Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted

Speaking of measles outbreaks caused by damn fools who refuse to vaccinate their children, in 2015 NPR did an explainer about how the measles vax appears to cause huge drops in other infectious diseases too.

Back in the 1960s, the U.S. started vaccinating kids for measles. As expected, children stopped getting measles.

But something else happened.

Childhood deaths from all infectious diseases plummeted. Even deaths from diseases like pneumonia and diarrhea were cut by half.

Scientists saw the same phenomenon when the vaccine came to England and parts of Europe. And they see it today when developing countries introduce the vaccine.

“In some developing countries, where infectious diseases are very high, the reduction in mortality has been up to 80 percent,” says Michael Mina, a postdoc in biology at Princeton University and a medical student at Emory University.

“So it’s really been a mystery — why do children stop dying at such high rates from all these different infections following introduction of the measles vaccine,” he says.

Mina and his colleagues think they now might have an explanation. And they published their evidence Thursday in the journal Science.

The gist is that measles appears to wipe out existing immunities to other diseases for three or four years. It’s interesting; read on.

It’s also another reason to get the god damn vaccine.

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