I saw this simple but illuminating infographic on the Forbes website, in an article by Matthew Herper. It was created by graphic designer Leon Farrant and shows the profound impact effective vaccines have had on a nation’s health. As Herper explains:
I saw this not long after watching the British charity fundraiser Comic Relief, which supports aid and development projects in many African countries (amongst other things). One of the recurring themes in the telethon was the urgent need for vaccines in certain parts of Africa, and the devastation that preventable diseases are having on children’s lives.
Below is a look at the past morbidity (how many people became sick) of what were once very common infectious diseases, and the current morbidity in the U.S. There’s no smallpox and no polio, almost no measles, dramatically less chickenpox (also known as varicella) and H. influenza (that’s not flu, but a bacteria that can cause deadly meningitis.
Worthy, heart-wrenching and persuasive stuff.
But I couldn’t help feel even more frustration than I normally do that, despite having immediate access, many parents in developed countries like the UK and US still choose not to vaccinate their kids. As we have seen with a rise in whooping cough cases and measles in recent years, and as the infographic elegantly shows, a failure to properly protect the population can lead to serious health consequences.
[And for a thorough rebuttal of antivaxers' scaremongering, read David Gorksi at Science-Based Medicine]
*Infographic is licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.