To the Parent of the Unvaccinated Child Who Exposed my Family to Measles

January 28, 2015

This is a guest post written by a fellow pediatric provider in our local healthcare community here in Arizona. I was extremely saddened to read of his children’s recent exposure to measles due the Disneyland outbreak. To read about my journey leaving the anti-vaccination movement, click here.

To the parent of the unvaccinated child who exposed my family to measles,

I have a number of strong feelings surging through my body right now.  Towards my family, I am feeling extra protective like a papa bear.  Towards you, unvaccinating parent, I feel anger and frustration at your choices.  

By now we’ve all heard of the measles outbreak that originated in Disneyland.  Or more accurately, originated from an unvaccinated person that infected other similarly minded vacationers.  I won’t get into a debate about the whole anti-vaccine movement, the thimerisol controversy (no longer even used in childhood vaccines), or the myth that MMR causes autism (there are changes in autistic brain chemistry prior to birth).

Let’s talk measles for just a minute.  It once was widespread in the US.  It is now considered ‘eliminated’ in the US (not continually circulating in the population – only contracted through travel out of country).  Measles is highly contagious (>90% infectious) and can survive airborne in a room and infect someone two hours later.  Another fun fact is that measles is transmittable before it can be diagnosed – four days before the characteristic rash appears.  “Measles itself is unpleasant, but the complications are dangerous. Six to 20 percent of the people who get the disease will get an ear infection, diarrhea, or even pneumonia. One out of 1000 people with measles will develop inflammation of the brain, and about one out of 1000 will die.” That sounds fun!


Calm down self.

Maggie4aI assume you love your child just like I love mine.  I assume that you are trying to make good choices regarding their care.  Please realize that your child does not live in a bubble.  When your child gets sick, other children are exposed.  My children.  Why would you knowingly expose anyone to your sick unvaccinated child after recently visiting Disneyland?  That was a bone-headed move.

Why does this effect me and mine?  Why is my family at risk if we are vaccinating?  I’m glad you asked.

Regarding measles, there are four groups of people.  

All are represented in my family.  

First, the MMR vaccine results in immunity for most who receive it.  Two doses provides protection that can be confirmed with blood titers.  My wife is in this group.  

Second, about 3% of fully vaccinated children do not develop a lasting immune response.  They have low blood titers and are not protected against measles.  If exposed, this group will likely get the illness.  I am in this group.  I was thankfully not exposed.

Third, we have the unvaccinated.  My son, Eli, is ten months old.  He is too young to received the MMR vaccine and thus has no protection.  Whether by refusal or because they are too young, exposed unvaccinated children have a 90% chance of getting measles.

IMG_1288Fourth, there are children like my Maggie.  These are child who can’t be vaccinated.  Children who have cancer.  Children who are immunocompromised.  Children who are truly allergic to a vaccine or part of a vaccine (i.e anaphylaxis to egg).  These children remain at risk.  They cannot be protected … except by vaccinating people around them. In August of 2014, Maggie was diagnosed with pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a form of childhood leukemia. We have been fighting leukemia since then.

Back to my story …

It was Wednesday.  Maggie had just been discharged from Phoenix Children’s Hospital after finishing her latest round of chemotherapy.  That afternoon she went to the PCH East Valley Specialty Clinic for a lab draw.  Everything went fine, and we were feeling good … until Sunday evening when we got the call.  On Wednesday afternoon, Anna, Maggie, and Eli had been exposed to measles by another patient.  Our two kids lacked the immunity to defend against measles.  The only protection available was multiple shots of rubeola immune globulin (measles antibodies).  There were three shots for Maggie and two shots for Eli.  They screamed, but they now have some temporary protection against measles.  We pray it is enough.

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Getting measles immune globin. I look at this and cry on the inside.

Getting measles immune globin. I look at this and cry on the inside.

Unvaccinating parent, thanks for screwing up our three week “vacation” from chemotherapy.  Instead of a break, we get to watch for measles symptoms and pray for no fevers (or back to the hospital we go).  Thanks for making us cancel our trip to the snow this year.  Maggie really wanted to see snow, but we will not risk exposing anyone else.  On that note, thanks for exposing 195 children to an illness considered ‘eliminated’ from the U.S.  Your poor choices don’t just affect your child.  They affect my family and many more like us.

Please forgive my sarcasm.  I am upset and just a little bit scared.

Papa bear


Phoenix Children’s Hospital has been great though this whole ordeal.  We have done what is physically possible to protect our children.  Now we pray.  Please pray alongside us.  

We are not currently contagious.  Rest assured, if measles visits our house, it will not spread to anyone else.  

Thank you for your prayers and support.


Dr. Tim Jacks, DO, FAAP is board certified by the American Board of Pediatrics and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Originally from Elmhurst, Illinois, Dr. Jacks has lived in the greater Phoenix area for the past 25 years. When not working as a pediatrician, Dr. Jacks enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, running, playing with computers, exploring the great outdoors, and being involved at his church.

This post was originally published on Maggie’s CareBridge Journal. You can follow her fight against leukemia here.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

  1. Dr Truffle says:

    Seems like ignorance is more contagious then the measles. Whether a child is vaccinated or not they can still be carriers, vaccines don’t create a bubble around people and because of vaccines activating a t2 immune response instead of the correct t1 response some immunized kids will be linfected long carriers.

  2. Maddie says:

    Often it’s the vaccinated child that infects another child since they will shed a virus if the vaccine they’ve had is live/attenuated. How on earth can the author presume the unvaccinated child was infected, anyway?

    Furthermore, often the vaccinated children are the ones who end up with the measles/mumps/CP because the vaccinations aren’t very effective. I wish people would read beyond what they’re being told by the establishment. Really, such ignorance.

  3. You. Have. NO. idea what you are talking about.

  4. Ashley says:

    My dad had a brain tumor and his oncologist warned us about being around recently vaccinated kids/individuals. The oncologist actually said that we should stay away from any recently vaccinated people for up to three weeks. The oncologist never mentioned staying clear of unvaccinated individuals (maybe that was self explanatory). My dad was a biochemist and even he was surprised to hear that the vaccines could shed the virus. Just because you’re not vaccinated doesn’t mean you’re a walking virus waiting to spread. From my understand this outbreak could have been spread by someone who was recently vaccinated as well as someone who’d never been vaccinated and had already contracted the virus. I’m trying to read this from both sides. I have five kids to decide this for. I’ve found your blog to be helpful at times. But I’m still leery about vaccines. Or at least I’m leery about the aggressive schedule and amount given. My mom sent me my immunization chart from the late 80’s and I was shocked how few vaccines were required then compared to now.

  5. Stanley J. says:

    Many of todays vaccines don’t shed but the myth still sticks around in anti-vaxx circles, so everything the posters below said is unnecessary fearmongering. I am incredibly sorry for all the families that lost a family member to a disease because some unvaccinated child infected them. Your child may survive the disease, but an infant, an elderly person or those with a weak immune system like cancer patients for example can get infected from your child and die. We need herd immunity, all recent outbreaks were caused due to anti-vaxxers, all preventable diseases returning. Children died because of them. Their own children died from preventable diseases because of them. Please vaccinate.

    • Tabitha says:

      Who do u think u are telling someone to do something to their own body?! This world has gone completely bonkers. So inappropriate. And no, I won’t. So stay in your house or something weirdo

  6. Monteen McCord says:

    Read the ADVERSE REACTIONS on the Merck vaccine insert and see if you think the benefits outweigh the risks…

    • Heidi says:

      Read the adverse reactions on aspirin, antibiotics, psych meds….insert eyeroll…those things have to be listed for the rare chance they may occur. It does not mean that any of those things will happen with any certainty. Fine, don’t vaccinate, but also don’t take Tylenol for a headache, ibuprofen for muscle pain, or any antibiotics, or meds for any chronic illnesses. Also, don’t go to the doctor either, because you clearly don’t believe in fact based science.

      • Jersey Dee says:

        I don’t. And your foolishness to include the word “may” then try to justify the statement with “rare.” Contracting measles from an unvaccinated child that doesn’t have measles is “impossible” not a may happen or rarely happens so let’s start there. Also just as you provide options that is all we ask. Do not force me to take Tylenol or other medications I do not feel comfortable with the “rare” effects. I cannot take NSAIDS due to a “rare” side effect. We also had FOUR infant/toddler deaths in our family within 48 hours of receiving an MMR so excuse me if I choose to pass on this “rare” side effect so your child can go to Disneyland. This person who claims to have a child in chemo should have also been told unvaccinated children cannot “expose” you to anything. This is foolish to insinuate such a claim “Why would you knowingly expose anyone to your sick unvaccinated child after recently visiting Disneyland?” What are you exposing them to? Ironically they failed to mention a mandatory warning not to be concerned with unvaccinated children, instead the danger are the recently vaccinated. So the push for everyone to rush to get vaccinated, especially before going somewhere like Disneyland, could put your immunocompromised child in more danger. The fact nothing like this was mentioned in this story takes away all credibility for me. The rest of you are on a bandwagon you refuse to get off no matter the clues.

  7. Aleda says:

    And yet, every single one of you moronic anti-vaxxers who are are STILL spreading incorrect information believe in moronic herbalists with colonic cleansings and squaw root supplements.

    If it were only your kids who’d die if they got sick, frankly, I wouldn’t give a crap. At least we’d be getting the stupid genes out of the pool. Unfortunately, your kids can get my elderly father sick with chicken pox (he’s never had it and it can be fatal for adults, especially adults whose health is compromised), or make a pregnant woman with a low titer have a child with birth defects when your brat gives her the measles. Or hey, how about making a baby boy too young to receive the MMR sterile because he’s got the mumps and they descend to his testicles? Happened in my family, thanks to one of you morons.

    The list goes on, but you’re too stupid to understand it anyway. You’re all potential murderers. How’s that? I only hope every single one of you ends up with the karma you deserve.

    Personally, I think we should sue each and every parent whose unvaccinated child gets sick and infects someone else. I think every single person they potentially infect should be able to sue them. Maybe THAT will get it through their heads the level of danger they pose to others.

    • Kurt Kistler says:

      Damn Aleda, you are kind of worked up aren’t you? Maybe you are the moron and the rest are the smart ones? How are you so sure you are on the right side of this argument? You have a very vitriolic attitude towards anyone who doesn’t follow your path of thinking.

    • Jersey gal says:

      And just how many died since you mentioned fearmongering? Also I was vaccinated and had measles and chicken pox. Unfortunately the sterile testicles didn’t happen soon enough for your family. And your vaccinated child can also get your elderly father sick who never had the chicken pox. They can still shed the disease. Stupid is all of this you gonna kill my child but not one of the major outbreaks carried fatalities. The only fatality was your intelligence because your child can also die from diarrhea, more kids have died from that than anything else. Your elderly father could also die from diarrhea as well as falling and a broken hip so don’t sit back and pretend the only danger on this planet is measles and border walls. There was an article just last week that said vaccines don’t case autism but if you read the entire article – which idiots don’t- it said out of those tested over 4500 developed autism after the shots. So in the CDCs own stories they contradict themselves because they know robots don’t think for themselves and won’t read anything but “there is no link” except for the 4500 kids. A link doesn’t mean 100% will get autism it means there is a likelihood we won’t tell you about.

      • Heather says:

        Measles and Mumps do not shed, signs of the third virus in the MMR trio, rubella, can be found from 7 to 28 days after immunization but at levels far too low for anyone to catch it.

  8. Parent says:

    I think I can speak for any parent who has had to delay or avoid vaccinations because their child is too sick or has a weakened immune system, when I say FUCK YOU! You are a smug, arrogant asshole. I know this comment won’t make it to your comment section, but I want YOU to know that you are a moron. If your child is being vaccinated, my unvaccinated child can’t get him or her sick. That’s why your vaccinating you idiot. In fact, after you pump your child with that garbage and he or she is shedding their live virus… MY CHILD is in danger. Not yours. So, you should probably shove your stethoscope up your ass and research your favorite subject a little more. YOURSELF. You can have whatever opinion you want about my child, but to sit here and say you are angry and spread that type of behavior by blogging about it. What unprofessional and unnecessary thing to do. Don’t tell me you know I love my kid. You don’t know the first thing about my decisions and the path that lead me to make them. You do what you see fit for your kids and let me worry about mine. In the meantime, if vaccines work, you don’t have to “worry” about my kids. What a piece of shit you are for the tone of this article. Disgusting.

  9. Ivy says:

    Let’s be serious here anti-vaxxers. ONLY ONE IN ONE MILLION PEOPLE GET SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS. What “risk” are you guys so riled up about?

    What is even worse is what comments you guys are leaving Why are you guys arguing about the fact that the illnesses that your not vaccinated families carry cannot affect those that are vaccinated. CAN YOU READ THE ARTICLE. Some people cannot be vaccinated. Because of your stupidity, you put them in danger. You talk about the scathing tone in the article. This pediatrician has every right to be upset. His children’s lives were put on the line because some idiot didn’t want to vaccinate.

    I am so, so sorry for those individuals who are unable to be vaccinated, and therefore lack protection against the certain illnesses and diseases, due to health complications, and then are carelessly exposed to these illnesses because SOME people decide that they are too good for vaccines. Kids like the one in this story just can’t be vaccinated, and depend on others to make sure they don’t contact the disease. THINK ABOUT THE BENEFITS, ANTI-VAXXERS. THINK ABOUT OTHERS. Please, please, think about all the kids with cancer and other health complications. Please, please, think about the elderly. Please, please, think about those with autoimmune disorders and the like. Please, please, think about babies and toddlers. While you may not find the illnesses that vaccines prevent really severe, they can be life-threatening to some. Even something as small as the flu can kill those with a weakened immune system.

    If you don’t quite think that this is such a big issue, then think about you and your family, Don’t expect us to sympathize with you when you or your child contacts a serious illness that could have been prevented by a simple vaccine. That’s the only way I can put it.

    Look, I’m not saying that vaccines are 100% perfect, but they are the best we have. I am no expert, and am not even over the age of 20, but I did do some research and even I have wrapped my head around the fact that vaccines are immensely beneficial. The benefits are simply to great to even think about the risks.

    • Redpill says:

      Here’s some figure for you mad-vaxxers that you will never read about
      4.1 Billion paid to families that have suffered a vaccine injury since the 1986 Vaccine Law was passed. That’s tax payer money because the pharma cartel pays a small fee per vaccine into the fund.

      As of November 30, 2018, there have been more than 93,179 reports of measles vaccine reactions, hospitalizations, injuries and deaths following measles vaccinations made to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS), including 459 related deaths, 6,936 hospitalizations, and 1,748 related disabilities. Over 50% of those adverse events occurred in children three years old and under. However, the numbers of vaccine-related injuries and deaths reported to VAERS may not reflect the true number of serious health problems that occur develop after MMR vaccination. HHS says only 1% of the adverse reactions are reported.

      As of January 2, 2019, there have been 1,258 claims filed so far in the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) for 82 deaths and 1,176 injuries that occurred after measles vaccination. Of that number, the U.S. Court of Claims administering the VICP has compensated 483 children and adults, who have filed claims for measles vaccine injury. HHS says only 1% of the adverse reactions are reported.

      Vaccines do shed and vaccinated people are contagious:
      In 2010, Eurosurveillance published a report about the shedding of vaccine strain measles virus in urine and throat secretions of a Croatian child with vaccine-associated rash illness-Kaic B, Gjenero-Margan I, Aleraj B et al. Spotlight on Measles 2010: Excretion of Vaccine Strain Measles Virus in Urine and Pharyngeal Secretions of a Child with Vaccine Associated Febrile Rash Illness, Croatia, March 2010. Eurosurveillance 2010 15(35).

      -In 2012, a report was also published describing a healthy 15-month old child in Canada, who developed irritability, fever, cough, conjunctivitis and rash within seven days of an MMR shot. 50 Blood, urine and throat swab tests confirmed a vaccine strain measles virus infection 12 days after vaccination. Addressing the potential for measles vaccine strain virus transmission to others, the authors stated,

      “While the attenuated virus can be detected in clinical specimens following immunization, it is understood that administration of the MMR vaccine to immunocompetent individuals does not carry the risk of secondary transmission to susceptible hosts.”Nestibo L, Lee BE, Fonesca K et al. Differentiating the wild from the attenuated during a measles outbreak. Paediatr Child Health Apr. 2012; 17(4).

      –Journal of Microbiology: During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccinees (3). Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences (R. J. McNall, unpublished data).
      Plain English, measles outbreaks were occurring among children who were already vaccinated with the measles. If you do the math, nearly 38% of the genetic sequences that were conducted on supposed “measles” cases turned out to identify measles strains that originated in the vaccines themselves. Thus, more than one out of three cases of measles in the United States was actually a reaction from a measles vaccine, not “wild-type” measles.

      –Arch Intern Med. 1994 Aug 22;154(16):1815-20. Failure to reach the goal of measles elimination. Apparent paradox of measles infections in immunized persons. – Poland GA1, Jacobson RM.

      –Outbreak of Measles Among Persons With Prior Evidence of Immunity, New York City, 2011. Oxford Journal.
      Of 88 contacts, four secondary cases were confirmed that had either two doses of measles-containing vaccine or a past positive measles IgG antibody. All cases had laboratory confirmation of measles infection, clinical symptoms consistent with measles, and high avidity IgG antibody characteristic of a secondary immune response.” This report of measles transmission from a twice vaccinated individual. The clinical presentation and laboratory data of the index were typical of measles in a naïve individual. Secondary cases had robust anamnestic antibody responses. No tertiary cases occurred despite numerous contacts.

  10. ilinka says:

    They have published : “During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccines. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences.”

    So, let’s move on.

  11. Deborah Strasser says:

    Redpill, Fantastic researching! The reference to actual studies and the stats are super valuable in this discussion. You notice the author of the original piece didn’t give any information that supported her position. I hope your comment inspires investigation. And the author is just another poor victim parroting Big Pharma’s propoganda. I applaud your eloquence and exactitude! Well done!

  12. Morgan says:

    I hope your children will be ok. Seriously, duck this argument. People are really petty. I’m so sorry about your daughter’s fight with cancer.

  13. Redpill says:

    Health and Human Service has violated US Code 42 USC 300AA-27C since 1998. After pharmaceutical companies were given blanket immunity in 1986 which means a vaccine maker cannot be held legally responsible for any deaths or injuries cause by a vaccine under any circumstances, HHS was ordered by The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 law signed by President Reagan-The US Supreme Court decided Bruesewitz v. Wyeth deals specifically with this provision that HHS was to conduct safety testing of all vaccines and submit a report every 2 years to Congress. FOIA filed in 2017 to HHS requested all studies and data for the last 32 years as these reports are public records. HHS stonewalled for 8 months, not responding. A lawsuit was filed on 7/9/18 in the United States District Court Southern District Of New York suing HHS for refusal to hand over the data as indicated by law for public records. The court ordered HHS to provide the listed documents in the lawsuit. HHS complied: This stipulated order shows that HHS has not acted in its duties regarding vaccine safety, forcing 78 million American children into a vaccine program with no safety provisions. HHS has neglected to perform any safety testing of any vaccines for 32 years as mandated by the 1986 NCVIA.

  14. Gary Madison says:

    My mother was diagnosed with ALS in june 2015. Her doctor put her on riluzole, letting her know there was no cure but the medication might provide her a few more months of delayed symptoms. ALS progresses at different rates and affects different body parts first. My mother, being 80 at the time, fell into a category of what they call “fast progression” (older female). Her arms weakened first, then her hands, her mouth, and throat, and finally her lungs. Throughout her years ordeal, she was able to walk with assistance. We have to give a try on herbal supplement which effectively get rid of herbal ALS condition dramatically after her 15 weeks of her usage,she lost touch with reality. Suspecting it was the medication I took her off the riluzole (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started her on the ALS natural herbal formula we ordered. it advisable to always try natural herbs at first because neutralize her ALS/MND which surprise everyone at home.

  15. Jersey Dee says:

    Can any of you robots explain to me how measles was eradicated with a very streamlined and delayed vaccination schedule but resurfaces once the vaccination schedule becomes much more crowded and more aggressive?

  16. Eilla says:

    It’s pretty disturbing that you expect other people to make their health decisions for their OWN bodies and the bodies of their children based on YOU. The narcissism is astounding. Disgusting post. And guess what?? We dont vaccinate either 🖕🏽🖕🏽🖕🏽

  17. Warren Peace says:

    Your rant is definitely the height of hubris and you have absolutely no right accusing anyone, as if you know without a doubt that an unvaccinated child exposed your family to ANYTHING. Your lack of statistical proof is astounding but not surprising, as in the knowledge you think you have will never amount to wisdom, sadly. For all the hours you have put into memorizing all that the establishment-sponsored curriculum, you are certainly clueless. Also not unexpected since that is the way they want you, clueless.
    I find your audacity and egocentric attitude to be appalling, especially considering the Adverse Effects that VAERS does NOT mention. The rumor on the street is that they report only one percent, which means that the truth (AS USUAL) is MUCH, MUCH worse. I feel for you and your family not because you were allegedly exposed to measles, but because your family has a leader who is both ignorant as well as useless. You have bred ignorance into your children and now my children and so many others will have people just like you to deal with in the future. Wow, the shame you should feel for doing that.
    Additionally, you’d be doing good to know that as history repeats itself – the only time that any bacterium or virus has stricken a populace and caused any level of what could be considered an “outbreak” is AFTER the vaccination for that exact strain of planned spread among the populations. To add to your ignorance and hubris that was obviously bred into you and is overwhelmingly innate, you pile more on it by going to school and getting a degree in KILLING PEOPLE with your remedial brand of governmental medical doctrine?
    Get a grip man. You’re an indoctrinated goon.

    • Very well said. Now if they only understood what you just layed out for them to digest. Governments and Corporations expect that group to follow along and play the game. That’s why fact checkers were made to hide the truth. Because any type of investigations are null and void.

  18. Rebecca Callahan says:

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  19. Isabel says:

    Truly sorry you are going through this but did you child have cancer of the immune system before or after being vaccinated?

    Have you investigated why childhood cancers (mostly leukemia and lymphomas) have increased 40% in recent decades?

    Have you thought about DNA sequencing the stem cells of your children to see if vaccine components (or contaminants such as SV40 or Human DNA used in cell lines) caused this cancer? These are valid questions.

    I ask because you yourself point out one child who is severely allergic, and another with cancer of the immune system. So there may be some familial susceptibility to vaccination.

    Many people avoid vaccination due to adverse events, positive tests for gene variants associated with adverse events, family history of immune disorders, and other medical concerns.

    A child just getting out of chemo is very vulnerable to all kinds of infections, not just vaccine preventable. Do you protect your children from recently-vaccinated as well who may be shedding the love virus ? DNA sequencing of the measles virus circulating at Disneyland revealed it came from vaccine shedding, not an unvaccinated person as you assumed. Meanwhile the immunoglobulin treatment appears to be no more traumatic than the vaccination needle.

    It sounds like you are dealing with very difficult circumstances and understandably angry. I pray for you that your children be healthy. And that you seek discernment and compassion for other people who also have their own suffering and difficult, personal choices to make

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