Most parents of school-age kids are way too young to recall how prevalent measles was in its heyday. A very serious, highly contagious respiratory disease that affects the lungs and respiratory tract, measles affected 3 to 4 million people in the United States each year before vaccination began in 1963. Back then, measles — which can be passed on through a cough or sneeze — put 48,000 people in the hospital and killed 500 people annually.
routinely given to children for the past 55 years, it’s easy to assume that measles
has been totally wiped out. Unfortunately, as more children in school show up without being vaccinated, measles
outbreaks have popped up more frequently. Just this year, more than 100 cases
have been confirmed in 21 states — especially in Washington and Oregon – with
most cases diagnosed in children who have not had the routine MMR (measles,
mumps and rubella) vaccine.
Does this situation sound familiar?
“You have a doctor appointment for a check-up today after school.”
“Am I going to get a shot? I hate shots. I don’t think I want to go to the doctor today.”
Before the age of 2 years old, the CDC recommends children receive 24 immunizations. While this sounds like a lot of shots, and it is, immunizations are one of the Public Health initiatives that have resulted prevention of the most deaths and disability early in life.
I just received a notification that a case of mumps has been confirmed in Wisconsin, which is always a good time to review some of these diseases that we rarely think about (a blog from last year had talked about the measles outbreak). Although this one case does not signify an outbreak, mumps does have the occasional outbreak (earlier this year in Milwaukee, a couple of years ago in Madison, a large one at Ohio State a few years ago).
Maybe you’ve been hearing about the new ‘MenB’ vaccines – these are vaccines targeted against certain types of bacteria that can cause meningitis. The recommendations for this new vaccine can be a little confusing, so here’s a primer on what the MenB vaccines protect against, who should be getting them, and how to talk to your provider to make a decision about whether or not you or your teenager should get the MenB vaccine.
Over the past couple of weeks, the internet has been abuzz about the HPV vaccine. A story published by the Toronto Star claimed to investigate the “dark side” of the HPV vaccine with individual accounts of symptoms that people had after receiving the vaccine, but did not discuss the larger studies that had been conducted that debunked these claims. After the Star received a slew of responses (like this one) that pointed out the poor scientific reporting, the article was taken down from the site and an article pointing out these faulty methods was posted.