Monday, August 25, 2008

When Did Measles and Chicken Pox Go From Entertainment to Epidemic? (From

Vaccine_record_2"Most any child can have the mumps
Or even German measles
So here's a record of my health
From Chicken Pox to sneezles!"

Click on the photo to view it in full size. Use the "%" to scale it to fit your screen.

By Kim Stagliano

This poem is from the vaccine record sheet of a 30-something Age of Autism reader, as kept by her mother starting in 1969. Take a good look at this darling sheet of paper. Then read her mother's notations.

We're reading the media alerts on "measles epidemics" that loom because of non-vaccinating parents. Remember when these diseases were featured on sitcoms?

Arthur_chicken_poz_2 Leave it To Beaver: Beaver Gets the Chicken Pox

Friends: The One with the Chicken Pox


Arthur's Chicken Pox

The Brady Bunch: Is there a Doctor in the House?

Were kids dying of measles in America when Leave it to Beaver was airing? How about Arthur the Aardvark and his sister DW contracting Chicken Pox? Did PBS, the station that brought you Mr. Rogers and Elmo, mean to scare children with an episode about a deadly disease or simply explain to them that they too could manage the itch and discomfort of the Chicken Pox. Just last week, I heard a Frank Sinatra song called, "Ev'rything happens to me," where he sings, "I've had the measles and the mumps." When did measles and chicken pox go from entertainment fodder to epidemic fear? And who's behind it? Everything Happens to Me Lyrics

Why ramp up the fear level of childhood diseases right now? Is it for back to school doctor's visits, so as to increase uptake? The media is in a frenzy with dire epidemic warnings, much like the color coded terror alerts that popped up everytime the current administration needed a voter boost before the 2004 election. Using fear to sell a product is as old as Cleopatra's eyeliner (which was made from lead.) Let's not be blinded by the technique.

Kim Stagliano is Managing Editor of Age of Autism.


Lee said...

Ahhhh - you don't know anything. You're just a parent.

These days, the bugs are BIGGER. They're NASTIER. They have FANGS. And RETAINERS. And CLAWS. And they, like, grab onto your kid and tear 'em limb from limb, and rip their livers out and eat 'em.

It's all true.

So you'd better get your kids IMMUNISED (and all of these IMMUNISATIONS are 100% SAFE and EFFECTIVE), and keep the PROFITS of the DRUG COMPANIES nice and fat.

Or else...

Or else what, you ask?

Or else we'll set the medical fraternity on you. And these days, the medical fraternity are BIGGER. They're NASTIER. They have FANGS. And RETAINERS. And CLAWS. And they, like, grab onto your kid and tear 'em limb from limb, and rip their livers out and eat 'em...


Kim Rossi Stagliano said...

Well said. Indeed.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I'm not one to tell other parents what to do one way or the other but we had a nearby 5 year old die of measles this summer and in 1976 my brother died from Rubella. My husband, born in 1959 did get Mumps and Measles both and survived but with deafness in one ear and impaired vision in one eye. I was born in 1967, fully inoculated and got nothing. Playing down valid fears is also a technique of public control as old as Cleopatra's eyeliner (and let's not take health tips from a chick who did suicide by asp) and I don't think ANY disease is a laughing matter. That it was joked about in the past is nothing, Amos & Andy thought blackface was humourous in the past too. If there are valid points to be made then I think they can be done without mushy sentimentality about the ignorance and low tact humour of the 'good old days.' My father was born in the 1930s, my mom in the 1940s, my husband in the 1950s, me in the 1960s and my sister in the 1970s and none of us can remember a time when hearing of a case of measles, mumps, rubella or polio was a laughing matter for families nearby.

Lee said...

Hi Devaska,

Good points, all of them.

HOWEVER, let's also not play down the risks associated with so-called safe drugs.

I nearly died from a reaction to a prescribed drug three years ago - ended up incapacitated for weeks in bed, having seizures.

And children *do* die from reactions to vaccinations. At present in Australia at least the risks of vaccination from meningococcal are only slightly lower as as dying from the disease itself.

Then there's the issue of incredibly rare diseases. I'm epileptic, caused by viral encephalitis that nearly killed me when I was 19. That nasty is one of those one-in-several-million rarities you supposedly aren't supposed to get - but I did. So even the incredibly rare diseases can be killers. So should we vaccinate against them, if possible? And if so, where does it all end?

Finally, I want to point out that the only thing that has EVER killed any of my friends (5 of them, at last count) under the age of 25 is automobile accidents. If you want to protect your kids against the biggest killer of all - don't let them in or near a car. Plain and simple.

So any caring parent shouldn't even consider getting their kid into a car, with or without carseats or seatbelts.