Weren’t measles and chicken pox once a rite of passage for kids?
Yes, in the pre-vaccine era, almost all kids got measles, chicken pox, and other now vaccine-preventable diseases in early childhood.
It was considered a rite of passage.
But these diseases were never benign.
They were considered a rite of passage only because we all had to endure them. They weren’t something anyone looked forward to.
After all, you don’t typically die from a benign disease.
Have Normal Childhood Diseases Become More Deadly?
But what about the idea that folks never used to worry about these diseases, at least not until vaccines were developed? Or that we only fear diseases that are vaccine-preventable?
That’s one of the more ridiculous arguments anti-vaccine folks make.
And also one of the easiest to refute.
These diseases that are now vaccine-preventable routinely made headlines in the pre-vaccine era.
So no, childhood diseases have not become deadlier.
They have always been serious and life-threatening!
Of course, not everyone died who got them, but they were rarely a walk in the park. Remember, even a mild case of measles includes a high fever for 4 to 7 days. That’s why folks often end up seeking medical attention multiple times, even if they don’t end up having any complications and don’t need to get admitted to the hospital
But what about the Brady Bunch measles episode, Is There a Doctor in the House? Is that really why you think vaccine-preventable diseases are mild?
In 1969, when that episode first aired, there were 25,826 reported cases and 41 deaths from measles in the United States.
Why don’t we see that many deaths now?
Believe it or not, we still don’t have cures for measles, chicken pox, congenital rubella syndrome, and hepatitis B, etc. So while these diseases haven’t become any more deadly, they haven’t become any less deadly either, even with all of the advances of modern medicine.
More on Childhood Diseases as a Rite of Passage
- VAXOPEDIA – Are Flu Deaths Exaggerated?
- VAXOPEDIA – Did Better Hygiene and Sanitation Get Rid of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases?
- VAXOPEDIA – Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated – Smallpox Edition
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Dies with Measles?
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Dies from Chicken Pox?
- VAXOPEDIA – Who Dies from the Flu?
- VAXOPEDIA – When Was the Last Time Someone Died from Being Bitten by a Rabid Dog in the United States?
- VAXOPEDIA – The Myth That Measles Isn’t Deadly
- VAXOPEDIA – Grave Reminders of Life Before Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Four Generations of Vaccines and Vaccine Preventable Diseases
- VAXOPEDIA – Vaccine Timeline and History of Vaccines
- VAXOPEDIA – Personal Stories About Vaccine-Preventable Diseases
- VAXOPEDIA – Polio Survivor Stories
- CDC – What Would Happen If We Stopped Vaccinations?
- CDC – Benefits from Immunization During the Vaccines for Children Program Era — United States, 1994–2013
- CDC – Reported Cases and Deaths from Vaccine Preventable Diseases, United States
- Survivorship bias
- Survivorship Fallacy
- The Disneyland measles outbreak: “Dr. Bob” Sears says measles isn’t that bad, and an antivaccine activist invokes the Brady Bunch fallacy