There are all sorts of diseases that are related to diet (scurvy) and sanitation (cholera). Not all of them though. Polio was slightly more prevalent in the middle class than the poor. It seems to be hard for human beings to admit that there are bugs out there whose ability to kill and maim us (without vaccination) is beyond our control.
Not being a doctor, I can't vouch that diphtheria can be prevented by lifestyle, but I doubt it. One of Queen Victoria's daughters died from it, and they didn't live in squalor.
Queen Victoria was notorious for never bathing. As was the style at the time.
And lets not forget the 22 year old woman from Australia who died from Diphtheria a few years ago.
She got it just from casual contact with a friend who had recently been overseas. Diphtheria is considered to be a very contagious disease and is spread the same way the flu is.
Of course it is going to spread more easily in crowded unsanitary conditions, but that's true for almost anything. The common cold, the flu, etc.
Point being, if someone in a classroom or household has diphtheria and the people around them aren't vaccinated, there's a high probability they will end up spreading it to those around them. Even if they have running water in the home.
The common cold also kills people. So lets all hide away forever. That is a very isolated incident and you know nothing of that womans health status or what she did leading up to her death. The article doesnt even state whether or not she was vaccinated.
Diptheria rates were dropping well before the vaccine was introduced.
Diphtheria kills up to 10 percent of people who get it (and up to 20 percent for those under the age of 5), even with modern medical care.
Her case was a very isolated incident because of vaccines. But it goes to show just how easily it can spread through just casual contact.
"What is diphtheria?
Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae." http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/diphtheria/fact_sheet.htm
A person is also contagious for up to 4 weeks, making it even more dangerous.
I'd like to see your source for the claim that diphtheria rates (not mortality) were dropping. Diphtheria vaccinations became available in the 1920s, but they weren't universal. The rate dropped gradually as vaccination became routine and is now pretty much zero. I have trouble finding data from the period before the 1920s. It's traditional in antivax circles to show dropping mortality rates, but that's cheating, because mortality was reduced by antibiotics, better access to doctors and hospitals, and in the case of diphtheria an antitoxin back in the 1890s.
CDC on diptheria vaccine, under challenges:
"Circulation appears to continue in some settings even in populations with more than 80% childhood immunization rates. An asymptomatic carrier state can exist even among immune individuals.
Immunity wanes over time and a booster dose of vaccine should be administered every 10 year to maintain protective antibody levels. Large populations of older adults may be susceptible to diphtheria in both developed as well as in developing countries."
If people can remain asymptomatic carriers, and adults are notariously undervaccinated, why isn't there an upswing in diptheria? Perhaps there is something more to the disappearance of diptheria from wealthy countires than vaccines…..
There is a battle of two wolves inside us. One is good and the other is evil. The wolf that wins is the one you feed.
Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?). We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...
It's not weird at all. It's what we expect when large numbers of the population remain vaccinated and comparatively few infected individuals enter the population. Not many Americans are picking up diphtheria in the Central African Republic. However, it does mean that if an infected individual comes, there will be unnecessary sickness.
I guess in the alternative, wealthy countries have become big into vinegar drinking, or whatever absurd folktale you wish to peddle today. (There are diseases that vinegar cures, and neither smallpox nor diphtheria are on the list.)