Many of the diseases that historically decimated human populations are no longer a danger thanks to the wonders of modern medicine. The hard work of researchers, doctors, and scientists has resulted in human beings being able to use vaccines to live longer, healthier lives.
However, due to misinformation from the anti-vaccination movement, some are choosing to not vaccinate. The movement stems from disgraced British ex-doctor Andrew Wakefield, who wrote a paper alleging that vaccines cause autism. It was later discovered his work was forged. The British Medical Journal described his research as "an elaborate fraud." Despite this, some are still choosing to avoid vaccination. Here are some defunct diseases that could see a comeback due to their ignorance.
Thanks to the spread of misinformation, measles is making a comeback. According to UNICEF, Anti-vaxxers are to blame for a 300% rise in measles outbreaks worldwide.
“Measles is far too contagious,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, in a press release. “It is critical not only to increase coverage but also to sustain vaccination rates at the right doses to create an umbrella of immunity for everyone.”
While eliminated from the United States in 2000, there were at least 695 cases in America last year.
The measles vaccine is 99% effective and has no side effects. Those who contract measles will suffer a rash, fever, and possibly pneumonia and death due to severe dehydration.
Suspicion of modern medicine has lead to a widespread anti-vaccination movement in Pakistan. Driven by the same fears spreading measles in the United States, over 2,000,000 households in Pakistan have refused to vaccinate their children.
While polio is almost entirely wiped out, Pakistan was one of the last few countries where it was still a danger. Health officials stated they had almost eradicated it from the country entirely, then misinformation caused mass refusals of immunizations and widespread cases of polio.
Polio is a debilitating and sneaky disease. Most infected people will not have visible symptoms, with the virus living in an infected person’s throat and intestines. As it spreads between people through contact, it leaves serious effects. It can lead to meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord, as well as paralysis. Between 2% and 10% of those who become paralyzed from polio will die as the muscles they use to breathe fail.
The vaccine is highly effective, and 99% of children who are vaccinated will be protected from polio.
Pertussis (Whooping Cough)
Before the invention of the pertussis vaccine, thousands of American children died annually, with numbers of cases sometimes over 200,000. Once the vaccine was widely administered in the mid-1940s, it was incredibly effective in reducing the rate of diagnoses. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, rates of cases fell to one or two thousand.
Despite this contagious respiratory disease’s severe danger to babies, some are still choosing not to vaccinate. Pertussis leads to major coughing and severe breathing problems that can be fatal to children under a year.
While those with the MMR vaccine are protected against mumps, the disease is common in countries that don’t provide it. Japan and the UK, both of which don’t routinely vaccinate for mumps, have had large outbreaks of mumps.
Mumps spreads quickly from person to person. Tiny droplets are spread whenever an infected person coughs, talks, or sneezes.