Measles Outbreak: Vaccine Debate Triggers Death Threats Among Parents

As the measles outbreak continues to spread across the U.S. – infecting 155 people across 16 states so far – it’s also starting vicious fights among parents.

CBS News recently reported on a site called Mommy2Mommy, an LA-based support group of over 17,000 mothers. The online group made the news not for its helpful advice for raising kids, but for the visceral fighting between pro and anti-vaccine parents. Amy Hermes, the site’s creator, explained further.

“Since the measles outbreak at Disneyland, we actually started seeing group hatred like I’ve never seen before. I saw people start to threaten each other’s lives. I saw live death threats. I saw people suggesting that other members take a bag of dog feces and throw it at other people’s houses.”

Hermes banned all mentions of “vaccination, measles, shots and all other vaccination-related discussions.” Anyone posting on the topic will be forced off the website.

One mother, Heather Crist Paley, was kicked out just for talking about the policy of kicking out people for discussing measles vaccinations.

Hermes insists that she’s received more positive comments than negative and will maintain the policy for so long as the measles outbreak starts fights.

“If you’re threatening the well-being of someone else or resorting to name-calling or mom-bashing so much so that other people are becoming uncomfortable, I reserve the right to ask you to leave.”

Online dog poop threats aren’t the only unusual behavior stemming from the outbreak.

As previously reported by the Inquisitr, a new fad is picking up steam: measles parties. They’re like chickenpox parties, but with higher stakes.

Parents in California reportedly bring their unvaccinated children to a party with at least one child infected with measles, thereby allowing their kids to be infected and become immune the “natural” way.

Unlike chickenpox, measles is actually more dangerous at a younger age, especially under five years old. It also carries serious symptoms, including brain damage and death.

The nonchalant attitude towards the outbreak is part of the reason many parents feel frustrated towards the anti-vaxxer movement.

As Slate explained, children under 12-months-old cannot receive the vaccine. Likewise, children with other complicating diseases, like cancer, cannot receive the measles vaccination.

With measles being 90 percent contagious, a child carrying the disease can be lethal for children in either of those categories.

In a letter on Mother Jones, One parent described his experience with a child with cancer who was exposed to the measles outbreak by an unvaccinated child.

“Unvaccinating parent, thanks for screwing up our three-week “vacation” from chemotherapy. Instead of a break, we get to watch for measles symptoms and pray for no fevers (or back to the hospital we go). Thanks for making us cancel our trip to the snow this year. Maggie really wanted to see snow, but we will not risk exposing anyone else. On that note, thanks for exposing 195 children to an illness considered ‘eliminated’ from the US.”

As the measles outbreak continues to spread, emotions will likely become more frayed, and the debate more heated.

[Image Credit: Getty]