Real Wealth Society

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I’ve been thinking about inoculations By Fred Cederholm

Column for on/after Apr 16th

I’ve been thinking about inoculations. Actually I’ve been thinking about mobility, vaccines, the 1950’s, kindergarten and 7th grade, socializing, and Iowa. Diseases and their spread have been taking up an increasing share of the news and global media coverage. This past weekend, we saw the second installment of a made-for-TV movie event on a bio-infectious “occurrence” and the action-packed efforts to contain/neutralize it. What gives?

You see, we are now (more-than-ever) part of a unitary planet community. Outbreaks of any disease/malady can be transmitted worldwide in a matter of days – certainly in a matter of weeks. The goods we buy come from every corner of the planet. People can travel virtually non-stop from nations/regions anywhere to destinations everywhere on Earth. Such linkages, while convenient and a part of progress, also bring increased vulnerabilities. Do we realize “all” the implications, and are we prepared to handle the inevitable negative repercussions?

2006 marks the two-hundred-and tenth anniversary of Edward Jenner’s first vaccination. Smallpox was the scourge of the Eighteenth Century. When the English country doctor learned how milkmaids (who had developed lesions on their hands from milking cows infected with the less-severe bovine version of the disease) were immune from smallpox, the science of immunology was born. By deliberate exposure to less virulent strains of certain diseases thru “vaccination,” people developed antibodies to the ailment and their immune systems became far more likely to fight full-blown bouts of the disease. Inoculations may make you sick for a time, but the discomforts experienced are far less than the disease itself.

As a child of the 1950’s, there were far fewer inoculations available to my generation. We dealt with the myriad of childhood diseases the old-fashioned way; we got sick - and “hopefully” recovered for the most part unscathed. That was one of the primary functions of kindergarten – to get the kids exposed and get those rights-of-passage illnesses behind them.
I was kind of the exception to that rule because I deferred getting measles, mumps and chicken pox until seventh grade. While we had smallpox, the trifecta of typhoid/tetanus/diphtheria, and the three separate Sauk Polio shots (which were later supplemented by the Sabin Oral Vaccine on the sugar cube), there were not many other preventative options open to our parents for us.

Humans are very social beings. We all spend a great deal of time each day in contact with family, friends, neighbors, and total strangers. Each of those contacts expose us to God only knows what, and that is a fact of life. Last Saturday, my little home town of Creston staged an Easter Parade down Main Street and held an egg hunt for the kids at Booster Park. There were well over two-hundred people - counting the adults and little folks - and everybody had a great time. These, and the other Easter observances, were wonderful opportunities for fellowship, but… they also presented the chance for other more negative possibilities. Not to worry, everybody I know is fine and I am not trying to incite paranoia about human interaction.

In the past week and a part, the State of Iowa has been in the news because of an “epidemic” outbreak of mumps. In a normal year, there “might” upwards to five isolated cases statewide. There have been hundreds of cases of mumps in this go around; the contagious legacy of Iowa’s patient zero has already spread to eight other neighboring states. In less than a week, documented cases have spread across the Mississippi via the Quad Cities to Illinois -reaching Galena, Freeport and now Rockford. The mumps vaccine in use for over twenty years had been considered 95% plus effective in preventing the disease.

This outbreak of mumps has raised a number of anomalies. An unforeseen number of current sufferers had been vaccinated anywhere from five to seven or ten plus years earlier. Those of us who had endured an actual case of the disease appear exempt from the current outbreak. Does this mean we need to re-TH*NK the lifetime effectiveness of one inoculation? Are follow-up immunizations for mumps required to re-charge the effectiveness? If so, what about all the others? I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.

Copyright 2006 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.

To “audit” column and learn more about the subjects discussed, please check out:
Edward Jenner and the Discovery of Vaccination

Edward Jenner and Smallpox

Development of Polio Vaccines
Injected polio vaccine winning support


Measles Virus Pathogenesis Clinical Feature

“Old” Diseases Still Threaten

Mumps Outbreak Baffles Officials

(And this from TURKEY!!!) US Facings Largest Mumps Outbreak in 20 Years


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