Clearing the air over measles fearmongering
Measles: A Rash of Misinformation
Posted on:Thursday, February 14th 2013 at 5:00 am
Written By:Dr Tyson Perez
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Women of childbearing age, who in the pre-vaccine era acquired measles naturally in childhood, no longer have the robust, life-long viral-specific and viral-neutralizing immune factors to pass to their infants through the placenta and breast milk. Injecting a measles virus produces antibodies in the serum but not in the mucosa. Natural measles infection creates mucosal antibodies that are produced in the mammary gland providing passive immunity to the infant during breast-feeding as well as higher levels of vaccine-specific antibodies in the serum.
What about the possibility of vaccine-induced disorders not typically associated with a measles infection? Wild measles exposure occurs through contact with the human respiratory tract. The measles vaccine introduces a lab altered, live-virus through an unnatural route of exposure. This weakened, man-made virus can bury deep into the tissues and create a slow infection in practically any area of the body including the gastro-intestinal (GI) tract and central nervous system (CNS). The consequences of these vaccine-induced infections may not show up for months, years or decades later.
The fear surrounding measles stems from ignorance. In a well-nourished child with a properly functioning immune system, viral infections are typically subclinical or exceedingly mild. Certain infections, such as measles, even appear to provide long-term health and immune system benefits. Malnourishment, in particular vitamin A deficiency, is a primary cause of poor outcomes. One of the most effective ways to ensure that a viral illness runs a mild or benign course is to provide children with adequate stores of vitamin A prior to exposure.
As well, high doses of vitamin A given during an acute measles infection has been shown to prevent mortality. Vitamin A works by signaling cell-mediated immune cells known as macrophages to produce an anti-viral messenger known as interferon. Young infants are unable to produce high-levels of interferon  and, therefore, rely on passive immunity from mom for protection. It should be noted that measles vaccination has been shown to deplete levels of serum vitamin A.
Many fruits and vegetables provide beta-carotene which is converted by the liver into active vitamin A (retinoids), however, the efficiency of uptake and conversion can vary based on a variety of factors. Particularly during illness, I prefer pre-formed vitamin A from high quality, whole-food sources like cod liver oil and high-vitamin butter oil. I should mention that Melanie's Marvelous Measles will be one of the first books that I read to my daughter.