At any time, when you hit children – or adolescents or young adults – together, it is possible to use those who are susceptible to some of the most contagious childhood illnesses. This was true in the First World War, when barrack and troop contributed to the spread of the 1918 flu virulent, which, unlike most influenza, was a healthier young man than a senior man.
Many colleges require a special immunization list before students go to dormitories, including a meningococcal vaccine, to prevent bacterial meningitis. But the measles, fighting and rubella vaccine is always at the top of the list. This is because measles are so contagious that if the herd immunity – when a large part of the population is protected by immunization – is reduced by even a few percentage points, the measles virus can be fully exploited.
"The first things you see are cracks in your public health system," Dr Ratner said, such infections will be "bait, respiratory infections, and a good transition from sensitive people to sensitive people."
When my daughter went to college, someone carefully surveyed her immunization records, which at her school were always accepted without question and found that her first MMR was given a few months before her first birthday and therefore was not counted; she had to get another dose before she started her residence in her dorm room.
I was asking for this early MMR because we went for it to travel to a country that was still subject to bait at that time (no, not Brooklyn). You can give MMR for 6 months if the child is at increased risk of measles disease and it provides some protection, but you must repeat the shot after the child is 1 time. I forgot and nobody ever noticed. As a child's pediatrician with incomplete vaccine records, I was a bit overwhelmed, but mostly impressed.
Stimson continued to note that those First World War soldiers who had grown more isolated, usually in rural conditions, were unlikely to be immune to childhood illnesses, and "when thousands of young men of these fields first meet together in an army camp, infectious diseases are very common" he said. This was also noted in the American Civil War when measles was a particularly devastating disease, and the workers who left the farm were particularly vulnerable.
The young men were horribly threatened in 1918 (Stamson himself was injured in Flanders working with British troops), but they were also at risk because they were exposed to each other's viruses and bacteria.