Yesterday, April 7, 2010 was declared World Health Day by the World Health Organization (WHO). Drew's Public Health club decided to invite a speaker, Dr. Emilio Emini from Pfizer pharmaceuticals, to talk about the advancements in vaccines. Honestly, I usually go to these talks to gain extra credit for a bio class that I'm taking. I've been doing this since freshman year. But this time, there was no extra credit involved. I went to the talk for fun.... Strange, right? ...I know! I also went b/c if I am accepted into graduate school (the ONLY grad program that I applied to), I plan on doing cancer immunotherapy research as a career path in hopes of developing vaccines to cure some type of cancer.
Anyhoo, Dr. Emini went through the entire history of vaccines, dating back to Jenner and the smallpox/cowpox correlation up to vaccines for diseases such as polio, chickenpox, etc. He also spoke about the many challenges in developing vaccines for certain things like HIV and menicillin resistant Staph. aureus. During his mini-lecture, he asked how many of us in the room have ever encountered someone with measles. I immediately raised my hand b/c I remembered vividly having measles while I was still living in Jamaica. From what I saw (I was sitting fairly close to the back of a PACKED lecture hall), I was the ONLY one with my hand raised. In a way, it shows how far we have come in medicine in creating a vaccine for diseases like this, but then it's also shocking to know that some people didn't even know what it was. My friend sitting next to me asked what it was and I explained it to her. So, in order to educate others, even though many people use Google for that, here is a little cartoon that shows the characteristics of measles.
Picture obtained from: nursingcrib.com