When we got back home it was with the instructions that Mobius and my husband would be quarantined for four days at home. Since I had blood titers (proof of measles immunity) on file at my nursing school, I was able to leave the house. It wasn’t that long, but it was still pretty hard on both of them. My husband had to take time off work, and I couldn’t believe how stir crazy such a small baby could be. Shortly after, we also learned that some employees at Disneyland had also been infected after the first wave in December.
During the days at home, thankfully, the fever got a bit better, but he developed a nasty cough. It was really hard to watch my baby coughing so hard. The rash spread down his body and he looked like a leopard. The poor little guy also kept rubbing his eyes. He was so small and uncoordinated, he actually learned to roll onto his stomach in the process so he could dig his face into the ground.
I felt terrible. Not only did we inadvertently expose our baby to measles, but in the four days before the spots appeared, we were in public places with him where we clearly had the potential to expose other people before we knew he was sick. I really worried that perhaps we’d unknowingly exposed another baby who, like Mobius wasn’t old enough for the MMR vaccine. We’d been out to see family and friends and had two meals at restaurants. We ran errands. We spent at least half an hour in the baby room at IKEA changing and feeding him. I still feel guilty about that.
Mobius continued to cough for about three weeks and his eyes really bothered him for months. He has received follow-up care from an ophthalmologist and neurologist. So far, he’s recovered beautifully, but we’ll need to continue to monitor him for measles encephalitis for a decade. He has an existing problem with a ventricle in his brain, and now we have to worry about this for another decade. Measles encephalitis can strike seemingly out of nowhere for years and is almost always fatal.
Our family’s message
Our baby’s measles episode was something of an awakening. We thought we were doing everything we could to protect our baby. Even with being current with his vaccinations, ensuring that others around him were current, and even having vaccinations while I was pregnant. You just don’t expect an infectious disease like measles to find your child. We found out it can.
One thing Chris and I never thought about before this experience is how many people still continue to question vaccines. I guess we didn’t really know there was even an established voice for that point of view in our modern age, with all the science confirming the safety of vaccines that has continued to come out in recent years. Our message is to trust science. I hope that sharing Mobius’ story will spread awareness that diseases like measles still exist and can be dangerous. We also saw first-hand that quarantine is challenging and a well-vaccinated population is the best way to prevent measles from spreading.
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