Whenever your children – or adolescents or young adults – together, there is an opportunity for some of the most contagious childhood illnesses to benefit from those who are sensitive. This was true in the First World War, where the life of the ship and the transport of the military masters contributed to the massive spread of the 1918 flu, which, unlike most influenza strains, was more deadly for healthy young people than the elderly .
Many colleges require a specific list of immunizations before the students move to dormitories, including the meningococcal vaccine to prevent bacterial meningitis. But measles-mumps-rubella vaccine is always at the top of the list. This is because measles is so contagious that if the immunity of the herd – when a high proportion of the population is protected from immunization – falls even a few percentage points, the measles virus can benefit fully.
"The first things you see, the cracks in your public health system," said Dr. Ratner, will be infections like this, "measles, infectious via the respiratory tract, and good movement from sensitive people to sensitive people."
When my daughter went to college, one looked closely at the immunization records, always admitting to her school and discovered that her first MMR had been given two months before her first birthday and therefore not. she had to go get another dose before she got her home in her bedroom.
I had asked for this premature MMR because we were going to go and travel to a country where there was still the risk of exposure to measles (no, not Brooklyn). You can give MMR at the earliest 6 months if a child is at increased risk of measles exposure and provides some protection, but you must repeat the shot after the child turns 1. I forgot to do it and no one has ever noticed. As a child's pediatrician with the incomplete vaccine record, I was a little awkward but impressed for the most part.
Dr. Stimson observed that those soldiers of the World War I who had grown up in more isolated, usually rural circumstances, were less likely to be immune to childhood illnesses and "when thousands of these rural young men are initially gathered together with camps , contagious diseases are likely to be very common, "he said.This was also noted in the American civil war when measles was a particularly catastrophic disease and the recruits coming from the farm were special currently vulnerable.
The young men of 1918 were in terrible danger (Dr Stimson himself was injured in action in Flanders, serving with the British troops) but was also at risk because they were exposed to the viruses and bacteria of the other.