Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris
Darla Shine, the wife of White House communications director Bill Shine, seems to be talking about childhood diseases, saying diseases like measles, mumps and chickenpox "keep you healthy and fight the disease." Cancer".
Health experts warn that the allegation is false and adds to misinformation that could cause harm.
Shine, who is known to have tweeted stories with anti-vaccination claims, wrote on Twitter on Wednesday that "All the baby boomer population alive today had the #Measles child."
She added that: "I had the #Measles #Mumps #ChickenPox like all the other kids I knew – unfortunately, my kids had #MMR so never to benefit from the natural immunity for life that I'd Have a breathe on me! "
Her account is not verified by Twitter, but indicates that she is Bill Shine's wife, "#POTUS's assistant".
Len Lichtenfeld, acting medical director of the American Cancer Society, told the Washington Post Thursday that there was no evidence that contracting measles would make a person healthier later in life or contribute to cancer prevention.
In addition, said Lichtenfeld, "it is easy to forget the burden of the disease that measles represents when we were young."
"It's a real disease with real consequences," he said. "Fortunately, for most people, these consequences were not serious, but it is an infection that can cause life-threatening events and can cause pneumonia and meningitis. complications are rare but occur – and children die as a result of measles infections.
"I think that over time it's part of our past and it's becoming less relevant and less important as we move forward in time." We forget how serious the problem was for those who grew up in this generation. "
Researchers worry more and more about a potentially fatal neurological disorder that could turn into a delayed complication of measles after the virus has been dormant in people's bodies for many years.
Measles is very contagious.
Before the introduction of measles vaccine in 1963, most children contracted the disease – an estimated 3 to 4 million patients each year in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Control. Prevention.
Of these, 48,000 were hospitalized, 400 to 500 died and another 1,000 suffered from a serious complication called encephalitis, a condition in which the brain swells because of an infection.
In 2000, nearly four decades after parents began vaccinating their children, measles was declared eliminated in the United States.
Data from the CDC show that between 2000 and 2018, there was an average of 140 measles cases per year in the United States. Three people died during this period: one in 2002, one in 2003 and one in 2015.
But there have been many epidemics in recent years, among an anti-vaccine movement supported in part by fraudulent research in 1998 aimed at demonstrating a link between vaccination and autism. Many studies have provided conclusive evidence that vaccinations do not cause autism.
It's always a problem. The World Health Organization recently designated "vaccine hesitancy" as one of the "Ten Threats to Global Health in 2019":
The reasons why people choose not to vaccinate are complex; An advisory group on vaccines with the WHO has identified complacency, the drawbacks associated with access to vaccines and lack of self-confidence are the main reasons for hesitation. Health workers, especially those in communities, remain the most trusted counselor and influencer in immunization decision-making. They must be helped to provide reliable and credible information on vaccines.
In the midst of a critical reaction, Shine said Wednesday on Twitter that she was "not sure why my tweeting is so interesting, I'm not a politician, I have no influence."
Shine shared an article from CNN about how Mayo Clinic doctors had given a cancer patient "a highly concentrated measles virus made by laboratories and similar to measles vaccine" and then went into remission.
Lichtenfeld, of the American Cancer Society, explained that the measles virus alone is not used to treat cancer, but rather a manipulated version to specifically invade certain cancer cells.
"It is very different to give a disease to a patient to try to treat cancer," he said. "It's just not what we do."
"Measles does not protect us against cancer, chickenpox does not protect us against cancer," added Lichtenfeld. "These are diseases that kill, they are diseases that affect millions of people and it is very easy to forget the lives lost or those who have been hit hard by the measles epidemic because that we tend to forget, we have not lived or we do not remember it or we did not know it, let me assure you that it was a very serious disease and that we were not we do not need to see her come back. "