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Monday, May 31, 2010

Historical data between vaccines and death rates

I got "into it" again this weekend with someone online about vaccines.  They were trying to claim that vaccines are the reason that diseases like measles, mumps, scarlet fever and small pox have all but disappeared (although they avoided the topic of polio like the plague...).  and low and behold, another friend who knew nothing about the discussion sent me this link this morning!

Unfortunately, the graphs in the article are not fitting properly on my blog page (one of these day's I'll figure out how to fix that, lol), but if you go to the original article (link below) you can see by the graphs that both Measles and Pertussis deaths had almost completely disappeared by the time the vaccines were introduced.

Here is a link to another site with several more graphs showing the decline of both measles and pertussis as well as several other diseases for which vaccines were never used. The reason that deaths from all of these diseases drastically in decline is because of the changes in health care and life style in the general populous- better drugs to deal with secondary infections and to control symptoms, better hygiene- both in hospitals and in the average house hold, better balanced diets with higher amounts of vitamins and minerals to boost immunities, and a more knowledgeable population with access to health care and medication.  These things are what drastically reduced the death toll from measles, etc.... NOT vaccines.

Historic Data Shows Vaccines Not Key in Declines in Death from Disease

Written by Roman Bystrianyk   
Monday, 14 December 2009
Many of us have a picture of the 1800s that has been colored by a myriad of filters that have led us to a nostalgic and romantic view of that era. We picture a time where gentleman callers came to call upon a well-dressed lady in a finely furnished parlor. We imagine a time where people leisurely drifted down a river on a paddle wheel riverboat while sipping mint juleps and a time of more elegant travel aboard a steam train traveling through the countryside. We picture an elegant woman dressed in a long flowing gown leaving a sleek horse drawn carriage with the aid of a well-dressed man in a top hat. We think of those times where life was simple, ordered, in a near utopian world free of the many woes that plague modern society.
But if we remove those filters and cast a more objective light upon that time a different view emerges. Now imagine a world where workplaces had no health, safety, or minimum wage laws. It was a time where people put in 12 to 16 hours a day at the most tedious menial labor. Imagine bands of children roaming the streets out of control because their parents are laboring long days. Picture the city of New York surrounded not by suburbs, but by rings of smoldering garbage dumps and shantytowns. Imagine cities where hogs, horses, and dogs and their refuse were commonplace in the streets. Many infectious diseases were rampant throughout the world and in particular in the larger cities. This is not a description of the Third World, but was a large portion of America and other western cities only a century or so ago.

Our perceptions of history encompass a lot of willful rejection of knowledge. It is easier and more convenient to wax nostalgically rather than acknowledge an uncomfortable reality. We insist on creating a more pleasant historical illusion, but by doing so we cloud a historical issue in a way that promotes a bad misunderstanding of the past, and has every potential to result in bad misunderstandings of the future.
These historic points show that infectious diseases were a constant and deadly threat during these times. England was the country that early in 1838 began to keep statistics on causes of death and is the best source to find out the devastating impact of these infectious diseases. Using this raw data a number of graphs were generated to understand these plagues.

Measles was one of the very potent infectious killers. As the graph clearly shows deaths were rampant throughout the 1800s and then began a rapid decline and virtually became a relatively benign disease by the mid 1900s causing very few deaths. By the time the measles vaccine was introduced approximately in 1968 the death rate for measles had fallen by over 99%.