Living the Sweet Life: Study the Facts



So, y’all can call me old school, but I am really having a hard time having patience with this measles thing. As a mother, as an educated person and as a doctor’s daughter, I wonder why no one is demanding that, in any public space, if someone has chosen to not get vaccinated, then they are not allowed to be there. We certainly have isolated smokers to the point that there is barely a public space where that behavior is possible, because we as a society have learned that smoking endangers lives, and people cannot impose their bad choices on the rest of the population. What part of spreading a very dangerous communicable disease is any different?

When a disease is preventable, it is even more aggravating. When I was a child, it was unheard of to question getting vaccinated. You could not go to public school if you did not have your shots, and in light of this latest tragedy, it makes me pause to ask why we have not demanded the same rules of a place such as Disneyland? Here is a little history lesson about this disease.*

Measles was identified in the third to 10th century by Asian and North African physicians. In 910, a diagnosis of the disease was published by a doctor named Rhazes. When Christopher Columbus brought measles to the New World, along with other diseases, it killed as much as 95 percent of the Native American population over the next 150 years. The 1800s saw its effects as it continued to kill. Most notably, the king and queen of Hawaii both died within a month of contracting measles as they were traveling to meet King George IV. In the late 1800s, the HMS Dido brought measles to Fiji, and it killed 20,000 people.

The U.S. began to require doctors to report instances of the disease in 1912. In 1954, Dr. Thomas Peebles found the disease in an 11 year-old boy named David Edmonston. Through his studies, Peebles pioneered the vaccine. In 1963, just a few years before I was born, the vaccine was made available as a regular program for preventive care. I got one and so did Brian, and hopefully you did too.

In 1998, the year Victoria Ann was born, a report claimed  to link the vaccine to autism. Later, the report was pulled and the doctor lost his license, but the public had been ill informed. In 2014, the worst outbreak in two decades erupted with more than 600 cases, and now this outbreak at Disneyland has occurred. The disease killed 145,700 people in 2013.

Measles is a childhood disease that is preventable. I feel like it is the responsibility of the parents to be informed and to make the best choices for their children. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had in my studio and amongst other mother friends regarding the pros and cons of vaccines. But this is out of control.

It is no surprise to my readership that I am very pro-medicine. I am that way for a variety of reasons. In this case, it seems obvious that the only choice is to get the measles vaccine. The World Health organization stated that measles is “one of the leading causes of death amongst young children even though a safe and cost effective vaccine is available.” As a mother, as an educated person and as a doctor’s daughter, I want you to make informed decisions, especially since the general public seems to be lazy to study the history of a disease that is absolutely preventable.

Take Care of YOU!


*Facts and data were sourced from History of Measles by Matt Pearce.