A four-year-old Colorado boy died of the flu after his anti-vaccination parents sought help from an "anti-vaxx" Facebook group and treated the boy with elderberries, potatoes, and breast milk instead of medicine.
As The Colorado Times Recorder reports, the unidentified mother visited the Facebook group "Stop Mandatory Vaccination," telling them that members of her family were coming down with flu symptoms and that the family doctor had prescribed TamiFlu, a commonly-used treatment for the disease. The mom said she hadn't picked up the prescription and wanted the group's advice.
The mom said that she was "freaking out" and went on to describe some of the symptoms her family was experiencing. The four-year-old, she said, had a temperature of 102 and the mom believed he might have had a febrile seizure. The five-year-old was experiencing equally high temperatures, ranging from between 102-104.6, and complaining of a headache and lack of appetite. The family's 10-month-old baby also had fevers of 101-102.
Rocky Mountain Children's Hospital, by way of comparison, recommends taking a child over the age of 3 to the emergency room if his or her temperature is above 102 for two or more days, or if their child is not up to date on their immunizations.
None of the children had gotten the flu vaccine. Further, the mother said that "they" were pressuring her family to take TamiFlu, although she didn't specify what she meant by that.
From the Facebook group, the mom got suggestions such as "taking Vitamin D and C, Elderberry, Zinc, and eating lots of fruits and vegetables," as one commenter put it. Another commenter suggested putting sliced potatoes and cucumbers on the sick children's foreheads. Another suggested giving the children Vitamin C until they had diarrhea.
The boy wound up dying of the flu, one of two pediatric flu deaths in Colorado this flu season.
Larry Cook, a prominent anti-vaccination activist and administrator of the "Stop Mandatory Vaccination" group, later posted in the group that it was the hospital that likely killed the young boy.
"Mom says they were treated poorly by the hospital, and of course, never offered any real treatments that would have likely cured her boy," he posted in the group. Many commenters agreed.
Since the issue was brought to the media, the Facebook group has removed all references to the Colorado boy's death. However, the posts were shared to the local media by a Facebook user who captured screenshots of the conversations.