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I Was Not Vaccinated for Measles: My Story

Measles Virus

I am telling you this story in the hope you ensure you and your family members are vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella. If you do not wish to take my advice I suppose you enjoy playing Russian Roulette.

In my wee lad days contracting measles and mumps was simply just another childhood disease to deal with. By then we had recently developed a vaccine for polio so what was a bit of measles and mumps?

We were on a road trip from our home in Montreal to New England and near the end of the trip little Robert was not feeling well. Feverish and a bad case of the runs. Actually, on our visit to a physician friend’s house for dinner in Boston I managed to infect all 9 of his children.

Back in Montreal the red blotches appeared and a few days after that a high fever started and I remember the next thing was waking up in the Montreal Children’s Hospital. In today’s term WTF!

Thanks to measles encephalitis I had been in a coma for two days. The prognosis was I was lucky to have survived and perhaps even luckier to not have been brain damaged. The attending physicians said it was a miracle.

What had happened was that I had gone to bed with a fever and by chance, and talk about Lady Luck, my father walked into my bedroom and discovered I had stopped breathing. It was thirty below zero Fahrenheit so he opened the window hung me out by the ankles and shook me until I started breathing. I did start breathing. Poor Robert and poor parents. Just imagine this happening to your children. Well the men came in a white Cadillac ambulance and carted me away. Hey, I am not arguing with Lady Luck here.

I was a celebrity returning to school. It was so cool being driven away in an ambulance but being in a coma I missed that thrill. Imagine in grade 4 having achieved that Any Warhol 5 minutes of fame.

So you are in the anti measles vaccination camp. If you or your loved ones contract measles do you want to trust Lady Luck? If I were you I would put down the loaded revolver you are playing Russian Roulette with and get your family vaccinated by measles. There is no assurance Lady Luck will be on your side.

Yes I went through neurological tests primitive and painful as they were in those days and have asked a couple of neurologists since. I escaped unscathed.

I am not a physician but encephalitis is a risk factor of measles that attacks the brain. It causes inflammation of the brain. The chances of a child contracting measles encephalitis are 1-3 in 1,000 and 1-2 in 1 million children who have had a measles vaccination.

Even after recovering from measles there is a fatal and incurable condition called subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE). 1 out of 25,000 children with measles will develop SSPE and 1 in 5,500 if they are under 1. No one has survived SSPE which attacks brain cells until it has destroyed the brain.

If the encephalitis doesn’t kill it can cause cognitive changes, emotional and behavioural changes and physical difficulties.

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