A measles outbreak in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, has affected at least nine people so far. The cases seem to center around public schools in the city with a handful of the cases being traced to the French-language schools in the city.
CBC News reports that a local man has admitted that the outbreak just might be his fault. Emmanuel Bilodeau sat down with the news source and admitted that his son is very likely patient zero in the recent outbreak.
Bilodeau revealed that his son contracted the disease during a family holiday in Vietnam several months back and it’s likely that he brought the illness back with him when they returned home. He also noted that his other two children began showing symptoms shortly after the first was officially diagnosed.
Unfortunately, by the time it was caught, the illness had already spread outward into the student body of the schools his children attended.
Emmanuel, a father-of-three, admitted that none of his children were vaccinated. The loving father says that he and his ex-wife chose not to vaccinate the children when they were young because they feared a link between childhood vaccines and autism. He also told the news source that they distrusted the science at that time.
“We worried 10-12 years ago because there was a lot of debate around the MMR vaccine. Doctors were coming out with research connecting the MMR vaccine with autism. So we were a little concerned,” Emmanuel explained.
The CDC reports that there is no scientific link between childhood vaccinations and the development of autism in children. Unfortunately, the debunking of those particular hype rumors came a little too late for this family.
Bilodeau emphasizes that he and his ex-wife were not against vaccines, but were scared of the MMR vaccine because of it containing multiple vaccines in one. He says that they wanted to err on the side of caution and were hoping that they would develop individual vaccinations for the diseases that could be given one at a time.
“We’re just very cautious parents and we just tried to do it in the manner that was the least invasive possible on the child’s health,” he continued to explain.
IFLScience speculates that the reason the MMR and autism myth continues to circulate has a lot to do with the timing of both. The vaccination is typically given to a child between the ages of 18 months to 2 years. Autism is also very commonly diagnosed around this time because it is typically the age when symptoms start to really become noticeable.
Monika Naus, the medical director at the Center for Disease Control, told CBC News that a surge of parents with “vaccine hesitancy” like Emmanuel Bilodeau could potentially cause a resurrection of preventable diseases, such as the measles.