The newsLINK Group - Losing Herd Immunity

Editorial Library Category: Medical | Pediatrics for Members Topics: Herd Immunity Title: Losing Herd Immunity Author: newsLINK Staff Synopsis: Immunizations have been controversial for several years now. Diseases that were dreaded by previous generations are almost forgotten, along with the horrific results of those diseases. Editorial: Losing Herd Immunity 4064 South Highland Drive, Millcreek, Utah 84124 │ │ (v) 801.676.9722 │ (tf) 855.747.4003 │ (f) 801.742.5803 Editorial Library | © The newsLINK Group LLC 1 Immunizations have been controversial for several years now. Diseases that were dreaded by previous generations are almost forgotten, along with the horrific results of those diseases. In particular, immunizations protect everyone from 14 serious diseases that physicians used to deal with regularly but now (with the exception of the flu) do not: Diptheria: One out of ten people with diphtheria usually die. Through the 1920s, approximately 150,000 were diagnosed with it and 15,000 died. Hepatitis A: Very young children (less than six years of age) may not show any symptoms. Approximately 100 people still die every year as a result of liver failure caused by hepatitis A. Hepatitis B: Some 3,000 to 5,000 people still die every year from this disease. Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib): This disease used to be the main cause of bacterial meningitis for children under the age of five. Of those who developed meningitis, four suffered permanent brain damage and one in 20 died. Influenza (flu): Young children, and especially babies in their first year, often have to be hospitalized if they catch it. In general, flu is most likely to kill the old or the young, although there are notable exceptions to that rule such as the 1918 flu pandemic, which was deadlier than AIDS or the Black Death. Measles: Approximately one person in a thousand with measles will die. It still kills half a million people globally every year. Almost all children caught it before immunizations because it is extremely contagious. Secondary diseases are ear infection (one in ten), pneumonia (one in 20), and encephalitis (one in 1,000). Mumps: Although it is usually mild, the secondary diseases are not: meningitis (one in ten) and deafness or encephalitis (one in 20,000). Mumps kills one in 10,000 who have it. Pertussis (whooping cough): This disease can lead to pneumonia, seizures, and encephalopathy (that is, brain infection). It can also kill. Pneumococcal disease: This disease disproportionately affects African Americans, some Native Americans, children with HIV infection or sickle cell disease, and children whose spleen is not working. It has become the most common cause of bacterial meningitis for children who are under the age of five, replacing Hib. It can cause ear infections, blood infections, and death. Polio: About 20,000 were paralyzed every year until Jonas Salk announced the vaccine on March 26, 1953. Rotavirus: It used to be a major cause of visits to the emergency, hospitalizations, and deaths caused by dehydration. Rubella (German measles): Despite being (usually) a mild disease, pregnant women with rubella have an 80 percent chance of developing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS). Damage to the heart or brain, deafness, blindness, and mental impairment can result. Rubella can also cause miscarriages. A major rubella epidemic in the U.S. that took place in 1964 and 1965 infected 12.5 million people. In turn, the rubella caused 20,000 cases of CRS. Tetanus (lockjaw): This disease can cause a child to spend weeks under intensive care. If ten children have tetanus, one or two of them will probably die. Varicella (chickenpox): It used to be that four million children caught chickenpox every year. The problem is with its effect on babies. For those under a year, a small number will die (four in 100,000); for those who are infected during childbirth, a third will die if not treated promptly. Many people have become frightened of immunizations because they are convinced that immunizations have sometimes done more harm than good. Autism rates were higher in Utah than anywhere else in the U.S. in 2012, so looking for a possible culprit is understandable. Celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy — beautiful, charismatic, and absolutely convinced vaccines are unsafe — have found a willing audience here. As a result, too many parents have decided that the culprit is immunization.