Why vaccinations aren’t a debate for me

By: Dr. Stacy Meyer

This is a big week for Sprout…his 4 year physical is coming up! This will be the first pediatrician appointment in which we will be able to adequately assess his hearing and vision in the office, and the first time he will remember receiving vaccinations.   Having a younger brother Sprout has seen Busybee get vaccines and knows that they are given to keep him healthy.  Although I know Sprout is a little anxious for these vaccines, they could not be occurring soon enough for his worried mother this year!

As many of you likely know there has been a recent outbreak of mumps in Ohio and now reported cases of the measles.  The last count from the Ohio department of health was 296 cases of the mumps and 33 cases of the measles!

This second of Sprout’s MMR (measles, mumps, and ruebella) vaccine will greatly boost his immunity to these viruses.

According to the CDC, Mumps vaccine confers an approximate 78 percent immunity rate with one vaccine (typically given at 12-13 months) with the second (given at 3-5 years) increasing this to 88 percent.

Symptoms of mumps include: fever, fatigue, body aches, headache and swollen salivary glands.  Although complications are rare they can include orchitis (painful testicular enlargement that rarely causes infertility), hearing loss and encephalitis (brain inflammation that can result in coma or death).  Mumps virus typically spreads in close proximity quarters and can take two to three weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear.  Unfortunately, the vaccine for mumps cannot be used prophylactically (given after exposure to prevent disease) due to its slow antibody response so prevention really is the best medicine!

Measles virus cases are also on the rise in Ohio and are thought to originate from an unvaccinated traveler who visited the Philippines, an area currently experiencing outbreaks. Cases have been identified in Ashland County, Coshocton County, Holmes County, Know County, Richland County and Wayne County according to the Ohio department of health report.  Symptoms of the measles appear  7 to 14 days after exposure and start with fever, cough, sore throat and white spots on the mouth (koplik spots).  Patients are contagious during this phase when symptoms mimic the common cold making the virus harder to quarantine.  Following this initial phase, a rash appears on the body consisting of large flat blotches and fevers up to 105F develop.  Patients remain contagious after the rash appears for up to four days.  Complications include pneumonia and encephalitis which is the cause of death in one to two patients out of every 1000 who contract the measles!  Measles vaccines is also in the MMR given with mumps vaccine.  The good news is that with measles the vaccine can be given after exposure for children over 6 months of age with a second being given as soon as one month later to confer 99 percent immunity after this second dose.

Thus far cases of rubella have not yet been reported.  Lack of vaccination is the primary reason these viruses have been able to spread so rapidly in Ohio.   I urge each and every one of you to talk to your physician about you and your child’s vaccination history.  If you have questions or concerns about this vaccine please keep open communication with your pediatrician who can direct you to the most up to date and accurate information and answer many of your questions.  I know as a mother and a physician, I can’t vaccinate my children soon enough to keep them safe!

By: Dr. Stacy Meyer – “Dr. Mom Squad”

Dr. Meyer is a pediatric endocrinologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital. She is the mother of two boys who she lovingly refers to as “Busy Bee” and “Sprout!” As part of the “Dr. Mom Squad,” Dr. Meyer blogs about her experiences as both as doctor and a mom and hopes to share insight to other parents on issues related to both parenting and kids health. Learn more about Dr. Meyer! 

 

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