Our ancestors suffered from many medical problems, especially what we think of as childhood diseases. Mumps, measles, whooping cough, and rickets were common in the past, but doctors started vaccinating widely in the 1960s and 1970s. As a result, those diseases have almost been eradicated.
Or have they? Now you have an "opportunity" to share the same diseases that were so prevalent years ago.
Writing in Newsweek magazine, Mary Carmichael writes about mumps, a disease that is now tearing through America's heartland for the first time in decades. It seems that two infected airline passengers, one flying out of Arizona and the other from Iowa, inadvertently started a new eight-state epidemic that has so far sickened 1,165 people. Once a childhood disease, the virus has now taken hold in university towns. That's partly because crowded dorms and cafeterias are breeding grounds for germs that are spread by sneezing and coughing. The outbreak serves as a grim reminder that vaccines aren't perfect and that despite modern medicine's advances, germs commonly associated with the early 20th century are still very much in the world.
Newly-reported cases of whooping cough are also increasing although the medical community has not yet declared it to be an epidemic.
Another vintage ailment, scarlet fever, remains a problem. Although easily treatable with antibiotics, the disease will not go away. It infects hundreds of kids each year, but pediatricians will usually say those kids have "a symptom of strep throat," not scarlet fever, if only so as not to scare the parents.
Finally, though tuberculosis is at a record low, a nasty drug-resistant strain has emerged.
It seems like old times.
You can read Mary Carmichael's article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12440796/site/newsweek/