Finally: some good news about measles. (And you have to see Jennifer Hibben-White's angry Facebook post if you haven't already.)
Finally, some good news about measles: The baby exposed to measles in a doctor's waiting room whose story went viral is in the clear.
As Toronto-area mom Jennifer Hibben-White recounted on Facebook last week, she got a call from local public officials warning her that on January 27, both she and her newborn baby may have been in the vicinity of a measles patient in a waiting room. At the time, baby Griffin was just 15 days old, and not yet vaccinated (Hibben-White was). Officials told her to keep him at home, isolated, until yesterday, February 17, since measles has an incubation period ranging from 7 to 21 days.
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Hibben-White, who had previously lost a child to illness and also has a 3-year-old, famously took to Facebook to express her outrage toward anti-vaxxers in a post that's been shared nearly 300,000 times, to date. As she ranted:
I'm angry. Angry as hell. I won't get angry at or blame the person in the waiting room. I would have likely done the same thing…you get sick, you go to the doctor. I have no idea what their story is and I will never know. But I do know one thing:
If you have chosen to not vaccinate yourself or your child, I blame you.
I blame you.
You have stood on the shoulders of our collective protection for too long. From that high height, we have given you the PRIVILEGE of our protection, for free. And in return, you gave me this week. A week from hell. Wherein I don't know if my BABY will develop something that has DEATH as a potential outcome.
You think you are protecting your children from thimerosal? You aren't. It's not in their vaccine.
You think you are protecting them from autism? You aren't. There is no, none, nada, nothing in science that proves this. If you want to use Google instead of science to "prove me wrong" then I am happy to call you an imbecile as well as misinformed.
You think you are protecting them through extracts and homeopathy and positive thoughts and Laws of Attraction and dancing by candlelight on a full moon? You aren't. I PROTECT YOUR CHILD. We protect your child. By being concerned world citizens who care about ourselves, our fellow man, and our most vulnerable. Se we vaccinate ourselves and our children.
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Yesterday, Hibben-White's husband Glenn told CTV Toronto that the couple's kids have not shown symptoms of the virus. Meanwhile, 16 confirmed cases of the measles have been reported in Ontario, with one in Toronto.
It's been heartening to hear about the impact Hibben-White's words have had. "People all over the world who were on the fence emailed me saying they saw my post and it made them look at the data for themselves, make an informed decision, and vaccinate their children," she told The Daily Mail.
Still sobering, though, are the facts: The United States had a record number of measles cases in 2014—644 cases in 27 states reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's the highest number of cases since measles was officially eliminated in this country.
So far, 141 cases of the measles have cropped up in 2015, federal health officials reported yesterday. The cases stem from the outbreak that started at two Disney theme parks in Southern California, with the majority of people who've gotten infected being unvaccinated.
Here's hoping that the growing number of stories in the news about real babies and real children and real people affected by exposure, factually or potentially—like that father of a child with cancer who recently asked his California school district to ban non-immunized students—will start making those who've taken a stand against vaccines reconsider. It's a matter of life and death.