In December 2018, little Shira Goldschmidt came down with a runny nose and a fever of 104F.
Her mother, Fainy Sukenik, took her to see her pediatrician, who said the eight-month-old had a virus that would pass.
But then, less than a week later, red spots appeared all over Shira’s body and her parents knew she had contracted measles.
The infant was having trouble eating and drinking and was struggling to breathe, so she was rushed to the ER, and she was hospitalized, reported CNN.
Sukenik says she’s furious because her daughter was too young to get her MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shot and slammed anti-vaxxers for fueling the global outbreak – and even suggested they ‘wear a sign’ so she can avoid them
However, it’s unclear how Shira contracted the virus because it’s possible to be infected by someone who is vaccinated.
Shira Goldschmidt, eight months (left and right), from Israel, came down with a runny nose and a fever of 104F in December 2018. Her pediatrician believed it was a common virus that would quickly pass
A few days later, the red spots that are the hallmark of measles appeared on Shira’s body. She was too young to be vaccinated because doctors don’t administer the shot until patients are at least one year old. Pictured: Shria with her mother, Fainy Sukenik
Sukenik has four children, the youngest of whom is Shira, and they are all up-to-date on their vaccines.
However, Shira was eight months old when she contracted the virus. Most countries, including the US, don’t administer the first MMR dose until children are at least one year old.
Sukenik told CNN that she was terrified when her daughter began exhibiting the hallmarks of measles.
‘It wasn’t just dots on one part of her body,’ she said. ‘They were everywhere: inside her mouth, between her fingers, in between her toes. I’m an experienced mother, and never ever have I seen something like this.’
Her parents had to take her to the hospital when the baby stopped eating and drinking and was too weak to hold her own head up.
Doctors put Shira in isolation and administered IV fluids.
STATES THAT ALLOW PARENTS TO OPT OUT OF VACCINES BASED ON PHILOSOPHICAL BELIEFS
- North Dakota
STATES THAT RECENTLY REVOKED THIS ALLOWANCE:
- West Virginia
Both in the US and in Israel, where Sukenik lives, the highly infectious disease has been spreading among people who are unvaccinated or live in states that allow non-medical exemptions for vaccines.
‘I’m so angry and so frustrated,’ Sukenik told CNN. ‘On Facebook, I wrote to the anti-vaxxers: “You are hurting our kids because of your choice”. ‘
In December, when Shira first fell ill, Sukenik wrote a post on Facebook where she slammed those who were willingly unvaccinated.
‘Let’s talk about the freedom of choice here for those who believe that vaccines are the devil and the source of all evil,’ she wrote in Hebrew.
‘Let’s remind them that they have the right to believe what they want, but we will also the prices that others pay so that they can act as they please.’
She suggested that anti-vaxxers either stay in isolation or walk around with signs telling others they are not immunized.
‘Are you ashamed that you don’t vaccinate?’ Sukenik told CNN, in reference to anti-vaxxers. ‘No, you’re not ashamed. So you should wear a sign and let me choose whether my kids will play with your kids.’
The measles outbreak in the US began last year when an unvaccinated Orthodox Jewish child from New York became infected during a trip to Israel.
From there it spread to several states. Last month, a man identified as ‘Patient Zero’ traveled to Michigan from New York and spread measles to at least 43 people.
The CDC revealed last week that there are now 555 cases confirmed in 20 states since January 1.
Measles was declared ‘eradicated’ in 2000, but 2019 has the second highest number of cases since then, closing in on 2014 when 667 cases were reported.
When someone with measles coughs, sneezes or talks, infected droplets are sprayed into the air, where other people can inhale them and are then infected.
Symptoms present themselves between 10 to 14 days after infection and include fever, cough, runny nose and a total-body skin rash.
Shira (left and right) couldn’t eat, drink or hold her own head up, so her parents rushed her to the ER. She was put in isolation and given IV fluids, and since recovered
Her mother, Fainy Sukenik, slammed anti-vaxxers in a Facebook post and suggested they stay in isolation or carry signs saying they’re anti-vaxxers. Pictured: Shira
Cases have been confirmed in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington.
Of those states, six – Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, Oregon, Texas and Washington – allow exemptions for philosophical and/or personal beliefs.
In New York, there have been at least 522 confirmed cases in Brooklyn, Queens and Rockland County since October 2018 – most in Orthodox Jewish communities.
Mayor Bill De Blasio has declared a state of emergency and has threatened to fine any families that don’t get their children vaccinated in light of the outbreak.
Three weeks ago, officials in Rockland County issued a State of Emergency, banning unvaccinated people under age 18 from public places.
The vaccine is about 97 percent effective. But those who are unvaccinated have a 90 percent chance of catching measles if they breathe the virus in, according to the CDC.
In fact, the agency says an unvaccinated person can get measles by entering a room that a person with measles left up to two hours before.
Shira has since recovered, and is now walking, but doctors told her parents she could face complications down the road.
In rare instances, about a decade after someone contracts measles, they could develop a fatal neurological disorder known as subacute sclerosing panencephalitis.
‘For years I’m not going to be able to rest from this fear,’ Sukenik told CNN.