Polio New York – 1916

image

New York City Polio Epidemic

Health officials announced a polio epidemic centered in Brooklyn, New York. As was typical with polio outbreaks, infections surfaced in the summer months.

More than 2000 people would die in New York City alone. Across the United States in 1916, polio took the lives of about 6,000 people, leaving thousands more paralyzed.

Summer epidemics would come to be common in this era and would lead to widespread closures of pools, amusements parks, and other places where children gathered.

Reason versus Right! – No More Personal Exemption!

imageWhat  about a school’s legal responsibility to its students?

Dorit Reiss, professor at Hastings School of Law, has written extensively about the potential legal ramification of not vaccinating a child and giving parents of an infected child the right to sue. But Reiss believes a court might have trouble finding a school negligent for allowing unvaccinated children to attend, absent an outbreak. However, she clarified, during a health threat, such as the current measles one, schools do have the authority to bar unvaccinated students. And they could, she said, potentially be held legally accountable, by a parent or a teacher, for not protecting their community.

How Schools Are Dealing With Anti-Vaccine Parents

The Anti-Vaccination Epidemic

Garth Williams. The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse, 1954. Garth Williams. The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse, 1954.

Almost 8,000 cases of pertussis, better known as whooping cough, have been reported to California's Public Health Department so far this year. More than 250 patients have been hospitalized, nearly all of them infants and young children, and 58 have required intensive care. Why is this preventable respiratory infection making a comeback.

In the 1990s, when new vaccines were introduced, the news media were obsessed with the notion that vaccines might be doing more harm than good. The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine might cause autism, we were told. Thimerosal, an ethyl-mercury containing preservative in some vaccines, might cause developmental delays. Too many vaccines given too soon, the stories went, might overwhelm a child’s immune system.

Then those stories disappeared. One reason was that study after study showed that these concerns were ill-founded. Another was that the famous 1998 report claiming to show a link between vaccinations and autism was retracted by The Lancet, the medical journal that had published it. The study was not only spectacularly wrong, as more than a dozen studies have shown, but also fraudulent. The author, British surgeon Andrew Wakefield, has since been stripped of his medical license.

But the damage was done. Countless parents became afraid of vaccines. As a consequence, many parents now choose to delay, withhold, separate or space out vaccines. Some don’t vaccinate their children at all. A 2006 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that between 1991 and 2004, the percentage of children whose parents had chosen to opt out of vaccines increased by 6% a year, resulting in a more than twofold increase.

Whooping cough, mumps and measles are making an alarming comeback, thanks to seriously misguided parents.

Tetanus – Keep Your Child Safe

School youngsters, Red House, West Virginia. Ca. October, 1935

School youngsters, Red House, West Virginia. Ca. October, 1935

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria. When the bacteria invade the body, they produce a toxin, or poison, that causes your muscles to tighten and cramp painfully. Tetanus infection mainly affects the neck, chest, and stomach. Tetanus is also called “lockjaw” because it often causes a person’s neck and jaw muscles to lock, making it hard to open the mouth or swallow. It can also cause breathing problems, severe muscle spasms, and seizures. The muscle spasms can be strong enough to break your bones, and you might have to spend several weeks in the hospital under intensive care. Complete recovery can take months. If left untreated, tetanus can be deadly.

How is Tetanus Spread?

Tetanus is different from other vaccine-preventable diseases in that it does not spread from person to person. Instead, the bacteria are usually found in soil, dust and manure, and enter the body through breaks in the skin — usually cuts or puncture wounds.

Tetanus: Make Sure Your Family Is Fully Immunized

The extreme rarity of tetanus cases among individuals immunized up to 10 years prior to infection suggests an efficacy rate of nearly 100% for tetanus toxoid. Immunity levels do decrease with time, however, so that boosters against tetanus are recommended every 10 years in order to maintain protection against the disease.

A tetanus booster is recommended for individuals who sustain any wound that is not clean and minor, if more than five years have passed since their last dose of tetanus toxoid.