To Party Or Not To Party…

To Party Or Not To Party…

By Rachelle H. Meth, MD

To party or not to party, that is the question this Chanukah. In the face of the measles outbreak that has recently spread from Williamsburg, Monsey, and Lakewood to Flatbush and Passaic, what can we do to keep our Queens families safe? Quarantining our Queens communities is the only way to keep the measles out of Queens.

Why do we care if the measles comes to Queens? Measles is one of the most contagious airborne diseases: 90 percent of susceptible people exposed to it will get it. Following exposure to someone with the virus, there is an incubation period of 10-12 days with few if any symptoms. (You may be contagious during this period, even without symptoms.) Then, patients experience low-grade fever, cold symptoms, inflammation of the eyes, a hacking and increasingly severe cough, and possibly “Koplik spots,” grayish white dots with surrounding redness opposite the lower molars. These spots are diagnostic of measles, but disappear within 12-18 hours. Finally, their temperature rises abruptly to 104-105° F, they appear desperately ill, and the rash begins, usually as red dots in the facial area, and becoming larger and joining as the rash spreads down the neck, arms, upper chest, and abdomen. Over three days, it finally reaches the feet, and begins to fade on the face. The rash fades downwards as the patient recovers, and there can be skin peeling during recovery. People are contagious from a week after exposure to two days after the rash has disappeared.

About 30 percent of people with measles have complications, ranging from ear infections, diarrhea, and pneumonia, to inflammation of the brain and blindness, even death. In 2014, there were 73,000 cases worldwide, and the death rate was up to ten percent, with most under five years of age. Even scarier is the fact that people who recover from measles can get progressive neurological deterioration, including memory loss and seizures, six to eight years after having the measles. This subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) leads patients to deteriorate to a persistent vegetative state and death within three years of developing symptoms. The risk of developing SSPE is about one in 2,000 cases of measles. (No one has ever gotten SSPE from the measles vaccine.)

Unfortunately, we do not have antibiotics to treat measles. And even if you had the recommended two doses of the measles vaccine, three out of 100 people are still not immune, and could catch the measles if exposed. I have two patients in my practice who received the recommended vaccines, but are not immune. In 1989, the last time we had a measles epidemic in Queens (brought to Queens over Yom Tov from a hotel in New Jersey), a four-year-old patient of mine who had received one shot was hospitalized for five days with the measles. The only guarantee of immunity is a blood test documenting immunity!

So, since patients with measles are contagious before they are sick, and even people who are fully vaccinated can be susceptible, I believe the only safe strategy this Chanukah is to keep Queens quarantined: Do not go out, and do not invite those from outside. To party or not to party? I’m staying home.

Rachelle H. Meth, MD, has a private practice in pediatric and adolescent medicine in Kew Gardens Hills.


  1. Dear Dr.Meth

    When you are writing it would be nice if you put things in perspective. I will tell you what I wrote to Rabbi Dr. Glatt in a reply to his letter on the same topic in 5TJT. ” When growing up I was always told by everyone participating in my rearing that half-truths and omission of some truths will result in outright lies. In an effort of prevention of this tuning in to outright lies, I would like to fill in some of the omitted truths on the topic one item at a time mentioned in the article”. I would like to be a fact checker for you as well to make sure you put things in perspective and avoid half-truths.

    1. Description of the symptoms – you were spot on in copying the symptoms from the mayo clinic web page – that is until you stated “their temperature rises abruptly to 104-105° F”. You omitted the word often before that statement which is on the Mayo clinic website. You made it sound like it will surely do so, but that is not the definition of the word often. You can find an online dictionary yourself to look it up.

    2. 10% death rate from measles worldwide – the key word is worldwide. Most of these children are malnourished, sick, and live in horrible sanitary conditions. Compare that to the fact that in 1963 (the last major pre-vaccine era outbreak) and the 10 years leading up to it in USA, there were approximately 3 to 4 million cases of measles a year. Out of those 400 to 500 did succumb to the disease but a far cry from the numbers you are citing by many orders of magnitude. To be exact it would be .01% instead of 10%. If you add to that the fact that only 3% of the vaccinated are not immune due to vaccine failure, that brings your chance of dying from measles if you are vaccinated to .0003%. To put it in perspective there were 40,100 automobile related fatalities in US in 2017, bringing it to a .012% chance of dying in a car crash, which is .002% higher then the chance of dying from measles in 1963 before vaccines. I am sure we can do better than that with today’s medical advances. OR will you suggest for everyone to stop driving ASAP? Get off the roads? It’s safer at home.

    3. SSPE – you sited chances of contracting this horrible condition that again are from third world countries, while minimizing the potential side affects of vaccines. Have you had a chance to browse through some of the cases in the VAERS database? if not please do so ( but make sure you narrow your search to be very specific – it can only return 10,000 results at a time. In case you have not told your patents what VAERS is – it is a Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting system. Which was set up as part of a 1986 legislation removing liabilities from the pharmaceutical companies, because they were loosing too much money in law suits. They threatened to get out of the vaccine business if the US Legislature did not protect them. This was the original too big to fail situation. The system that was set up, is that every time a vaccine is administered, an excise tax goes in to a special fund that will then distribute money to victims of vaccine injuries through an administrative process since dubbed as the “Vaccine Court”. Please go and see how many seizures are associated with vaccines a yearly bases, how many deaths, how many permanent disabilities.

    How that the record is set straight on some of your points let me ask you a question. Would you prescribe a medication to your patient that did not go through the proper randomized double blind placebo based study? Would you prescribe a medication to a patient without first describing all the potential side affects? I am sure the answer for both of those is no, because I am sure that you are an ethical person that loves and cares for her patients. Yet you have been duped by your education and the propaganda that “VACCINES ARE SAFE AND EFFECTIVE”. Please try to find the latest double blind randomized study on the MMR, DTaP, or most vaccines for that matter. And when you do find one like for Gardasil, the placebo in 90% of the study is the adjuvant which is the problem to begin with. Because of that they can show that both the placebo group and the vaccine group had a 2.3% occurrence of autoimmune conditions within 6 months of the trial. You tell me if that sounds right to you.

    Now the ingredients – have you told your FRUM patients that the vaccine contains lung fybroid cells from aborted babies? Maybe you told them that they contain African Green monkey kidney cells? Must be the toxins you informed them off, and the fact that you are told that when a vile of most of these vaccines breaks in your office you are obligated to call the hazmat team following evacuation.

    On the night of Chanukah lets open the eyes of our Neshamah, and let the light of the truth in. This is not how Hashem created your perfect babies to be always in need of medication from the second they are born. Betselem Elokim – remember! We are so fooled by this notion that we must trust our doctor blindly, and our doctors in the same way are just as fooled by the notion that they must trust the medical establishment blindly which is flawed by the mere fact that it has become money driven above all else. Because of this notion we do not see that medicine has become the Avoda Zara of today. We must uproot the Avoda Zara, and use the doctors in the right way – if you or your child are Chas ve Shalom seriously ill, go for a regular checkup make sure the numbers look fine, but to need medicine from the momen we are born is not what Hashem intended for us.

    Chanukah Sameach!!!