Blogging A to Z -Today E is for Epidemics
Reading history is a lesson in life's saddest moments.
As I hear about more outbreaks and the spread of diseases we eradicated years ago like measles and even polio, (see polio-like illness in California) thanks to the uninformed and selfish decisions of today's young parents to disregard vaccinations, and the unvaccinated coming into this country, I keep thinking how much can be learned by reading history.
It makes me wonder if these persons ever read history or heard anyone's accounts of what life was like during epidemics, in a time when before vaccinations, nothing could be done. Nothing at all except watch a child or someone get sick and die.
It's an eerie feeling to stand in a place in Belgium, as I did on a previous trip some years back, and see a plaque erected to commemorate where the Black Plague had ended after killing thousands in the 1600s. And Plague is still around...Bubonic plague yersinia pestis, spread by fleas, can be treated with antibiotics if treated early, but pneumonic plague is spread by human to human contact, and hence can be more deadly... See more details on The Black Death.
If that sounds too ancient, think of recent flu outbreaks. I remember my mother sharing how scared her mother was during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919 where so many died so quickly that bodies couldn't be buried. I remember my mom saying how her mother would see many die in her neighborhood, the scary part being that it killed the young and healthy. Up to 50 million people died during the Pandemic.
Scarier still in my generation was the Polio Epidemic. The first polio epidemic in 1916 killed thousands and struck President Franklin D. Roosevelt. While the first polio vaccine was tested in 1952, it wasn't announced until April, 1955. For my mother, it had to be an especially scary time to wonder, once it was released, if it would work on her new baby born only months later. (Read some history on the flu and mask wearing...)
Then there is cholera, which is still active in the world, SARS... and the list goes on.
Yeah, cheerful, isn't it? But we can always learn from history and hopefully change the results.