A measles vaccination has many pros and few cons. The main advantage is that a measles vaccination protects against the disease. The vaccines currently available also protect against other common childhood diseases. The only con is that mild symptoms of measles appear in a small percentage of vaccine recipients. This or other vaccines for childhood diseases do not cause autism.
A measles vaccination gives lifetime immunity from the disease and its complications. Measles is a virus that attacks the respiratory system. Classic symptoms are a high fever, coughing and rash. Highly contagious, symptoms persist for ten days. Though the chances of dying from measles are less than 1%, complications such as bronchitis and/or pneumonia occur in 10% of patients.
Another advantage of a measles vaccination is that the vaccination also protects against mumps and rubella (MMR vaccination) or mumps, rubella and varicella (MMRV vaccination). These other diseases, though not usually fatal, can have serious complications. For example, if a man catches mumps after puberty, there is a chance that sterility can occur. Varicella, also known as chicken pox, can leave permanent physical scarring in the form of pox marks. Preventing these complications is reason enough to have one or one's children vaccinated against measles and other childhood diseases.
The only con of a measles vaccination is that in a small group of people, less than 15% of vaccine recipients, mild symptoms of the disease develop due to vaccine. This occurs because the vaccine uses a weakened, but alive virus to prompt an immune response. Those who suffer from side effects rebound quickly. The chances of complications are much lower than those if one had caught the disease. People with immune diseases such as AIDS should not take the vaccine, as the chances of developing symptoms are much higher for them than the general population.
Despite the public debate and anti-vaccination campaigns of the last few decades, there is no scientific evidence to support that vaccinations for childhood diseases cause autism. The research that anti-vaccination groups use is faulty and has been discredited countless times in the medical community. Real research over the past decade has shown that the disorder is due to genetic variations present at conception. Parents who believe they are protecting their children against autism are in fact making them vulnerable to diseases and complications. As a result, cases of measles, mumps, and rubella are once again on the rise in the United States and elsewhere.