin thing), so that people can eat shark fin soup 🙁

          • Sue

            The “Mike” person sounds like he or she is push polling. I smell a rat (unaffected by pesticide).

            People who genuinely want to know if this is plausible don’t ask questions like ‘if this is true, would we ever find out about it?’.

          • Nick Sanders

            Do you mean true in that the conversation actually occurred, or true in that the truck driver’s account was factual. Because the former wouldn’t change my mind at all, since the latter is impossible.

          • KarenJJ

            I’m a bit confused about what you want from people here. Are you seeking validation that it might be true based on your friend’s account with a stranger she met in a coffee shop? Well, it might but you know better than us – one of them is a stranger to you, whereas as from our perspective; you, your friend and your friend’s casual conversationalist at the cafe are all complete strangers to me. What do you expect me to believe out of that? That people have wacky conversations and post them onto facebook?

            Nobody can make a decision based on the information provided. Maybe a tip-off for an investigation to find out what is actually going on (my guess would be baiting for rabbits that have been destroying crops) but I wouldn’t make a decision about food based on this sort of hearsay.

          • Francesca Violi

            Well, last week the owner of my local drugstore actively tried to persuade me that Big Pharma is spreading the flu (flu hit hard around here this winter) so that we all buy their vaccine. So I’m not so impressed by your rabbit-poisoning guy.

      • S

        What chemical are we talking about here? DDT is an insecticide, the other two herbicides. I know almost nothing about Agent Orange except that it’s known to have health effects, and that a component of it, 2,4-D, is used by a lot of people on their yards. (In fact i wonder if he doesn’t actually mean 2,4-D because he once heard that they’re related.) Round-Up is extensively used and has not been found to cause huge numbers of rodents to drop dead.

    • Amy M

      Agent Orange and DDT aren’t the same thing…Agent orange kills the plants, farmers wouldn’t put that on crops, they’d have no crops

      • S

        …Now that i think of it, 2,4-D (component of Agent Orange, comment below) sounds a little like DDT. Maybe he thinks they are all interchangeable. (2,4-D is a broadleaf herbicide, so it shouldn’t hurt your crop if it’s a grass.)

    • An Actual Attorney

      Government workers don’t take care of their files at a table in Starbucks. We have desks.

      • Mike

        I don’t believe he was taking care of a file – I believe he was dropping into Starbucks for a coffee like most others. The stack of paperwork is not his, it is hers.

    • GiddyUpGo123

      If you Google parts of that post, you’ll find it on the feeds of a handful of Facebook users, all of whom posted it in exactly the same way, as if it was something that happened to them specifically … and that’s just the people who have public feeds. The first thing I would do is ask her if that really happened to her, or if she’s posted it from another source.

      My guess would be, someone made it all up and posted it in hopes that it would get copied and reposted, which is exactly what happened. Which means that the whole thing is suspect.

      Also, if this is something that really happened to her her recall is pretty damned good, right down to the place where the guy lives, what he said about squirrels and rats and his unique way of speaking. If it was something that really happened, my guess would be she would have written it as a summary rather than a line by line conversation. As a conversation it sounds totally invented.

      • S

        =( I wanted to believe in Trucker Guy.

      • I bet someone made it up and posted it on GMO Inside or one of those groups.

      • Who?

        People always think they are going to be better than they are at writing convincing conversations.

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Also, thousands of dead rabbits all over the place … do you really think it’s plausible that no one else has ever noticed this and spoken out about it? Only this one truck driver, who decided to tell some random person at a Starbucks?

    • Medwife

      Your friend was writing a spoken conversation and quoted herself as saying “lol”? Twice? That reads like a copypasta written for the internet and being spammed around.

      Edit: don’t bother to push that bullshit on this site or others like it. Too many people with a few neurons to rub together who have been on the internet for longer than a week.

      • Mike

        I am not “pushing it” on anyone – people were commenting on her post, so I posted here to get some opinions and feedback, which I can now take back and post for them, so that they can also get their facts straight. Please don’t assume I am pushing anything on anyone – and insulting me by saying I have only been on the internet for a week – uncalled for. Thanks!

        • Cobalt

          And now that you have this feedback, any continued distribution of said story will no longer be forgiven under Hanlon’s Razor, as it is now in the territory of Cobalt’s Mirror (formerly Corollary, but I think Mirror is catchier).

          Hat tip to Nick Sanders for the inspiration.

        • Sue

          Please don’t insult all of us by claiming that a scam story that is re-posted around the internet is a true story about your “friend”. Thanks!

    • Houston Mom

      I would have to wonder about the USDA driving trucks down to import food themselves. I would imagine it is more likely that private companies import the food. Truck drivers are probably picking up the cargo at a distribution center and not from the farm. Seems unlikely.

      • Houston Mom

        Here is the USDA’s
        information about how to import fruits and vegetables

        http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/plant_health/2012/fs_imp_food_ppq.pdf

        The USDA oversees the process but isn’t sending
        trucks down to Mexico with their own drivers. So the story fails muster right there.

        • Mike

          Thank you, Houston Mom – I was just curious when I read it and wanted to see what people had to say about it. I appreciate you taking the time to look into it and posting the link.

          • Houston Mom

            I have to do this several times a week just to my mom’s emails – fyi, the police do not recommend wasp spray to deter attackers 🙂

      • Young CC Prof

        Also, my dad’s friend sells Iowa corn to Mexico. He sends it by train, not by truck. They definitely aren’t getting South American fresh produce by truck.

    • LovleAnjel

      I wonder if the guy puts unleaded in his diesel engine because, by his logic, they are the same thing?

    • Nick Sanders

      Please tell me you laughed in their face. Or asked if your friend did.

    • Sue

      I put a bit of the rabbit-licking sentence into Google and got all sorts of hits on different FB pages – this is just an urban myth that’s doing the rounds.

      And anyway, Roundup is Glyphosate, not DDT. And “Agent Orange” is a defoliant herbicide mixture – it would hardly be used in agriculture!

      So, the message is both a scam and factually wrong.

      • Mariana Baca

        So Agent orange is a mixture of two herbicides: one which isn’t used in agriculture nowadays because of toxicity (2,4,5-T), and 2.4-D which is used selectively. Glyphosate is also a herbicide, but a different one. Herbicides are used extensively in agriculture, to get rid of all the weeds. Just, not, you know, in the concentrations of agent orange, because that is just stupid.

    • Mariana Baca

      Yeah, DDT, Roundup, and Agent Orange are 3 completely different chemicals, with completely different toxicities and purposes.

      Also, although I can’t speak for rabbits in mexico, there aren’t all that many rabbits in South America. It is not the sort of thing you’d notice dying in hordes. Same with squirrels.

      I have family members that do agriculture in Peru. I’ve never seen dead mammalian pests from poisoning all over the place, or this being mentioned as an issue.

  • Mac Sherbert

    OT: Came across this gem today. Comment on a blog post about not giving out due dates. Sigh.

    • Cobalt

      It’s the baby’s due date, and it’s a very good approximation of the placenta’s expiration date. And when the placenta expires, the only safe place for the baby is one with air. Why risk the wait?

      • Mac Sherbert

        Maybe I’ll steal your reply and post it on the page. 😉

    • demodocus’ spouse

      Well, it kinda is like the expiration date. Sure, your milk is typically fine for another day or two, but you don’t want to hold on to it much past that.
      We noticed that people weren’t really paying attention when we said he was due Nov 1st. No dear, we do not have a month to go when you ask on Oct 25th.

    • guestS

      I wish I’d lied about my due date (today!!!!) then I wouldn’t have had my Mother on the phone twice a day, every day for the past three weeks! Other than that, happy to have an expiration date on this pregnancy!

      • yugaya

        Awww fingers crossed and take care!!!

      • Young CC Prof

        There are advantages to not telling the entire planet your actual due date, and my obstetrician actually suggested I blur the truth a bit.

        Between you and your care providers, the due date should be as accurate as possible and taken seriously, but between you and all your nosy friends and relations, feel free to pick a due date a couple weeks later to avoid pressure during the last few weeks of pregnancy.

        • guestS

          Stupidly I did with the other two but they were both early so everyone thought I’d had a preemie! So this time, third time, assuming that it would be the same I just told the truth and yet here I am, size of a volvo and nothing doing with texts and calls!

          Thanks everyone. Fingers crossed something will happen soon!

          • Cobalt

            News?

    • LovleAnjel

      I shared my due date because it was the same day as a major beer festival my husband attended with his friends every year. I even repurposed their promotional countdown memes. It got funny when I had to edit them to make negative numbers after we went postdates.

      (No, he did not attend that year. He values his life.)

  • A

    Not vaccinating your kid against measles or chickenpox, etc. because you think he won’t be exposed to the disease is stupid, but not vaccinating your kid and then exposing him to the disease… Good Lord.
    So the minor, very rare, or outright imaginary risks of vaccines are not worth it, but the very real and common chance of death from those illnesses is okay. I just… You know, I think this has to be considered abuse. Just what parent wants their child to get ill, possibly developing serious and often fatal complications?

    “…mothers have offered on Facebook and message boards to send lollipops licked by children with chickenpox (I’m not making this up!) to mothers whose children have no immunity.”

    I think this is the worst I have heard since that unscreened donor milk which turned out to have HIV.

    • Young CC Prof

      Yeah, that one’s been going around for a while. If you have details, report it to the state health department.

    • Nick Sanders

      Worse still: I’m in some pro-science facebook groups. Facebook takes this an an incentive to suggest anti-science groups to me. One such group had a link to a site advising parents how to “manage” pertussis via positioning and patting the child. I was horrified.

      • Cobalt

        Position them in the doctors office and pat them with a needle of DTaP? Or position them in a hospital bed and pat their lungs with a nebulizer?

  • A

    An anti-vax aquaintance that I have on Facebook seriously claims that Ebola is a lie (or myth or whatever) propagated by “big pharma” in order to sell more vaccines… Yeah.

    • Stacy48918

      When they flew those doctors back to the US, my ex believed it was a government plot to unleash Ebola on American citizens and force vaccinations. @@

      • JJ

        I don’t know how people get out of bed every morning thinking there are masses of people secretly plotting to kill them. I really don’t understand conspiracies involving making large amounts of taxpayers sick/dead. It makes no sense.

        • Stacy48918

          He’s a very special kind of nuts.

          • Cobalt

            Once again, I am so happy for you and your new life.

        • Who?

          I just don’t get how government can be full of incompetent nobodies on the one hand, and running complex conspiracies on the other.

          Except that only an idiot would think a massive conspiracy-which is a contradiction in terms, really, could be managed at all in these days. One out of line phone call, text or email and the whole game would be up.

        • Sue

          And of all the people who would be plotting to kill your children or scam you for all your money – pediatricians, GPs and public health people??? Not exactly the most evil people of the world.

      • Sue

        Lots of the anti-vaxers feared that Ebola would be a first step to mandatory vaccination. Very few of them thought it was a “benign childhood disease”, though.

        Anti-vax views can change when the direct threat is highly visible and serious.

  • GiddyUpGo123

    Their logic: in order to obtain immunity to a disease, you should first get the disease, so you can develop the antibodies that will prevent you from getting the disease.

    Makes perfect sense!

    • Sue

      That’s it! Immunity following vaccine is just as natural (your body makes an immune response to an antigen), but you don’t have to actually get the disease! That’s the point. What’s the use of having to get sick to avoid becoming sick?

  • just me

    Ugh, someone with measles rode BART. Glad I’m not living up there taking it every day anymore.

  • Deborah

    Chickenpox parties actually were a kind of good thing in the prehistoric days before the vaccine, because it’s easier on the little kids. I didn’t have it until I was 14 and it was HORRIBLE. But — aside from a vaccine being available — this wouldn’t apply to measles anyway, because I’ve never heard that measles is any easier when you are very young. It’s a totally misguided concept in several ways.

    • Young CC Prof

      Measles is less severe in school-aged kids than adults, but can be serious in kids under 5. I think I’ve heard that the risk of complications is lowest between age 12 and 20?

      Chicken pox is usually OK for tots except actual newborns, where it is plenty bad.

    • attitude devant

      I’m sorry, but I had varicella at age 6. It was horrible. It is my earliest memory. I am such a bad mom that when CHOP was enrolling kids in the Varivax trials I signed mine up.

      • Kesiana

        I don’t think anyone’s going to dispute that having chicken pox is EXTREMELY unpleasant! (Thankfully, I don’t remember a thing from when I had it.) But as miserable as it is, a 6-year-old is unlikely to die from it… so, pre-vaccine, “pox parties” did make sense.

        I just hope I can get the shingles vaccine sooner than doctors advise, because I AM A WIMP and I don’t want to take any chances!!!

        • toni

          my best friend had shingles at 12 years old. Her mother didn’t believe there was anything wrong with her for the longest time, thought it was an ordinary rash that had got more inflamed from scratching and that she was just making a fuss. I remember sitting next to her in cookery class (her mum made her go to school) looking so forlorn. She must have been in so much pain.

          • Paula

            I had a bad case of shingles during my 2nd pregnancy (41 yo). I was in agony, even on pain meds, my husband remembers me just lying on the floor crying. It was far worse than unmedicated childbirth, at least for me. In fact I still have some remnant nerve pain over 1.5 years later. I was so glad my son had his Varicella vaccine. I also had a bad case of chicken pox at 16 yo. This virus and I do not get along! I am planning to get the shingles vaccine as soon as I can (my doctor had told me 50 yo).

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            I knew a handful of girls that got shingles the last couple of weeks of grad school. I felt so bad for them.

        • Young CC Prof

          I know someone who developed epilepsy from shingles. Not had a seizure, developed permanent epilepsy. Shingles is nasty stuff.

      • DiomedesV

        A friend didn’t get chickenpox until he was ~30. He was so, so sick. Lasted for 2 weeks. Another friend got it when she was ~12. They both have terrible scarring.

        • Medwife

          I got it at age 5 and was down for 2 weeks. I was delirious with high fever and pox in every place you can imagine and a few you probably can’t. That was my “mild” eat childhood experience. Hell yes my son got vaccinated for it!

          • Wren

            That’s like my case, at 5. My daughter had it at 5 (it’s not on the vaccine schedule here in the UK) and had the normal case: itchy but generally felt well. Our only real concern was a wedding in another country soon, but she recovered fully in time. My son, on the other hand, had it a few weeks later (we thought he had escaped again, as he was more exposed than his sister when she got it) at 7. He was miserable. He had a crazy high fever, nearly ended up in the hospital, and was in pain, not itchy. The pox were incredibly thick across his back, to the point that he couldn’t bear to lay on his back or even sit back in a chair. It was awful.

            Purposefully exposing a child to even my daughter’s case when there is an alternative seems awful to me. Purposefully exposing a child when it might end up like my son had it? Child abuse.

          • Wren

            By the way, I asked my son what he thought of parents who didn’t get their kids chicken pox vaccinations when they were available in countries where they are supposed to. He said, “Can’t we call the police on those parents?” He so wishes he had been vaccinated.

      • LovleAnjel

        I got it when I was a toddler and I have a distinct memory of being miserable and undressed on the cold table in the doctors office, with him turning my arms over to evaluate the poxes. Hell no my kid won’t suffer that.

    • just me

      I had it at 13. AWFUL.

    • Are you nuts

      That’s what I was thinking. I remember my little sister got chicken pox when I was probably 6 or 7. My parents were hoping I would get it then, so I wouldn’t get it later. As it turns out I never got it, and received the vaccine in college when when it came out.

      • moto_librarian

        Yup. Back then, with no vaccine available, it was better to get it over with when you were younger. I was exposed at least three times before the final exposure gave me the pox at age 13. It was utter misery. I remember my mom taking me to see my pediatrician after hours because there was concern that I might need to be hospitalized. The vaccine came out the next year. You bet your butt that both of my sons got the vaccine!

        • Bombshellrisa

          I was 13 when I got chicken pox too!

    • Amy M

      I never went to an official chicken pox party, but I got it after a Brownies event, where, clearly someone contagious (probably unknowingly) spread it around. All the Brownies who hadn’t yet had chicken pox got it then.

    • Mel

      My sister had it at 5 and developed a raging staph infection due to her inability to stop scratching. My husband had it at age 6 and spent weeks obsessing over if he would get scars.

      I think it’s pretty darn miserable regardless of age.

    • Guestll

      My mother sent me to the home of a friend up the street when I was 6 so I could catch it and get it over with. No vaccine back then. I caught it and it was quite unpleasant.

      My husband didn’t get it until he was 15. His twin had it at 5 or so, but for whatever reason, it never attacked my husband until his teens.

      He had to wear soft gloves taped to his wrists at night when he went to bed, courtesy of his ex-peds nurse mother. Why? Because he had spots under and on his foreskin, and he scratched so badly in his sleep that…you get the picture.

      Imagine the joy of being a 15 year old boy with chicken pox on your johnson…never mind having to discuss it with your mother.

    • carr528

      I had Chicken Pox when I was 4. That was also the total number of spots I had. I generously gave it to my year old brother, and he had it EVERYWHERE.

      My mom was worried I wasn’t immune, so when I was about 9, she sent me over the the neighbor’s house where all four kids had it. I stayed chicken pox free.

      My sister got off even easier than me. She had one spot on her back. I think we’ll both get shingles vaccines when we’re older. Don’t need to deal with that crud.

    • theadequatemother

      Chicken pox is the number one reason kids used to get flesh eating bacterial infections.

      Now most vaccinate.

  • Sue

    I understand that some families used to have ”chicken pox parties”, because, in most kids, it wasn’t too severe an illness, and there was often a parent at home to provide care. (and the disease could not be avoided prior to the vaccine, so “may as well get it over with” while the children were young”).

    I would be surprised, however, to find a parent who would wish measles on their kids – it is a much more miserable infection, with a relatively high rate of encephalitis.

    This “get it over with” no longer makes sense, when you can avoid it altogether.

    Parents in the past didn’t do this because they wished the diseases on their kids, but because there was no alternative, and the idea was to minimise the inconvenience. These diseases are now avoidable, so there is no sense at all in sharing them.

    What people did in the past was generally the best they could do. Now we can do better. Whether it is health care or communication. To FB a germ party is highly ironic.

    • SporkParade

      It’s like variolation against smallpox. Until the vaccine was developed, whenever there was an outbreak, parents would scratch their children’s skin with a needle containing the pus of someone who had a mild case. 0.5% of variolated people died from it. But it was still less dangerous than risking catching it naturally, so they did it and held their breaths until the lesions healed.

  • Somewhereinthemiddle

    I have a weird question. The post from Jan 31st has a whole mess of comments that are showing up as deleted. Only reason I noticed was mine were marked as deleted on my disqus profile and I was confused as to why until I visited the thread and their were lots of ones gone. Is that a weird disqus thing or did something else happen?

    • Elizabeth A

      Sometimes, when people delete their own posts, replies to those posts go too.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        That doesn’t explain it, though, because I know that one of my comments that was deleted has a reply that wasn’t.

        That was at the time when that other thread went way out of control and I think discus was deleting things spontaneously because things were getting too big.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      The post kept crashing the entire site. The only way to stabilize the situation was to remove most of the comments and not allow further comments. I don’t understand why that worked or why the page will no longer load if I try to open the comments again. I’m in the process of hiring a professional website management firm to ugrade the site and make it more stable so it can withstand posts that go viral, like that one.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        Cool. I figured it was something like that…

  • Stacy48918

    Another possible measles case – this time in northern Virginia.

    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/news/2015/possible-measles-case.htm

  • auntbea

    Besides, ebola is for poor, uneducated brown people. We can’t be bringing THAT into our homes!

  • Mel

    Why didn’t those moms have rubella parties while they were pregnant?

    Oh, wait. The side-effects to a fetus can be horrific. My twin sister is deaf from premature birth. One of her school friends was deafened when her mom caught rubella during pregnancy. She also has moderate cerebral palsy; she can walk, but with a lunging gait because she can’t unbend her knees past 80 degrees.

    See, crunchy points only work if you can hide the suffering of your kids. You can pretend measles is a minor inconvenience because your feverish miserable kids will be safely hidden from the world at home until they’ve recovered. You can’t hide a disabled kid forever…..

    • realitycheque

      I’d like to know the rate of complications from measles as compared to vaccinations.

      If 1000 children receive the MMR vaccine and 1000 unvaccinated children contract measles, how many of these children will suffer long-term complications? They worry about autism, what about encephalitis?

      • realitycheque

        Right, so the CDC states that of children who contract measles:

        1/20 develop pneumonia
        1/1000 develop encephalitis, which can lead to deafness and mental retardation.
        1-2/1000 die.

        As compared to the MMR vaccine:

        1/5 experience fever
        1/20 suffer mild rash
        1/2500 suffer febrile seizures (or 1/1250 for combined MMR and varicella – MMRV).
        1/40,000 experience temporary low platelet count.

        All other complications are counted as “extremely rare”, i.e. <4 per million.

        How do they see this information and make a cost/benefit analysis that comes out in favour of deliberately infecting their kids with measles?

        • Who?

          Because-variously:

          Conspiracies!
          Chemicals!
          Natural!
          Good nutrition!
          Mild illness!
          Heavy metals!

          And who knows what other superstitious nonsense.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          1/5 experience fever
          1/20 suffer mild rash

          Note that fever and rash are not mentioned as complications of the measles. Of course, that’s because they are not just “complications” they are part and parcel.

          Maybe 1/20 suffer mild rash with the measles, but that is because 19/20 have rashes that are worse.

          And 19/20 have fevers. How many of them have febrile seizures as a result?

          • Francesca Violi

            yes, maybe it would be more clear put in this way (I hope I didnt’ make any embarassing maths mistakes, if so please someone correct, I must flee now!):
            Fever: vaccine, 4/20 – measles 20/20
            rash: vaccine 1/20 (mild); measles 20/20 (not necessarily mild)
            pneumonia: vaccine 0/20; measles 1/20
            encephalitis: vaccine 0/1000; measles 1/1000
            death: measles 1000-2000/1.000.000 ; vaccine:…/1.000.000?

        • GiddyUpGo123

          So if your child contracts measles, she’s more likely to die from the infection than she is likely to have a febrile seizure from the vaccine. Let’s see … death … febrile seizure … death … febrile seizure ….

        • Medwife

          I know this one. See, there are 3 morbidities linked with measles. There are AT LEAST four linked to the MMR. 4>3= MMR is more dangerous.

  • Mel

    Have anti-vaxx parents thought about the misery that they (the parents) face if their kids get measles?

    I’m 33 and got chickenpox when I was 5 in mid-May. Two weeks of itchy, scabby, feverish and absolutely depressed Melinda (I was missing my last two weeks of pre-school in a class I loved. My mom bought me a mylar balloon which I usually loved and I freaked because I could see the scabs on my face. I still have a small scar on the tip of my nose from a particularly persistent pox.)

    Around the time I was not contagious, my twin Rachel came down with chicken pox. Rachel wasn’t sad the entire time, but she scratched. And scratched. She got a raging staph infection – and was kept separated from everyone each time she had to go to the pediatrician. She’s got a scar on the bridge of her nose and lightweight scarring on her chest. So, by the middle of June we’d had 4 weeks of chickenpox + a few courses of antibiotics.

    About 24 hours after Rachel wasn’t contagious – but not off antibiotics – our toddler brother Mike got chickenpox. Mom swears he was the easiest – but only because a) he had no concept of time yet and b) he couldn’t undo the taped on mittens.

    We’ve assumed that I caught chicken pox from someone at school – but notice that my siblings who were exposed to me at the exact same time caught the chickenpox weeks apart from each other.

    Six weeks of chickenpox – mid-May through the beginning of July. Mom and Dad always said the only saving grace was that it wasn’t measles, FYI.

    • Bugsy

      “Have anti-vaxx parents thought about the misery that they (the parents) face if their kids get measles?”

      I’ve wondered this as well – is it just because it’s “natural suffering” that it’s okay? I worry for my little guy each time he comes down with barely a cough, let alone something more serious. I can’t imagine the pain he (or selfishly, my husband and I) would feel if he were truly ill, let alone sick with a preventable illness.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Well apparently some of them are just fine with their kids suffering from preventable diseases:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/vaccine-critics-turn-defensive-over-measles.html?_r=0

        “Kelly McMenimen, a Lagunitas parent, said she “meditated on it a lot” before deciding not to vaccinate her son Tobias, 8, against even “deadly or deforming diseases.” She said she did not want “so many toxins” entering the slender body of a bright-eyed boy who loves math and geography.
        Tobias has endured chickenpox and whooping cough, though Ms. McMenimen said the latter seemed more like a common cold. She considered a tetanus shot after he cut himself on a wire fence but decided against it: “He has such a strong immune system.”

        No tetanus shot either, let that sink in a minute…What the absolute fuck is she thinking?

        • Who?

          The possibility has no reality for them. It’s extreme control-freakery that has gone unchallenged for too long. Trouble is you can’t control a germ.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

            aaannnd now I have Honey Badger Don’t Care running on repeat in my brain….No I don’t know why…

        • Bugsy

          “What the absolute fuck is she thinking?”

          I’d beg to argue that there’s not a heck of a lot going on upstairs in those meditation sessions she cherishes so deeply…

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          On what basis can she claim he has such a strong immune system? He already caught both chicken pox and whooping cough.

      • Sue

        I also wonder about those parents who say their kids had a “terrible reaction” to the vaccine if they had a fever or sore arm for a day or two. As opposed to a miserable week or two from measles.

        • Bugsy

          Heh, yep. That was one of the biggies that got my GMO-free friend on the woo-path…claiming that the 4-mo vaccines caused her her son’s personality to alter.

        • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

          I wonder also, when my daughter was about 15 months she got shots, MMR and something else I think( she’s 20 , I don’t remeber exactly anymore) they gave them to her in her thighs adn she had sore legs and a low grade fever for a day. I emeber she vomited that night.
          I gave her Tylenol for the fever and a luke-warm bath. Actually the worst part of it was her legs were so sore she could walk for a day or two. She was MAD about that! Do I call that a reaction, yes, a “terrible” reaction Heck no!

        • Cobalt

          My younger daughter had a really strange reaction to her three month shots (they did hers at 3, 6, and 9 months). Within a week she started sleeping less, rolling over, and got two teeth. Crazy, right?

          • Sue

            Funny you should say that. My daughter could only babble when she had her first shots. Her language improved after every shot, and,since her HPV shot, she is excelling at French and latin.

            D’you think there’s something in it?

    • Dr Kitty

      Incubation period for chicken pox is 14-21 days, infectious from the day before the rash appears until the last pox scabs over (usually about a week, but can be longer).

      Those two-three weeks of waiting are not fun for parents with many small children in the house. I tell parents that chickenpox is so contagious they should expect all the kids to get it, it’s just a matter of when…
      If your kids share hand towels, baths, bedrooms or like to hug their siblings, I’m afraid it is going to be chicken pox all around at your house unless you vaccinate.

      I was SERIOUSLY unimpressed when one of my sister in law’s neighbours noticed her child had chicken pox that morning, covered her in calamine and took said child to a social event we were all attending ANYWAY “because the sooner they all get it the better, right?”
      Also attending event someone with a two week old baby, and, as it was summertime, several families with upcoming holidays which would have had to be cancelled if their kids got chickenpox.

      Child and neighbour were rather unceremoniously bundled out of the place as soon as we realised what was going on, and thankfully before child got a chance to do more than step inside the door, so no harm was done.

      People are…not considerate or smart sometimes.

      • Young CC Prof

        I would say, people are frickin morons sometimes.

        Oddly enough, I didn’t get chickenpox when my brother did. I did get it two years later in school. *shrug.*

        • momofone

          My brother rolled around in my sheets, rubbed the towels I used all over him, all to no avail. He’s in his forties now and never had it.

          • Dinolindor

            I remember purposely getting very close with my brother and things he would touch so he could be tormented by the chicken pox – as revenge for years of torment that a brother typically inflicts on a little sister. I know he was miserable and had a truly awful time with it….however, I am a bit ashamed to admit that even 20+ years later I feel very little remorse. A little sister only has so many opportunities for revenge. (My son got the chicken pox vaccine, and his little sister will too as soon as she is old enough. I don’t want them to have chicken pox as possible ammunition with each other.)

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Have anti-vaxx parents thought about the misery that they (the parents) face if their kids get measles?

      Yes, they have. It’s just that they deny it.

      We’ve seen this all the time with chicken pox. All the “I had chicken pox and it wasn’t that bad” nonsense. No, in the grand scheme of life, two weeks of nasty rash and fever doesn’t mean a whole bunch, but jeez, I gotta say I’d rather avoid it if I could. Especially since the alternative is maybe a day of redness or swelling at the injection site.

      It makes no sense at all.

      I’ve said it before – anyone who would inflict something like measles or chicken pox on their kids instead of the vaccine can only be a monster. There’s no other explanation. There is no comparison.

      • Somewhereinthemiddle

        But it *can* be a huge deal for parents dealing with employment and childcare issues. As I said above, parents can loose employment if forced to take weeks off of work to care for their kids if they are among the unlucky ones vaccinated but still end up getting sick. It is a privleged attitude to look at two weeks of sick kids as no big deal. Several of my closest friends are single parents and losing two weeks of pay or losing employment altogether can mean getting evicted and ending up in a shelter or homeless. It is a big, big fucking deal.

        • JJ

          YES! I am SAHM but I know that is not what everyone has my same circumstance. Plus, what about the needless suffering of the children?!

        • JJ

          I just wanted to add. It seems like a lot of the anti-vax crunchy moms are just very insulated from the reality of others. Most mothers don’t have time to cook everything from scratch, make soap, breastfeed on demand 24/7, shop for only the purest products, drive to farms for their local food, and artfully blog about it. So if their kid is sick they can stay home and have an all natural “marvelous measles” experience to blog about compete with recipes for earthy home remedies.

          Lots of families don’t even have reliable transportation to get to doctors appointments and pharmacies. Like Somewhereinthemiddle said, their not just facing an inconvenience, but a potential downward spiral economically.

          • Mel

            Honestly, I’m surprised ANY mom – SAHM or otherwise -has time to do all of that. I don’t have time to do all that and don’t have kids thrown in the mix.

            Also, the thought of someone driving to a farm to get local food…that’s gotta win some kind of absurdist out-of-touch award. You are not doing anyone a favor by having a bunch of wannabe-crunchies driving their cars all over the freaking place to buy local food. The carbon footprint must be….gak…..

          • Who?

            Ah yes, the carbon footprint. This, imho, is another side to the ‘I’m all right Jack’ thinking at work here. Who cares if organic food is more carbon intensive to grow and source, particularly when you’re driving your giant SUV (preferably European) to go and get it? You are A Better Mother for buying it and preparing it in one of those whizz bang cooking gadgets-Thermomix here, Bambini I think in Italy. You might even need two to manage your family’s complex dietary requirements.

            The opportunities for one up-manship are limited only by budget and imagination.

            And another thing to remember is that many of these people are employing some or all of cleaners, gardeners and nannies, so may literally be able to achieve a multiple of what would be an ordinary day’s work for anyone else.

          • Medwife

            Hey! I live in a small town and belong to an awesome CSA. We’re an agricultural area. It makes us eat our veggies. It’s a fun way to meet our neighbors when we go make a pick-up. My kid chases their chickens. So there.

        • Mel

          Yeah, taking care of us for 6 weeks stretched my parents thin – and they could both keep working because Mom was on 2nd-3rd shift and Dad was on 1st. So, pretty much, my parents got little or no sleep for six weeks to avoid taking a financial hit – and were lucky to be able to do that.

      • Mel

        That can only be said by someone who found the chickenpox “not that bad.” I was absolutely freaking miserable and have been SO glad that a chickenpox vaccine came out. I don’t want any kids to go through the 2 weeks of irritated skin, feverishness, and general misery. What I remember the most was how much the pox itched and how much the inside of my throat ached.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          That can only be said by someone who found the chickenpox “not that bad.”

          But you know, the problem with that is that, even the “not that bad” chicken pox is STILL worse than the typical vaccine reaction, much less the “not that bad” vaccine reaction (which is no reaction at all)

      • toni

        My MiL had her youngest vaccinated against chicken pox because she was ‘pressured’ to by doctors due to her second child having such a bad time with CP. She says she regrets it now because the immunity from the vaccine has worn off now that she is 21 and if she gets it now she will be worse off than if she had just been allowed to catch it as a child. She thinks her one child suffered really badly with chicken pox because he was on steroids for asthma at the time.. that sounds plausible to me though the stuff about vaccinated people being more at risk than those who had the real mccoy can’t be true (right?) I don’t think she’s a monster (not for that reason anyway ha) she’s just worried that her daughter might get adult chicken pox.

        • Mel

          Ask your MIL if she feels the same way about the tetanus vaccine. It runs out every 10 years or so. You just get a booster. The young woman will be revaccinated – it’s no big thing.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I may be missing something obvious, but why doesn’t the adult daughter just get the vaccine again, like many adults do anyhow? My DH has never had chicken pox–he was among the first generation to get the vaccine–and his job had him get it because of his business trips. Even if his job didn’t require it, I’d strongly pressure him to get it; chicken pox as an adult is HORRIBLE, and can cause some especially lovely side effects in men.

          • toni

            She thinks you can only get the vaccine once in your life. I don’t know where she got her info from but once she’s told something and believes it you have a very small window of opportunity to change her mind before it sticks forever. I did tell her about the adult booster and facebook messaged some cdc info and she seemed to be relieved for a while but the next time it came up she was back to saying the same thing about only getting it once. No point correcting her about anything, she pretends to listen or agree with you and then totally disregards it or forgets. I’ve told my SiL she can get that if she wants

          • toni

            Oh gosh and just because I’m feeling bitchy… last month when we went to visit the in laws when we showed up my pregnant SiL (a different one) was there and was in labour. Her water had broken at 1am and it was 3pm and they were just hanging out at home, SiL trying to sleep and hadn’t called the hospital. I asked why they hadn’t gone in or phoned them and MiL said they were waiting for the ctx to be five minutes apart but she’d only had 5 ctx in the last twelve hours and none for the past two hours. I said I’m pretty sure you only wait for the ctx if your waters haven’t broken and you should go in so they can get things started. I said I’d heard they don’t like your waters to be ruptured for longer than a day and time is ticking. She gets her phone and leaves the room, 45 minutes pass and I went to find her and ask if she called. She was just lying on the bed googling ‘when to go to the hospital in labour’ and was reading a thread on mothering.com. She announces ‘it says that it doesn’t matter if your water breaks because the baby is still getting all it needs from the placenta so ruptured waters are irrelevant.’ I was like who says?? and she showed me the page. I got mad and said ‘you need to consult [my SiL’s] CNM not some random uneducated anonymous idiot on the internet’. So she called the ob practice and they freaked out saying you should have gone in hours ago get her to the hospital asap. Long story short they tried pitocin as she was having no contractions still, the epidural didn’t work so she was in unexpected agony for a long time then she ended up with a c section under general at 3am because baby’s heart rate got really high. She had some pelvic floor problems since her first vaginally birthed baby so it was probably for the best anyway but I did think that hers might have been a case of an ‘unnecessary’ cs in that it may have been avoidable if they’d gone in earlier and had longer for the pitocin to work before they got to the 24hrs after water breaking point. dread to think how long they would have waited if we weren’t there.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, joy, she sounds scarily like my father. *rolls eyes* His sole familiarity with epilepsy is, and I am not making this up, from reading “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Anyone who’s read it might remember the Abbe, who told the future Count that each seizure of his would be progressively worse in effect–early ones would just render him tired and weak for a few days, later ones would paralyze him, and eventually they’d get so bad they’d kill him. Ergo, my father will cheerfully inform anyone who mentions that a friend/loved one has epilepsy that it’s only a matter of time before the seizures paralyze/kill them. Doesn’t matter how many times I explained, doesn’t matter what info I sent–your kid’s gonna diiiiiiiie!
            Reason #427 I don’t have contact anymore…

          • just me

            Plus, shingles. My dad got it in his late 60s . Just awful for him.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Ohhh yeah. I’ve heard horror stories. No thanks. As soon as I’m eligible, I want that vaccine, thankyouverymuch.

        • S

          I don’t think your mother-in-law is a bad person for being concerned, but i also don’t think she’s thought it completely through. A lot of people don’t. There’s no guarantee your sister-in-law would’ve had chickenpox — I’m in my mid-30s so most of my classmates had it, but i never did, and neither did my husband and at least one close friend. The vaccine came out when i was a teenager, but i never heard of it until much later.

        • Sue

          There is a simple solution to this. Boosters.

          1. Check antibody titres
          2. Booster shot if no longer immune.
          3. Repeat at 5 – 10 yearly intervals

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          Why would she assume she wasn’t immune now? varicella titers are cheap.

      • Nick Sanders

        I don’t know about “no other explanation”. Hanlon’s Razor seems pretty applicable.

        • Cobalt

          Yes, but… the effort you have to exert to stay ignorant enough to qualify for Hanlon suggests an ego drive big enough to simultaneously disqualify.

          Cobalt’s corollary: if you’re going to insist on being that uneducated, you’re going to be held accountable for the results

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      I was very lucky with chickenpox. I had no scars and such few pox that they tested my titers when I was pregnant to make sure I was immune. My brother on the other hand had pox on his scalp, in his mouth, and eventually down his throat. I vividly remember how miserable he was and how chunks of his hair were falling out. It was horrible.

      • JJ

        That is so sad. I was the only one of my siblings that did not get it, but one of my brothers had it very bad as well. My mom got me the vaccine just in case when it came out.

      • Haelmoon

        When I was a resident, I saw a 17 year old in the ER. He was there because his mom made him come in, because she was worried it was chicken pox and she had heard it could be worse for older kids. She was right. While I was taking his history and examining, he deteriorated to the point he could no longer talk coherently or breath on his own. He had developed encephalitis, was intubated and spend two weeks in ICU. From the chicken pox. I got my titres checked that week, because although my mom said I had had the chicken pox twice (once very very young, hence not a great immunity and the second time was very mild, likely due to my previous exposure), I wanted to be sure. Varicella can kill!

        • JJ

          It can kill. My family knew a man that died in our area about 10-15 years ago from it.

      • momofone

        I had it when I was eleven (in July, in the deep south). I got it from the little kids next door, and it was pure misery. I was covered. I had pox in my nose, down my throat, under my eyelids, between my toes, you name it and it was covered. I have scars on both wrists and along the bottom of my eyebrows. I had febrile seizures, which scared the hell out of my mom. The itching and the heat were horrendous, just no relief. Two of the most miserable weeks of my life. My brother tried his best to get it because he thought it would be so cool, but didn’t get it. It was awful. I would not wish that on my son. Thank you, whoever developed the varicella vaccine!

      • GiddyUpGo123

        I was lucky too … I got it at 17 but I only had a handful of pox. Then in my last week of pregnancy some idiot brought her chicken-pox covered kid to the pool where my kids were taking lessons and I had to go get a blood test to check for immunity, which thankfully I had. But I guess if you get chicken pox in those last weeks of pregnancy it can be very, very bad for your baby.

    • Somewhereinthemiddle

      That’s what I keep thinking about all of these folks who are running around unvaccinated and exposing other people. What happens when a single mom who is already at risk for losing her job because she has to take time off for normal childhood illnesses like colds, hand foot mouth, stomach bug, etc has to take weeks off of work to care for her kids with measles and looses her job? Despite getting vaccinated, a certain percentage won’t have immunity and when those kids get sick, it can have potentially devastating effects on a family. It is a sign of privilege that it’s no big deal to take that much time to care for sick kids and the selfishness makes me absolutely ill.

      • attitude devant

        That’s why us single working moms sign up for all the vaccines. Can’t afford not to

        • guest

          I had chicken pox when I was 14. Both of my parents worked. I was left home alone to care for myself. I had a mild case, but it was miserable. I spent several hours lying on the floor in the hallway because it was just too hard to get up. And I have scars of my face and chest to this day.

          • just me

            No scars but I remember getting them in my ears. Terrible.

  • Therese

    Personally, I think the fact that there are currently no cases of Ebola in the U.S. and the fact that it has a 70-90% mortality rate compared to measles .1% or whatever it is might have more to do with it than the desire to rebel.