Measles is making a comeback:
[In 2008] There were 64 cases from January through April 25, more than in all of 2006 and the highest number during that four-month period since 2001. None have yet proved fatal, but officials said they expected the total to keep rising.
“We haven’t seen the end of this,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fourteen patients, or 22 percent, have been hospitalized, mostly for pneumonia.
If more parents stop vaccinating their children, here's a preview (postview) of what things might look like:
Before 1963, when the vaccine became available in this country, there were three million to four million cases of measles annually. The disease killed 400 to 500 children a year and put 48,000 in the hospital.
The vaccine wiped out transmission here by 2000, but the disease can easily be imported because there are so many cases overseas. Worldwide, measles still kills 242,000 children a year.
Pertussis is now killing, as best we can determine, something like a dozen infants a year. Polio is still not gone from the world, and seems to be making something of a comeback this year. The list goes on--American parents who have never seen an epidemic, because their parents vaccinated them, are putting everyone's children, and not a few adults, at risk.
I assume this is self limiting--if anti-vaccination goes far enough, a bunch of unvaccinated kids will die, and then their parents will be more scared of the disease than the vaccine. But it would be really nice if we could convince them in some other way than leaving them with a bunch of dead kids.
And it would really help if our politicians would take the first step by not encouraging their beliefs.