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Immunity, traffic, anniversary

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Got a call from the doctor this afternoon: turns out I am in fact immune to measles. So I must have been measled as a kid after all. I'm relieved--but also sad that I wasted so much energy on dealing with this (and missed so many hugs at the wedding).

In entirely unrelated news, my journal is now linked from the sidebar of the Official Google Blog, at my request. I could've requested that about a year ago, but at that time I was posting a bunch of difficult personal stuff and was feeling a little twitchy about the likely traffic increase. And then every time I was about to make the request, something else would come up, or I would remember that I wanted to improve the interface for the archives links in my own sidebar.

But I finally changed the archive links (you can now pick a month and year from pop-up menus, which is much more compact than the previous long list of all available months) (but I still need to find a better approach for displaying the links to the category archives), and since I'm posting a lot this month anyway, I figured it was a good time to request the link. Thanks to K. for implementing it. I'm still a little twitchy about the likely traffic increase, but (a) I can ask that the link be removed at any time, and (b) it's been a long time since this journal was low-profile anyway.

(One of the many many entries I've been planning for months without actually writing is about a game/diversion I came up with: find a search term or phrase that results in an entry from your blog or page from your website appearing in the top five search results. I keep being surprised at the variety of searches that turn up pages from my site.)

(Oh, hey--while I'm talking about links to me, I should mention that several of you have blogrolls that are still linking to my old journal URL, which is now about a year out of date. That URL redirects to my current journal, so it's not that big a deal, but it would nonetheless be cool if at some point you could update to point to the "new" URL: http://www.kith.org/journals/jed/)

. . . Another reason for the specific timing of my request is that today was the second anniversary of my starting my current job. Hard to believe I've been there for two years.

7 Comments

Just an itty bitty comment: I believe the measles vaccine actually makes you "immune", so you may have had the vaccine for measles as a child, without contracting measles, and still be immune by the medical community's definition. When I started library school, I had to do the usual medical paperwork. My doctor tested me and found me "immune" and said that was from the vaccine, as I'd never had measles.

(Or perhaps when you say you were "measled" you meant you got that vaccine? I interpreted it as meaning you must have had measles.)


One of my friends just developed spots and a cold, so I went looking at measles fact sheets. Apparently, some people who were immunized prior to 1968 may not be covered any more because the lots of vaccine weren't consistent (I assume you just had your titer checked by your doc, so that's not something you'd worry about). I stared at the 1968 date for a long time, wondering, "Does this mean that if I was immunized IN 1968, I'm okay?" and have decided that I'm just not going to worry.

Considering that I got chicken pox from the vaccine two years ago, I don't really relish the idea of getting re-immunized for pretty much anything. So congrats on being immune!


Just to get all semi-experty on this...

Immune means you have antibodies in sufficient quantity to fend off exposure to the virus. You can get the antibodies three ways: immunization, having the disease, or have repeated exposure without actually getting enough of a dose to get really sick (what's called a "sub-clinical infection"). In Jed's case, he said he thought he'd had the disease as a child, but there are also people with neither history of disease nor immunization who still are immune, though it's rare.

As for the pre-1968 vaccine, I know just bits about this. Apparently, immigration has resulted in a shift in the measles gene pool in the US, such that the vaccine given then didn't necessarily cover the most common strain of the virus around today. It used to be you'd just need re-vaccination if you were traveling to an area with the other strain, but now we're way too global for that. Then there's the fact that not everyone followed through with a second shot (which is not a cumulative thing -- it's because about 90% seroconvert (get immune) after the first, and most of the rest after the second, which can be given pretty soon after the first. No idea why the schedule when I was a kid was to have #2 for 7th grade, leaving 10% susceptible through elementary school, for no good reason).

Oh, and getting the disease from the immunization is pretty rare with measles, rather more common with Chicken Pox. They say you get a milder case anyway, but I still think the Chicken Pox vaccine is a stupid thing that should never have been made mandatory. Measles vaccine is good, though.


Amy: Sorry, I was unclear. To clarify: I'm almost certain I didn't have the vaccine as a kid (see comments on my previous measles entry); I'm now immune; I vaguely think I remember having had measles as a kid; thus, although it's not certain, it's quite likely that I did in fact have measles as a kid.

Calyx: Yeah, I went in on Monday and had the titer done, so the doctor was calling me to tell me the results. So if you're worried or uncertain about the 1968 thing, you can just have the test and find out for sure whether you're immune.

Bhadrika: Thanks for the info!

Bhadrika and Calyx re chicken pox vaccine: I never had chicken pox as a kid, and I gather it can be pretty bad in adults, so I got the vaccine for that a couple years ago. :( on getting chicken pox from the vaccine; no fun.

(I figure at this point I should also mention that there's the whole debate about whether the MMR vaccine increases the likelihood of autism in kids. The CDC's FAQs about MMR Vaccine & Autism gives a lot of info on this, and says: "Current scientific evidence does not support the hypothesis that measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine [...] causes the development of autism." And: "Epidemiologic studies have shown no relationship between MMR vaccination in children and development of autism.")


Jed: Me too! The docs harassed me for several years to get the varicella vaccine. I never managed to work it in until my pre-marriage physical (they said they wouldn't sign my marriage cert until I came in for a physical because it had been too long... sigh), and they had it on hand. Precisely 21 days after (3 days after my wedding, yay): fever, followed by itchy bumps. I had to convince them I had chicken pox. They had to check with their infectious disease people about it before they believed me. It was milder than the full-blown version, but I still wrote a (mock) note of complaint to a friend of mine who'd been one of the lab techs working on the vaccine back in the 80s.

I remember having the MMR. I apparently had a mild reaction to the first dose (though my mother doesn't recall what it was now), because the doc delayed giving me the second dose until I was... nearly 10, I think? I wonder if that was a callback to the other dosing regimen you recall, Bhadrika.

Measles vaccine good. Polio vaccine good too! (Nearly knocked myself unconscious by facepalm when I saw, a year or so ago, that some US kid who'd never got the polio vaccine went off to furrin' parts and *gasp* developed polio.)


Calyx: :( Especially about the timing. Though at least it wasn't three days before your wedding. ...I had no idea marriage certificates required a physical. Fascinating.


...Unrelatedly: In this entry, I wrote: it’s been a long time since this journal was low-profile anyway. In retrospect, I think that sounds more arrogant than I meant it to. My journal is obviously not high-profile in the sense of the A-list political bloggers (like Kos or Instapundit), nor in the sense of the high-profile tech bloggers (like BoingBoing or Scoble), nor in the sense of the high-profile sf-related bloggers (like Neil Gaiman or Scalzi or Making Light). All I meant was that my journal is no longer a quiet little personal blog that nobody but my friends is likely to read (if, indeed, it ever was that); and therefore, increased attention via the Google Blog probably won't change what I am and am not likely to post here.

At some point, I want to write more about this general topic; in particular, about the sense that I have to be careful what I mention here and what I link to, because unless I'm writing about something that's really popular, it's reasonably likely that whatever I write will end up somewhere high in the search results for searches about that topic. Especially if I refer to a non-famous person by full name.

But more on that anon, perhaps.


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