Here's what worries me about the "measles epidemic" - Mothering Forums

Here's what worries me about the "measles epidemic"

KLM99's Avatar KLM99 (TS)
02:04 PM Liked: 12
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08-27-2008 | Posts: 948
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Note that I put epidemic in quotes, since at 131 people, it's hardly an epidemic. Nonetheless, as MMR rates fall, I have some concerns, summarized (at length!) here. I was going to send it to this mom's group I'm on - someone just sent an email with the CDC press release about the epidemic, blaming it on unvaccinated kids, but I'm not sure I feel up to getting in a debate. Any thoughts?

Here's what worries me about a resurgence of measles (and no, it's not my child getting measles). In the normal cycle of things (and I realize there would always be moms who can't breastfeed or immuno-compromised babies for whom this scenario would not work, but just for the sake of discussion...), moms would get measles when they were age 5-9 (as something like 95% of people did pre-vaccine according to the CDC) and thus, develop life-long immunity. Those moms would then breastfeed their babies through their toddler years, thus conferring passive immunity to the measles virus to their child during their infant years. Once passive immunity wore off, the child (now fortunately old enough to deal with measles) would get measles herself, and the cycle would repeat with her children.

The problem is that most moms today did not get measles when they were young - they got the measles vaccine. Thus, as the CDC points out in their Pink Book chapter on measles, moms are passing little if any immunity to their babies even if they *are* breastfeeding (and these days only 36% of women are breastfeeding after 6 months of age - the infant gets no immunity if mom is not breastfeeding). This means that today’s babies who are not yet eligible for the vaccine (<12 months) are susceptible to measles - at an age when the disease is likely to be more damaging.

Additionally, since measles vaccine wears off after a while (as little as 10 years in some cases – that’s why you need boosters), older people who got measles vaccine instead of measles when they were young are getting it when they are older and/or pregnant, when the disease can be much more dangerous.

And finally, it's rarely mentioned that MMR causes recently vaccinated people to shed the live virus (meaning the vaccinated person himself or others who come into contact with him may contract vaccine-derived measles) and that the sheding can continue for up to six months. That means that if you have a recently vaccinated child, it might be best to keep the child away from unvaccinated children, babies who are not yet eligible for vaccinations and maybe even pregnant women; and to wash your hands meticulously after diaper changes (as you should anyway).

The same thing worries me with rubella and chickenpox - rubella is pretty much harmless UNLESS you get it while you're pregnant, in which case it's effects can be devastating. None of us get rubella anymore (which would have given us lifelong immunity) because we all get the MMR vaccine, which confers temporary immunity. As vaccination rates fall and these disease experience a resurgence, I would caution all who have not had these diseases as children to get their titres checked prior to pregnancy to ensure that they are immune - otherwise, first time exposure in adulthood or during pregnancy could be a very bad thing.

In summary, it’s not my child getting measles that worries me (I feel confident that she'd be fine if she did), it’s the babies and the pregnant and older people. Those are the people I'm worried about



CDC Pink Book Chapter on Measles:
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pin...loads/meas.pdf

CDC Discussion of How Vaccines Work (Includes Active vs. Passive Immunity):
http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pin...ds/prinvac.pdf
ASusan's Avatar ASusan
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[QUOTE=KLM99;12046822]In summary, it’s not my child getting measles that worries me (I feel confident that she'd be fine if she did), it’s the babies and the pregnant and older people. Those are the people I'm worried about

Everything you write is totally true and well thought-out. However, the summary statement here is the exact argument made by pro-vaxers - that it's not so much the *child* that is being protected, but the vulnerable populations.
KLM99's Avatar KLM99 (TS)
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[QUOTE=ASusan;12046856]
Quote:
Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post
In summary, it’s not my child getting measles that worries me (I feel confident that she'd be fine if she did), it’s the babies and the pregnant and older people. Those are the people I'm worried about

Everything you write is totally true and well thought-out. However, the summary statement here is the exact argument made by pro-vaxers - that it's not so much the *child* that is being protected, but the vulnerable populations.
And in that respect, I agree with the non-vaxxers - we've all really screwed ourselves by starting vaccinations in the first place. If we stop now, there are likely to be a number of babies and older people with problems when they wouldnt' have had any problems had the normal course of things just been left alone. Isn't that convenient that the only thing to do is to keep vaccinating people?
KLM99's Avatar KLM99 (TS)
02:29 PM Liked: 12
#4 of 27
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and that leads to the question - what is my obligation as a parent? Is it to my child only? Or to older people and babies who are susceptible? (keeping in mind that those "babies" could be my own future babies - I was vaccinated against measles and therefore I'm not passing along much immunity myself).
mom0810's Avatar mom0810
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Only you can answer that. For me and my family, my only obligation is to my children. I did not have babies so they could be little soldiers for the CDC in the fight against measles.
KLM99's Avatar KLM99 (TS)
02:52 PM Liked: 12
#6 of 27
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mom0810 - that's our answer too (we don't vaccinate). But I can how some people might be on the other side of that or think that the position is insensitive.
mom0810's Avatar mom0810
02:56 PM Liked: 652
#7 of 27
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Oh, I can see that, too, but frankly, I don't care.

My kids are my only priority. If someone else feels it's selfish not to vax, then they are free to do it, you know?

As far as I know, the vaccine rate in my area is still high enough for herd immunity, so I don't think we are putting anyone at risk. I am sure doctors don;t tel patients who CAN'T be immunized that they are putting the world at risk, so why are my kids? You know?
roxyrox's Avatar roxyrox
02:58 PM Liked: 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KLM99 View Post
Here's what worries me about a resurgence of measles (and no, it's not my child getting measles). In the normal cycle of things (and I realize there would always be moms who can't breastfeed or immuno-compromised babies for whom this scenario would not work, but just for the sake of discussion...), moms would get measles when they were age 5-9 (as something like 95% of people did pre-vaccine according to the CDC) and thus, develop life-long immunity. Those moms would then breastfeed their babies through their toddler years, thus conferring passive immunity to the measles virus to their child during their infant years. Once passive immunity wore off, the child (now fortunately old enough to deal with measles) would get measles herself, and the cycle would repeat with her children.

The problem is that most moms today did not get measles when they were young - they got the measles vaccine. Thus, as the CDC points out in their Pink Book chapter on measles, moms are passing little if any immunity to their babies even if they *are* breastfeeding (and these days only 36% of women are breastfeeding after 6 months of age - the infant gets no immunity if mom is not breastfeeding). This means that today’s babies who are not yet eligible for the vaccine (<12 months) are susceptible to measles - at an age when the disease is likely to be more damaging.
Passive immunity to measles is conferred via the placenta before birth. It generally lasts about 6-9 months. Breastfeeding doesn't actually offer much protection against catching measles. You are right though. Only moms who have had natrual measles can pass on that immunity to their babies. I kinda think we may be "passed the point of no return" on this one though. If we stopped vaccinating against measles now, many more babies < 12 months would catch it, and some would die.

Quote:
Additionally, since measles vaccine wears off after a while (as little as 10 years in some cases – that’s why you need boosters), older people who got measles vaccine instead of measles when they were young are getting it when they are older and/or pregnant, when the disease can be much more dangerous. [
I think the measles vaccine is one of the most effective ones actually. Boosters are not generally "reccomended"?, here, at least (uk). I had a measles vaccine over 20 years ago and have been exposed multiple times in the last 6 months to children with measles and I haven't caught it.

Quote:
And finally, it's rarely mentioned that MMR causes recently vaccinated people to shed the live virus (meaning the vaccinated person himself or others who come into contact with him may contract vaccine-derived measles) and that the sheding can continue for up to six months. That means that if you have a recently vaccinated child, it might be best to keep the child away from unvaccinated children, babies who are not yet eligible for vaccinations and maybe even pregnant women; and to wash your hands meticulously after diaper changes (as you should anyway).
I don't think the measles portion of MMR sheds actually, I have never been able to find any evidence of it doing so. Would measles cases in the US not be a lot higher if there were people catching measles through "vaccine shedding?" Rubella vaccine can shed through breastmilk.

Quote:
The same thing worries me with rubella and chickenpox - rubella is pretty much harmless UNLESS you get it while you're pregnant, in which case it's effects can be devastating. None of us get rubella anymore (which would have given us lifelong immunity) because we all get the MMR vaccine, which confers temporary immunity. As vaccination rates fall and these disease experience a resurgence, I would caution all who have not had these diseases as children to get their titres checked prior to pregnancy to ensure that they are immune - otherwise, first time exposure in adulthood or during pregnancy could be a very bad thing.
This worries me too. We used to (in the UK, I am not sure about US) vaccinate girls against rubella at 14 (pre MMR). I think this was a much better strategy. Theyare also considering adding CP vaccine to our schedule which seems crazy to me after looking at the effect it has had in US. I dose is pretty ineffective. It looks like you would need boosters every 5 years for life...instead of been sick for a few days as a kid...crazy!

Quote:
In summary, it’s not my child getting measles that worries me (I feel confident that she'd be fine if she did), it’s the babies and the pregnant and older people. Those are the people I'm worried about
I wouldn't worry too much if my child got measles either but I *think* I would probably vaccinate any future children with a single measles vaccine. I think the side effects of the vaccine are statistically less than the side effects of the disease. My 2 friend's children all had measles recently, out of 6 of them, only one was really ill, but she was pretty poorly and I think if I could save my child going through that with the vaccine , I probably would.
ema-adama's Avatar ema-adama
03:08 PM Liked: 79
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oh my gosh, KLM99 - you totally wrote out exactly what I have been thinking, and one of the reasons I am so happy I was not vaxed and did have measles!!! Why is this reasoning not more publicly debated, especially in light of measles not being a killer disease? Great to know there are other mamas thinking along these lines! :
k9sarchik's Avatar k9sarchik
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#10 of 27
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I'd like to know how Switzerland and Europe are dealing with this issue already since there have been 1,400+ cases of measles and no deaths. I'm sure that there would have been deaths by now if it was so deadly. Not all of those children could be from parents that weren't vaxed and had the measles once.

It's not my obligation to protect other people's children. I am protecting my child by not vaxing.
wunderbubble's Avatar wunderbubble
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#11 of 27
08-27-2008 | Posts: 90
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First of all, this vicious cycle of mandatory injections has to stop...the monster is just getting tooo big.
I do not nor will i ever vaccinate voluntarily again.
The current state of health of another person should not be my responsibility.
I am not going to repeatedly poison and inject myself because of other peoples choices.

If a person wants to live thier life by the needle than these are the chances they are taking. These childhood disease were once considered the norm...and they served a healthful purpose. Now they are becoming pitfalls for infants and elderly.

If you vaccinate your children...you take the risk that thier future health will not coincide with the natural cycle of disease and you will most likely have to rely on pharmecuticals and vaccinations for the rest of your life. These diseases were once normal now they are a threat to infants and elderly....that is one very good reason that vaccination is not the answer to disease.it seems illogical to me that disease can be wiped out by injection, to wipe out disease, every living biological organism would have to be eradicated from the planet..

The fact that mandatory injection has to be coerced with fear and intimidation by those administering it was enough to turn a warning flag for me....
brendaziz's Avatar brendaziz
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FWIW- i was breastfeeding my son around the clock still when he was 10 months old and he got chicken pox from my dh who had shingles. I had pox twice when i was a kid and know I'm immuned, but still breastfeeding did nothing- Well except for make it MUCH easier to get through the 2 itchy weeks. I can't imagine what I woulda done if I couldn't comfort nurse him to keep him from being itchy and miserable.
But thank you to the poster who wrote about the placenta providing immunity. Very interesting stuff.
listipton's Avatar listipton
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#13 of 27
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i really like your thoughts...so how do we "break this cycle" ? I have stopped vaxing my dd and will not be vaxing my ds when he is born. I have been thinking that if my kids get any of these diseases when they are young that it would be a great thing and if they had not gotten these diseases by the time they start hitting their teen years, that I would talk to them about vaxing at that point since they would be hitting the higher risk population...as for myself, i didn't even realize that i was no longer "immune" to mmr since i had been vaxed as a child until i started looking into the whole issue. since i'm pregnant now and since i'll be bfing again, no vaxing for me in the near future... it is a troubling aspect of this issue that I've been thinking about too...
wunderbubble's Avatar wunderbubble
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Quote:
Originally Posted by listipton View Post
i really like your thoughts...so how do we "break this cycle" ? I have stopped vaxing my dd and will not be vaxing my ds when he is born. I have been thinking that if my kids get any of these diseases when they are young that it would be a great thing and if they had not gotten these diseases by the time they start hitting their teen years, that I would talk to them about vaxing at that point since they would be hitting the higher risk population...as for myself, i didn't even realize that i was no longer "immune" to mmr since i had been vaxed as a child until i started looking into the whole issue. since i'm pregnant now and since i'll be bfing again, no vaxing for me in the near future... it is a troubling aspect of this issue that I've been thinking about too...
but most adults are not vaccinated with MMR and they get pregnant and lead healthy lives...not everyone get horribly ill from those diseases, even if they are in a risk group. I haven't been vaccinated with that since i was a kid...unfortunately my son was vaxed with it... which is a vax that sheds...and i'm also around other children vaxed and not vaxed..in a forgein country where they don't vax with MMR and I AM STILL HERE and could have had one of those disease and may not have noticed it besides it being a sniffle....theses diseases are being hyped up...it's kindof sad....they are not as evil as the pharmecutical industry wants you to believe

the only way to break the cycle is to take our FREEDOM BACK , freedom to be human beings and not injectable organisms
carriebft's Avatar carriebft
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I read a really good post about this by mamakay a while back and i will see if I can find it again. It concerned the infant population and what would happen if we stopped MMR / the concerns in the OP.
Ruthla's Avatar Ruthla
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Here's what confuses me about the whole situation:

The virus sheds. It's not like the vaccination program has actually removed the viruses from the population. Lots of women probably get exposed via toddler diapers while pg with a younger sibling.

A child sick with the measles is obviously contageous- but then again, sick kids are generally kept home anyway. A child with a subclinical infection OR a recently vaccinated child will be spreading the germs around without being obviously sick- which spells good news for the immune systems of healthy people around them, and bad news for immunocompromised individuals.

Even if mom never had the measles, if baby's exposed, she can still make antibodies to protect the baby, just as mom makes all other kinds of "nameless" antibodies to things baby is exposed to.

I wonder if they have a pharmaceutical "measles immunoglobin" available for non-breastfeeding babies who might contract measles. If so, that might be just the thing to get us, as a society, over the hump. Give it to immunocompromised babies who aren't getting what they *should be* via breastmilk (either because mom never had the measles or because they're not receiving breastmilk, or medically fragile babies who need more help than breastmilk alone can provide). Then the next generation can survive to provide THEIR babies with immunities via breastmilk the way it's supposed to be.
carriebft's Avatar carriebft
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#17 of 27
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http://www.mothering.com/discussions...47&postcount=6

that's the post I was thinking of. I don't have any answers either.
mamakay's Avatar mamakay
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Quote:
I think the measles vaccine is one of the most effective ones actually. Boosters are not generally "reccomended"?, here, at least (uk). I had a measles vaccine over 20 years ago and have been exposed multiple times in the last 6 months to children with measles and I haven't caught it.
Yeah, but you're in the UK where measles was never completely eliminated to begin with, so your vax that you got as a kid was probably "boosted" by exposure to the wild virus a few times.

They're probably going to add MMR boosters to our adult vax program.

http://chealth.canoe.ca/channel_heal...&channel_id=12

Quote:
If people had protection - natural or vaccine-acquired - those exposures were actually helpful. They acted as a sort of natural booster shot, reminding the immune system to be on guard for this threat.
Quote:
The end result of the investigation into the durability of immunity in the vaccine age could be a recognition that adults need booster shots to prevent outbreaks of what we now consider childhood diseases. Osterholm, for one, thinks that’s likely.

honeybunch2k8's Avatar honeybunch2k8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxyrox;12047234=

=


This worries me too. We used to (in the UK, I am not sure about US) vaccinate girls against rubella at 14 (pre MMR). I think this was a much better strategy. [B
Theyare also considering adding CP vaccine to our schedule which seems crazy to me after looking at the effect it has had in US. [/B] I dose is pretty ineffective. It looks like you would need boosters every 5 years for life...instead of been sick for a few days as a kid...crazy!


Living in the US I don't get it either. The only way I can explain it is that it's a monetary ploy. Think about it. We get Cp vaxes. Then when still get cp and we get some shingles on top of that. When I had cp, I stayed home from school, mom gave me soda then I was ok. That doesn't make a lot of $$$. I also hear that it's very ineffective not to mention completely unnecessary IMO.
lirpasirhc's Avatar lirpasirhc
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just addressing the immunity from breastfeeding part of the OP...

both my parents had the measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, CP in the '50s. the wild measles, etc. were all around back then, but i don't think many moms BFed - at least not where my parents lived. the drs told the moms not to BF. (in fact, in the '80s, OBs and peds told my mom not to BF, but she did anyway). so back then, many kids only had passive immunity from the placenta, not from BF, and they still didn't catch childhood diseases until they were past infancy. the death rate was still very low.
AutumnNoelle's Avatar AutumnNoelle
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Send them this link that shows the decline in death rates before the vaccine was introduced - http://www.healthsentinel.com/graphs...rint_list_item The source for the info is right on the graph if they would like to check it out.

Also, here is some great info on MMR - http://www.vaclib.org/basic/mmr.htm


ema-adama's Avatar ema-adama
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08-28-2008 | Posts: 2,333
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxyrox View Post
Passive immunity to measles is conferred via the placenta before birth. It generally lasts about 6-9 months. Breastfeeding doesn't actually offer much protection against catching measles. You are right though. Only moms who have had natrual measles can pass on that immunity to their babies. I kinda think we may be "passed the point of no return" on this one though. If we stopped vaccinating against measles now, many more babies < 12 months would catch it, and some would die.
I have heard and read that the passive immunity is from the placenta and that it is from breastfeeding - so I am confused. Do you have any links to passive immunity for measles when the mum had measles as a child? I would love to clear this up for myself.
anewmama's Avatar anewmama
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#23 of 27
08-28-2008 | Posts: 1,485
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I am under the impression that the virus measles in the MMR does not really shed.
roxyrox's Avatar roxyrox
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#24 of 27
08-28-2008 | Posts: 722
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
I have heard and read that the passive immunity is from the placenta and that it is from breastfeeding - so I am confused. Do you have any links to passive immunity for measles when the mum had measles as a child? I would love to clear this up for myself.
It's from both, just for measles the main immunity comes from IgG antibodies that cross the placenta before birth. Mothers who have had natural measles seem to pass on higher levels of these antibodies to their babies, providing them with slightly better protection.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9178461
Quote:
Neutralizing antibody titers of 47 infants whose mothers sustained measles (measles group) and 70 whose mothers were vaccinated (vaccine group) were compared at birth, 4 and 8 months of age. All children had antibodies at birth and 88% at 4 months. At 8 months, 49% had antibodies in the measles group and 15% in the vaccine group (P < 0.001). The geometric mean titers were significantly lower in the vaccine group than in the measles group and the difference corresponded to the antibody loss occurring in only 1.5 months of life. This small difference may reflect past exposure to wild virus of many vaccinated mothers.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science...443038810a3f9d
Quote:
Infant’s antibody concentration decreased with age, but for every month of life geometric mean antibody titres for infants born to vaccinated mothers was significantly lower than GMT for infants born to mothers who experienced measles.

These results indicate that the duration of passive measles immunity is related to the maternal source of immunity and support results of previous studies
Some IgA antibodies in colostrum can also provide some protection against measles but only in the first few weeks. Here it says levels dropped to below protective in breastmilk before 2 weeks;http://tropej.oxfordjournals.org/cgi...stract/51/1/45


Quote:
Fifty-five colostrum samples from the same mothers and 347 breastmilk samples collected at various periods of breastfeeding also showed that anti-measles IgA had dropped below the protective cut-off within the first 2 weeks of birth.

Breastfeeding does provide passive immunity for lots of things but it's is not going to prevent your 2 or 3yo catching measles!
mamakay's Avatar mamakay
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#25 of 27
08-28-2008 | Posts: 8,332
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Breastfeeding immunity works best for pathogens that like to stay in the nose/throst or in the gut, it seems. Viruses that go through a viremic (viremia) stage (where the viruses are replicating in your blood, all throughout your body) are probably going to "escape" the "local, site-specific" immunity that comes from breastfeeding. I don't have a link on this, but it's my strong impression after reading about what breastfeeding does and doesn't work to prevent.
ema-adama's Avatar ema-adama
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#26 of 27
08-30-2008 | Posts: 2,333
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxyrox View Post
Breastfeeding does provide passive immunity for lots of things but it's is not going to prevent your 2 or 3yo catching measles!
Thank you so much for putting this together for me in such a clear way.

Are you aware of any research that has been done on BFing having beneficial effects on a toddlers immune response should they get measles? Can BFing somehow boost the immune response? Or am I being way too hopeful? (one of the main reasons I plan to extend breastfeeding into the toddler years is for the beneficial effects on the immune system - and of course I love BFing)

I am not worried about DS getting measles - but would prefer him to be between 5 - 9 years of age. So, trying to think what I would do if he got it earlier - other than consult a health care practitioner of course.
roxyrox's Avatar roxyrox
06:29 PM Liked: 11
#27 of 27
08-30-2008 | Posts: 722
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ema-adama View Post
Thank you so much for putting this together for me in such a clear way.

Are you aware of any research that has been done on BFing having beneficial effects on a toddlers immune response should they get measles? Can BFing somehow boost the immune response? Or am I being way too hopeful? (one of the main reasons I plan to extend breastfeeding into the toddler years is for the beneficial effects on the immune system - and of course I love BFing)

I am not worried about DS getting measles - but would prefer him to be between 5 - 9 years of age. So, trying to think what I would do if he got it earlier - other than consult a health care practitioner of course.
I absolutely think a breastfed toddler is in a better position to tackle any disease than a weaned one. Breastfeeding is good for the immune system as a whole. I have never really looked into measles/breastfeeding specifically but I found this;
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6115170
Quote:
The mortality rates among children under 2 years of age with measles, diarrhea, and ALRD were significantly higher (1.5, 3.3, 2.1 times higher) when the children had been weaned than when they were still being breastfed. Older children had lower mortality rates. Superior survival rates in breastfed children were also found in successive 6-month age groupings. Differences in mortality for breastfed vs. weaned is significant for children under 1 year of age (p0.001) and for those aged 12 to 23 months

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