Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A little dangerous virus music

We have measles in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, so far 14 cases in Tarrant County, which includes Fort Worth. Eight cases from a church where a missionary returned infected. The preacher has urged her congregation to get shots, but to pray about it if they have concerns. They have cleaned the church, but it is a virus.

Back in the 1970s, we still had epidemics of measles, and I was a medical writer. I also had never had....the terms have changed, and I need to explain.

The thing is, I have been researching. And apparently, treatment and results are the same.

I called a reporter about this. I wanted to know what kind of measles.

"What?" he said, "It's measles."


So I googled a couple of hours.

You see, we used to categorize three viruses as measles: roseola, rubeola, rubella.

I can't find a vaccine for roseola, which is fine. It's a mild, 3-day rash. Rubella used to be mistaken for it, because it doesn't last long, but it is vicious.

Rubeola and rubella cause more damage. My reading showed there's not much more to be done with them now than 40 years ago. But hey, both viruses were 99@ extinct.

Both can harm patients with it. Sometimes encephalitis. We don't believe in darkened rooms these days, but for measles, it's recommended. Oh. One site recommended not giving aspirin for the high fever. We knew that 40 years ago. Did you? Aspirin to children with a virus can trigger Reye Syndrome. You don't want that.

So measles is what rubeola used to be, lasting about 10 days. If women are pregnant when they get it, it can cause miscarriage, early births and stillbirths. But rubella is a whole other thing. It doesn't kill the fetus often. It can and usually does leave the child with mental deficiencies, birth defects, deafness, impaired vision if the mother has it in the first 4 months of pregnancy.

I would suspect most of those over 60? remember this. Today, that's a lot of people. Most of the doctors practicing today don't know these details, because they haven't needed to know. I checked treatment and found no cures, the same treatments we had in the 60's.

When I was in my first trimester with my firstborn, we had a rubella epidemic. A test had proved I was not immune. I was a news reporter, yet I found myself shrinking away, not going out, no movie theaters or restaurants. I finally caught the virus when my first son was several years old. I was in my 30s and miserable. Overall, I was so damn happy.

Maybe 15 years ago, I was dealing with a family where the father had once done meth rampantly, they were so very poor, and they had kids with bad immune systems. So as the CPS caseworker, I was there. One day I showed up and one of the girls was sick. Fever. Strawberry tongue. Faint rash on her wrists. The family was in the middle of nowhere and had to call family members for transport.(unless kids are in life threatening situations, I could not legally transport.) I recommended an ER visit, and they did go ASAP. I got back the next week and the mother laughed. Their daughter had been show and tell for the staff, who had never seen scarlet fever. But I had had it, recognized it, and referred them to treatment. Thank God we had the rapport that when I recommended a doctor, they went. I certainly wasn't qualified to diagnose.

A lot of the young docs aren't learning how to read patients. They go with the machines. The old diseases, like weeds, will crop up occasionally. Hope they know what to do with them.

I am not impressed with the measles information, either on the news or on computer treatment sites. I found some stuff on rubella, but rubeolla is a conundrum, So little information.

For younger readers, rubeolla is measles. The vaccination also includes rubella (also measles) and mumps. Rubella can disfigure and maim your fetus in the first four months of pregnancy. Sometimes rubeola just kills it. We used to be scared of this stuff.

A vaccination includes measles, rubella and mumps.

Like a bear in the camp grounds, we no longer have the fear to beware.

In any case, you have nothing to worry about, because you had your vaccination, right?

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