The wife of a top White House aide is taking flak for a series of anti-vaccination—and pro-measles—posts on social media. Darla Shine, wife of White House communications chief Bill Shine, started tweeting in response to a CNN segment on the measles outbreak in Washington and Oregon, calling it "#Fake #Hysteria," the Guardian reports. "The entire Baby Boom population alive today had the #Measles as kids," she tweeted. "Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases they keep you healthy & fight cancer." In later tweets, Shine called her critics "trolls" and "Democratic Russian bots," reports the Daily Beast. She lamented that her children had received the MMR vaccine and would never have her "life long natural immunity." She added: "Come breathe on me!"
Shine also claimed that measles could cure cancer, pointing to a 2014 study in which a measles virus was used to build a genetically engineered virus to attack cancer cells. The researchers in that study, however, said they had chosen to use the measles virus mainly because the high vaccination rate meant there was little risk of it spreading. Critics slammed Shine as a "health hazard" who was spreading dangerous conspiracy theories. People notes that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is true that before the measles vaccine became available in 1963, almost all children had measles before they were 15—but there were at least 400 to 500 deaths from the virus every year. (This "nonvaxxer" nurse was fired after a Facebook post about a patient.)