Originally Posted by Lovemy3girls
Here's a random thought, and I am definitely no expert on this, but here goes. I can't help but wonder if maybe the reason it's getting harder to find chicken pox and other once common childhood diseases so you can "get exposed and just get it over with" is that most diseases are just continuing to follow a downward trend or naturally dying out, the way other diseases like scarlet fever and typhoid did. These charts show how most diseases were becoming less common even before vaccines came along due to better sanitation, nutrition, etc. As a kid in the 70's, I was exposed to other kids who got chicken pox, but I never got it. It seemed like a common enough but not really epidemic disease back then, but my family grew a huge garden and we ate a lot of vegetables (healthy diet) so maybe that may have had something to do with it? Some people may credit
the cp vaccine for the fewer cases of chicken pox but perhaps the disease itself is following the same general decline of all infectious diseases?
Scarlett fever did not die out. It is caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria - basically it is strep throat with a rash and is easily treated by antibiotics. Generally these days it is diagnosed as strep and treatment began before a rash develops, though it still happens occasionally. But the bacteria is still quite common and spread very easily.
Typhoid is spread by water and food contaminated with human fecal material. Modern sanitation means we now have clean water and clean food, so no tyhpoid.
Please note that the graphs you linked to are all death rates, not rate of incidence. Modern medicine made huge advances over those years. Better medicines - antibiotics in particular to treat opportunistic secondary infections, the iron lung for polio, the ability to give oxygen.. So the other diseases shown got lot less deadly (though some people still died and many more developed serious complications, often lasting), but they were still just as prevalent until vaccinations started.
Here is a graph showing measles incidence before and after vaccination in the US http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Measles_US_1944-2007_inset.png
(yes, wikipedia for convenience, but the same data is availably many more reliable places).