Mississippi has it right when it comes to measles

Published 5:59 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

As a child I had the measles.

My mom had also become sick with the rubella virus at the same time, and I remember the two of us curling up on the brown naugahyde sofa that was in our den while our illness raged on.

I can’t recall how long we were sick, but I do remember red dots all over my body. It was also difficult to bend my fingers. This was probably due to swelling from the rash.

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Rubella, also known as the German measles, or three-day measles is not as infectious or as severe as the rubeola virus or measles, which is becoming epidemic in the U.S., however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, German measles can cause a miscarriage or serious birth defects in a developing baby if a woman is infected while she is pregnant.

Possible long-term complications from the rubeola virus/measles, the CDC reports, include ear infections that can result in permanent hearing loss and diarrhea. Also, the statistics show that in severe complications of the measles as many as one out of every 20 children will get pneumonia, which is the most common cause of death from measles in young children. Secondly, about one child out of every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis (swelling of the brain) which, can lead to convulsions and also leave the child deaf or with intellectual disability and finally for every 1,000 children who get measles, one or two will die from it.

I don’t know about you, but the outcome of getting the measles and the numbers who could suffer these possible maladies is frightening.

As of the end of April, there were more than 700 cases of measles that have been confirmed in 22 states. This is the second-greatest number of cases reported in the U.S. since measles was eliminated in 2000, second only to the 667 cases reported during all of 2014.

And for those watching the news, this week it was reported that someone on a cruise ship was infected with the measles virus, as well as a person sitting in a packed movie theater.

Fortunately, those on the ship have been quarantined; not sure how to go about locating all the movie goers. With the measles being one of the most contagious diseases in the world, there is no doubt the number of confirmed cases will increase.

According to the Los Angeles Times, one measles case could spread to 600 people within a few weeks if measures are not taken to quarantine the people who were exposed.

While I am aware this outbreak in the U.S. began from visitors coming in from other countries, there is no doubt the virus has been spreading due to the number of families that have chosen not to vaccinate their children.

Sadly in 1998, a study that linked autism to vaccinations appeared in the Lancet Journal. Many took this report to heart and began refraining from taking precautions.

This theory has since been retracted by the medical profession and a few years back, I even interviewed two pediatricians here in Vicksburg who said there is no link to autism and receiving vaccines.

But there are parents, who still refuse to believe the truth and are continuing to refrain from vaccinating, which not only puts their child at risk, but others as well.

Because I am of a certain age, and had both the mumps and German measles when I was a child, I am not sure the MMR vaccination was available to me.

This is certainly something I need to explore with my doctor, since I have not had the rubeola virus.

And while I do need to check on getting immunized, it is comforting to know that while Mississippi is the nation’s worst state when it comes to infant mortality, the Washington Post reported that we have the highest vaccination rate for school-aged children.

Last year, 99.7 percent of the state’s kindergartners were fully vaccinated.

I think it would be prudent for other states to take note and follow suit.


Terri Cowart Frazier is a reporter for The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at terri.frazier@vicksburgpost.com.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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