Remembering Nadja, another precious child lost to measles
Jul 11, 2018
By Erica DeWald
Europe has been in the midst of a measles outbreak since 2016 which, so far, has resulted in 48 deaths. Unfortunately, many people are at risk, including children who are not yet old enough to receive the vaccine and those with compromised immune systems.
One mother in Serbia has chosen to share the story of losing her young daughter, Nadja, in the hopes that it will encourage other parents to vaccinate their children against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases.
Nadja was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition when she was a year old. Her hypoparathyroidism, due to hypoglycaemia and hypocalcaemia, meant she could not keep her calcium levels high enough through simple oral therapy. She needed regular IV injections at her local hospital. The condition also made it harder for Nadja to fight infections and placed her among the high-risk group of people who cannot be vaccinated. She instead relied on those around her to protect her from vaccine-preventable diseases.
In January of this year, Nadja was admitted to the hospital but there was no room in the isolation unit. She ended up sharing a room for three days with another little boy. Her mother, Dragana, later learned the boy had been diagnosed with measles. Dragana recounted,
“At the moment, my world collapsed, I knew that she would get it, but again in the depths of the soul I hoped she will not.”
Three days later, measles caused Nadja to develop a high fever and she fell into a coma from which she never awoke. Despite multiple attempts and two resuscitations over the course of three months to stabilize Nadja, she died on April 4 from heart failure.
Measles is not just a threat in Europe. Here in the United States we are seeing increasing outbreaks of the disease. In the past week health officials have reported confirmed or suspected cases in Oregon and Washington as well as New Jersey. Since 2014, over 1,000 cases of measles have occurred in the U.S. placing communities at serious risk. That’s because it’s one of the most easily spread viruses we know of, and as many as 1 out of every 20 children with measles will get pneumonia, and about 1 child in every 1,000 who get measles will develop encephalitis. As a result, the disease still kills hundreds of thousands of children each year around the world.
Dragana has begun a Facebook page to remember her daughter and to warn others of the deadly consequences of measles. Please take a moment to follow her page and share it with your friends and families in remembrance of Nadja.
Have questions about the dangers of measles or what you can do to stop the spread of outbreaks?
- Read the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s measles vaccination recommendations,
- Check out our previous blog posts on measles,
- Ask us your questions in the comments section.
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