Twice previously I have written about MEASLES. I have yet again felt compelled to mention the dreaded disease as it is in the news again. Children are once more becoming infected with it and some have died.
Here are some facts:
Measles cases in Europe have hit a two-decade high, with the number of cases contracted in the first six months of 2018 nearly double that for the whole of 2017. More than 41,000 people in Europe have contracted measles since January 2018, leading to 37 fatalities.
No other vaccine-preventable disease causes as many deaths. In 1980, 2.6 million people died of it, and in 1990, 545,000 died; by 2014, global vaccination programs had reduced the number of deaths from measles to 73,000.
(With measles) some people may suffer from severe complications, such as pneumonia (infection of the lungs) and encephalitis (swelling of the brain). They may need to be hospitalized and could die. As many as one out of every 20 children with measles gets pneumonia, the most common cause of death from measles in young children.
Something we all know:
Vaccination can prevent measles.
There are lots more facts and figures available in a quick search on the Internet.
But, be warned: some sites contain thinly disguised propaganda from the ‘anti-vaxxers’ which is, IMO, a crime; a crime against vulnerable babies and children.
I will not dwell on my own experience with measles, except to say that it was not a happy time for me as a nine-year-old, to be screaming in pain with ear abscesses that nightly left smudges of blood stained pus on the cloth covering my pillow.
(The resulting partial deafness almost derailed my future teaching career).
As a reminder to all to keep up to date with vaccinations for themselves and their children, I include this account, written by the author Roald Dahl.
1986, Roald Dahl:
"Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.
'Are you feeling all right?' I asked her.
'I feel all sleepy,' she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was...in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her. On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles.
...I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children."
I choose to comment on social issues and write creatively on a variety of subjects - for a variety of audiences.