The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Childhood diseases

I just read that India is finally eliminating poliomyelitis
. It has been a year since a new case was diagnosed. If there are no new cases for the next two years, India could be certified as "polio free." There are only three other countries which are not yet polio free: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.

When I was young and living in Farmingdale, NY, polio was much on the mind. I knew a couple of kids who had polio. One little girl, about my age (6 or 7), rode the same school bus I did (when I rode it...). She had the metal and leather braces and the crutches and struggled to get on the bus (and off, too, I suppose.. her stop was after mine). I remember her being pretty, red-headed, friendly and upbeat. The other kid I knew of more than knew. He was homebound and was in an iron lung. He was not alone. Many of those who contracted polio needed an iron lung to survive, to breathe.

But Jonas Salk developed a polio vaccine and that was the beginning of the end of the threat in the United States and most of the world. That vaccine was in the form of a shot using dead polio virus. Later, Albert Sabin developed an oral vaccine using an attenuated (weakened but live) virus. I didn't get that oral vaccination until I enlisted in the Navy but I got the Salk vaccine in 4th grade.

By the time my son was born in 1970, there were vaccines for most childhood diseases. I had to get through them on my own. Measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever were just things you had to endure (or survive). And even though my son was vaccinated against measles, he still got them.

We take these vaccines today for granted. And we don't think about the virulence of the diseases they prevent. So now we have people who don't want to get their children vaccinated. They fear side effects that are both possible and proven not possible. If they saw the ravages of these diseases, as I and my parents did, they would not hesitate to have their children vaccinated. At least, I hope they wouldn't.

1 comment:

The Jules said...

Very well put Douglas.

Of course, ironically, the people who are against vaccinating their kids are relying on the herd immunity of the rest of vaccinated modern society  to protect their own children.

Daft buggers.