THURSDAY, April 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) --The mother of a terminally ill child who was exposed to measles while in the hospital has harsh words for parents who don't get their children vaccinated.
Their negligence could shorten her son's already difficult struggle to stay alive, said Rayna Souza.
The California woman's comments came the same week that U.S. health officials reported the number of measles cases this year has already surpassed last year's total, at 387 cases in 15 states. Public health experts have repeatedly said that "anti-vaxxer" parents are fueling this surge in measles infections.
"People making irresponsible decisions for their family and their child need to really, really look and see how that could affect other people because I still could lose my son," she told Fox News.
Her 7-year-old son Jackson was diagnosed with a condition called tuberous sclerosis when he was 4 months old and has about 100 small tumors and a few large ones on his brain. He has been in and out of hospitals since he was an infant.
"It's terminal and he will succumb to his disease at some point," Souza told Fox News.
After Jackson began having seizures, Souza took him to UC Davis Medical Center on March 17. Days later, doctors told Souza that Jackson had been exposed to measles during his hospital stay.
Jackson had to be quarantined at the hospital for a number of days. Tuesday was his first day back home.
"When I found out I felt mortified. My son's already terminal," Souza said. "I don't have any area to risk any potential anything with him because I'm just, like, walking around him with a plastic bubble just trying to keep him here as long as I can."
She said doctors told her that Jackson's exposure to the measles was from another child whose parents had not vaccinated her; she had caught the disease while overseas.
"Jackson was in the room, the emergency department room, where this other patient was seen," UC Davis Health Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases Dr. Dean Blumberg told Fox News. "It was less than an hour separation between them. So, there was potentially still measles virus in the air."
Blumberg said he does not believe that Jackson has measles, but Souza says she saw all the symptoms of the disease in her son.