Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A timely quote about measles; an ironic one about national health insurance

 - by New Deal democrat

 I am currently reading John M. Barry's 2004 book, "The Great Influenza," about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, which is said to have killed more people worldwide than any other plague (including a great- aunt and/or uncle of mine).

Two quotes seem particularly timely.

About measles:
[S]ome diseases depend upon civilization for their own existence.  Measles is one example.  Since a single exposure to measles usually gives lifetime immunity, the measles virus cannot find enough susceptible individuals in small towns to survive; without a new human generation to infect, the virus dies out.  Epidemiologists have computed that measles requires an unvaccinated population of at least half a million people living in fairly close contact to continue to exist.
 - p. 369.

In other words, a thorough enough worldwide campaign of vaccination could wipe out measles, like smallpox, forever.

About national health insurance:
"There are unmistakable signs that [national] health insurance will constitute the next great step in social legislation."
 - Rupert Blue, address as President of the American Medical Association, 1916.
 - p. 309