Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentines from the pre-MMR vaccine days.

Since there is so much talk these days about the return of childhood diseases such as measles, thanks to the anti-vaccination movement, I found it interesting to look at some goofy valentines from the days before MMR vaccine:

This one could be either measles or rubella ("German measles").

And this is classic mumps.

I only really know what mumps is supposed to look like because when I was a child in the '70s, there were still generations of adults who had experienced it first-hand. It showed up in the children's books and cartoons they wrote and illustrated (like Alligator Pie).

Now, however, these diseases seem to be poised for a comeback.

Between 1912 and 1916, 26 out of every 1000 reported cases of measles resulted in death. (It was down to 1/1000 by the '50s.) Mumps had occasional complications such as meningitis, hearing loss, and my favourite: "painful testicular inflammation." Rubella is most dangerous to the fetuses of pregnant women.

Happy Valentine's Day!

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