Family's Trip to Vietnam Leaves Unpleasant Souvenir

Canadian dad of 3 boys showing measles symptoms said they weren't vaccinated
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2019 9:25 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2019 9:30 AM CST
Family's Trip to Vietnam Left an Unpleasant Souvenir
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/LeventKonuk)

A Canadian father now realizes that a long-held belief isn't true, but that hasn't stopped his three sons from ending up in the middle of a measles outbreak in Vancouver. Emmanuel Bilodeau tells the CBC that when his children were born more than a decade ago, he and his ex-wife stood firm against immunizations, taking to heart at the time since-debunked reports that claimed the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine caused autism. Per both the CDC and the BC Centre for Disease Control, that isn't the case. Bilodeau says at the time, he and his former partner weren't actually anti-vaccination, just "very cautious parents"—they'd actually hoped to find vaccines for all three diseases, but in separate shots, so the immunization process "wasn't such a hit on the kid." They didn't find those separate shots, and so they opted out of the MMR vaccine altogether.

Bilodeau says the family then took a trip to Vietnam in early 2019; he says his youngest son, 11, began showing measles symptoms on the trip back home. The other two boys also soon came down with the telltale signs. Blood tests have confirmed the 11-year-old has measles; verification is still pending on his other two sons. Meanwhile, the boys' two schools in Vancouver have reported at least eight cases of measles. Bilodeau says when he took the kids to BC Children's Hospital, he told staff the boys hadn't been vaccinated, even mentioning he suspected measles, but he says the boys were tested for other illnesses, like the flu and malaria, first. Per a hospital rep's email: "Our physicians and staff thoroughly assess each child ... and treat them accordingly. Should a parent raise a concern about a specific disease ... it would be discussed and then followed up on as appropriate." (More measles stories.)

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